Early yesterday, Crane Data published the March issue of its flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, along with its monthly performance rankings as of Feb. 28, 2011. The latest MFI features the articles, "Consolidation & Changes Continue Among MMFs," which discusses the spate of recent liquidations, name changes and mergers among funds; "Research Is Fidelity's Middle Name in MMFs," which interviews Fidelity money-market head Bob Brown; and, "Removing Ratings from 2a-7; Other NRSRO Issues," which discusses the SEC's recent proposal to change the regulatory definitions of "First Tier" and "Second Tier". Crane's monthly newsletter also features money fund news briefs, performance tables, rankings, our Crane Indexes and top-performing fund tables.

The Consolidation & Changes piece says, "Since we last wrote about consolidation in the money market fund space (MFI 10/10, "More Changes in Money Fund Land"), we've continued to see liquidations, name changes and lineup tweaks. Though it hasn't exactly been an exodus, several fringe players have fallen since our last update. Below, we briefly review recent developments, and we update our table of changes."

Our Fidelity Profile states, "This month, we interview the President of Fidelity's Money Market Group, Robert Brown, who succeeded Charlie Morrison in late 2009. (See our Fidelity profile in the January 2009 MFI, "Fidelity's Morrison on Money Market Funds.") Fidelity remains by far the largest manager of money funds in the U.S. with over $425 billion as of Feb. 28, 2011, according to Money Fund Intelligence XLS. Our Q&A follows." Look for excerpts from our interview on www.cranedata.com in coming weeks.

MFI also discusses the new "shadow" NAV disclosures. The article says, "Last week, the SEC issued a release entitled, 'Removal of Credit Rating References from Certain Investment Company Act Rules and Forms,' and held an Open Meeting on the topic of changing the definition of 'First Tier' in Rule 2a-7 (​among other things)."

The piece quotes SEC Chairman Mary Shapiro, "The focus of these efforts is to eliminate over-​reliance on credit ratings by both regulators and investors -- and to encourage an independent assessment of creditworthiness rather than a potentially misguided reliance on a credit rating. One of the more significant rules we are considering today is Rule 2a-​7 money market funds by imposing risk-​limiting conditions on the investments a money market fund can make. The core use of ratings under Rule 2a-​7 relates to determining which securities are eligible for purchase by a money market fund."

Finally, MFI's "Money Fund News" also features briefs about `Paul Volcker's comment letter to the SEC on the President's Working Group Report, the ICI's comment letter to FSOC on whether money funds should be designated as systematically important, and more. Crane Data's Money Fund Intelligence is $500 a year and includes access to archived issues and additional tools via www.cranedata.com. E-mail Pete to request the latest issue or call 1-508-439-4419 to subscribe.

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