The February issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Thursday morning, features the articles: "Green Money Funds Become a Thing, But Big Issues Remain," which looks at BlackRock's pending LEAF launch and issues involving ESG money funds; "Schwab's Marie Chandoha Reflects; Preserving Retail," a Q&A featuring the CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management; and, "MF University '19 Highlights Asset Recovery, Rising Rates," which reviews our recent "basic training" event in Stamford. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with Jan. 31 statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Thursday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our February Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Monday, February 11, and our February Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Thursday, February 14.

MFI's "Green Money Funds," article says, "A second money-fund provider is introducing a fund that seeks to meet goals related to environmental issues, in addition to meeting the traditional tenets of preserving safety, liquidity and yield. BlackRock joins DWS, which converted its Variable NAV MMF to an ESG product last summer, in launching a "green" money fund, BlackRock Liquid Environmentally Aware Fund (LEAF)."

It continues, "Meanwhile, State Street Global Advisors' '2019 Global Cash Outlook' cites a number of problems with the concept of an ESG money fund. (See our Feb. 4 News, 'SSGA's 2019 Global Cash Outlook Discusses ESG MMF Challenges, Tech, AI.') SSGA's Pia McCusker says, 'In this year's ... Outlook, we consider innovations in cash management. We look at the potential for filtering cash investments for ESG factors, while satisfying the safety, liquidity, yield and regulatory demands of money market fund management. We also examine emerging trends, including artificial intelligence in cash management and a Fed initiative that could lead to deadline-free, 24-hour money market funds."

Our Schwab "Profile", reads, "This month, MFI interviews Charles Schwab Investment Management CEO Marie Chandoha, who will be stepping down at the end of March 2019. We wanted to ask Chandoha to look back at her tenure at Schwab, which included the extended post-crisis stretch of zero yields, and to get some parting words of wisdom. She tells us about her 'crash course' in cash, the struggle against more onerous money fund reforms and a number of other issues. Our discussion follows."

MFI says, "Talk about your decision to retire." Chandoha responds, "I've been in the business for 35 years and have had a really great run. I've loved being in the industry, but now it's time for my next chapter.... I'm going to spend a little more time with my family and do some traveling. But I also still love the industry. I just want to interface with it in a different way [going forward by] serving on boards."

MFI also asks for "a little history on CSIM." Chandoha tells us, "CSIM has been around for almost 30 years. We actually got started with our money funds, and our very first hire was ... Linda Klingman who [now] heads up our money fund portfolio management. So, it's been a very important business for us from the very beginning.... When I think about our money fund team, we have a diverse group.... For example, Lynn Paschen heads up our Government money fund area, [so there is] definitely a good contingent of women and other diverse individuals."

Next, our Money Fund University recap explains, "Crane Data recently hosted its 9th annual Money Fund University in Stamford, Conn. The 'basic training' event, targeted at those new to the money fund industry, featured primers on interest rates, money market securities, the Federal Reserve, ratings, portfolio management, and money fund regulations. The big themes this year were the comeback of money fund yields and assets, the growth in ultra-short bonds and 'alt-cash,' and regulatory reform in Europe."

MFI includes the sidebar, "Ed Jones Shifts Sweeps." It notes that "Brokerage Edward Jones announced plans to alter its sweep program, and money market funds will no longer be made available to new investors on or after Feb. 9. In a letter entitled, 'Required Notice to All Clients: Cash Management Option Changes,' they explain that the restriction also applies to current investors who 'have not selected the fund as your sweep option for your brokerage [‚Äčor retirement] account as of that date.' They 'will no longer be able to do so.'"

Another sidebar, "Not Done Yet: EU Reforms," explains, "European money market funds continue to change fund types and tweak lineups ahead of the revised March 21 deadline for regulatory reforms. (See yesterday's News.) The latest fund managers to announce changes or compliance schedules are Deutsche, Fidelity and UBS. A number of firms have already converted their money funds to be compliant with the pending reforms, including Aviva (9/1/18), BNP Paribas (11/11/18), JP Morgan (11/30/18), BlackRock, Federated, SSGA (all 1/11/19), Morgan Stanley and UBS (both 1/14/19)."

Our February MFI XLS, with Jan. 31, 2019, data, shows total assets rising $14.4 billion in January to $3.227 trillion, after increasing $41.9 billion in December, $64.3 billion in November, and $34.5 billion in October. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield rose 3 bps to 2.06% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was up 1 bp to 2.24% (its highest level since Oct. 2008).

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA rose 3 bps to 2.50% and the Crane 100 rose to 2.51%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.44% (up 1 bp) and 0.27% (unchanged), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 29 and 29 days, respectively (up 1 day and unch.). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

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