The April issue of Crane Data's Money Fund Intelligence was e-mailed to subscribers Monday morning, and our March 31, 2012 monthly performance data and rankings were distributed via our Money Fund Intelligence XLS monthly spreadsheet, our Money Fund Wisdom database query website and our Crane Index money fund averages series. (Our monthly Money Fund Portfolio Holdings with 3/31/12 data will be distributed on the 9th business day, April 13.) The new edition of MFI features the articles: "Another Two Bite the Dust: Consolidation Becomes Real," which discusses the pending liquidations and exits of Fifth Third and Victory Funds from the money fund space; "Talking Tax Exempts w/Western Asset's Amodeo," our monthly fund "profile" which interviews Western Muni MMF Managers Robert Amodeo and Charles Bardes; and, "No Truce in MMF Reform Debate; No Proposal Yet," which discusses recent (unsuccessful) attempts to compromise over pending regulations.

Our lead piece says, "We've been arguing for years that predictions of consolidation in the money fund space have been greatly exaggerated, but the latest couple of announcements have us rethinking our position. Two decent-sized, long-term players (as opposed to the fringe outfit that have folded to date) have recently announced exits -- Fifth Third will have its money funds liquidated and its assets merged into Federated, and KeyBank's Victory Funds is also calling it quits and liquidating."

Money Fund Intelligence explains, "In the past two years, we've seen Old Mutual, Paypal, Pacific Capital, Pioneer (partial), Scout (UMB), Ridgeworth (merged into Federated), Eagle (Raymond James), and a handful of others announce liquidations. The number of funds tracked by Crane Data has fallen from 1,310 to 1,209, which also includes lots of mergers and stream-linings."

The Western Asset Profile, which we'll excerpt later this month, tell us, "This month, MFI interviews managers of `Western Asset Management's Municipal Money Market Funds. We speak with Robert Amodeo, Portfolio Manager and Head of the Municipal Group, and Charles Bardes, a Portfolio Manager on the Tax-Exempt Money Market Mutual Funds. The two have been running money funds with the unit since its days as Salomon Brothers Asset Management (in the late '80's/early '90's), which then became Citigroup Asset Management and eventually was acquired by Western parent Legg Mason. Our Q&A involving tax-exempt money fund issues follows."

The third feature piece in our monthly says, "Despite SEC Commissioner Elisse Walter's recent call for a "step back" and a "re-engage"-ment in the discussion over additional money market fund regulatory reforms, the public battle between the money fund industry and the bank regulatory community rages on. While a number of the most public comments occurred at the ICI's Phoenix Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference, regulators and industry participants continue to wage a PR war on multiple fronts. The pending reform proposal, which The Wall Street Journal claimed was imminent, remains nowhere to be seen. (We're guessing June.)"

The April MFI also contains monthly News, Indexes, top rankings and extensive performance tables. E-mail info@cranedata.us to request the latest issue. Subscriptions to Money Fund Intelligence are $500 a year and include web access to archived issues and fund "profiles". Additional users are $250 and bulk pricing and "site licenses" are available. Crane Data's other products include: Money Fund Intelligence XLS ($1K/yr), MFI Daily ($2K/yr), Money Fund Wisdom ($4K/yr), MFI International ($2K/yr), and Brokerage Sweep Intelligence ($1K/yr).

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