The Investment Company Institute released its monthly "Trends in Mutual Fund Investing - November 2019" and its latest "Month-End Portfolio Holdings of Taxable Money Funds" reports yesterday. Their latest numbers show that money fund assets increased by $47.0 billion to $3.565 trillion in November. The monthly increase follows increases of $77.4 billion in October, $74.4 billion in September and $87.0 billion in August. For the 12 months through Nov. 30, 2019, money fund assets have increased by $600.1 billion, or 20.2%. (Crane Data's separate and broader MFI Daily asset series shows money market funds up by $55.3 billion month-to-date in December through 12/27 to $3.966 trillion.)

ICI's release states, "The combined assets of the nation's mutual funds increased by $416.56 billion, or 2.0 percent, to $20.88 trillion in November, according to the Investment Company Institute's official survey of the mutual fund industry. In the survey, mutual fund companies report actual assets, sales, and redemptions to ICI."

It explains, "Bond funds had an inflow of $34.96 billion in November, compared with an inflow of $28.31 billion in October.... Money market funds had an inflow of $44.19 billion in November, compared with an inflow of $74.08 billion in October. In November funds offered primarily to institutions had an inflow of $39.02 billion and funds offered primarily to individuals had an inflow of $5.17 billion."

ICI's latest statistics show that both Taxable and Tax Exempt MMFs gained assets last month. Taxable MMFs increased by $45.9 billion in November to $3.427 trillion. Tax-Exempt MMFs increased $1.1 billion in November to $138.3 billion. Taxable MMF assets increased year-over-year by $600.7 billion (21.3%). Tax-Exempt funds fell by $0.6 billion over the past year (-0.04%). Bond fund assets increased by $37.3 billion in November (0.8%) to $4.653 trillion; they've risen by $553.9 billion (13.5%) over the past year.

Money funds represent 17.1% of all mutual fund assets (down from 17.2% the previous month), while bond funds account for 22.3%, according to ICI. The total number of money market funds was 363, down five from the month prior and down from 368 a year ago. Taxable money funds numbered 283 funds, and tax-exempt money funds numbered 80 funds.

ICI's "Month-End Portfolio Holdings" update confirms an increase in Treasuries and drops in Agencies and Repo last month. Repurchase Agreements remained in first place among composition segments; they decreased by $22.1 billion, or -1.9%, to $1.117 trillion, or 32.6% of holdings. Repo holdings have risen $139.4 billion, or 14.3%, over the past year. (See our Dec. 11 News, "Dec. MF Portfolio Holdings: Treasuries at Record $1.1 Tril; Repos Slide.")

Treasury holdings in Taxable money funds increased by $51.1 billion, or 5.2%, to $1.041 billion, or 30.4% of holdings. Treasury securities have increased by $236.2 billion, or 29.4%, over the past 12 months. U.S. Government Agency securities were the third largest segment; they decreased $18.2 billion, or -2.5%, to $716.2 billion, or 20.9% of holdings. Agency holdings have risen by $96.2 billion, or 15.5%, over the past 12 months.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) stood in fourth place; they increased by $11.0 billion, or 3.9%, to $289.9 billion (8.5% of assets). CDs held by money funds have grown by $84.5 billion, or 41.2%, over 12 months. Commercial Paper remained in fifth place, up $3.1 billion, or 1.3%, to $245.6 billion (7.2% of assets). CP has increased by $53.5 billion, or 27.8%, over one year. Notes (including Corporate and Bank) were up $35 million, or 0.3%, to $12.6 billion (0.4% of assets), while Other holdings increased to $759 million to $15.7 billion.

The Number of Accounts Outstanding in ICI's series for taxable money funds increased by 554.7 thousand to 36.956 million, while the Number of Funds decreased by five from last month to 283. Over the past 12 months, the number of accounts rose by 4.093 million and the number of funds decreased by four. The Average Maturity of Portfolios was 38 days, two more than in October. Over the past 12 months, WAMs of Taxable money have increased by seven.

In other news, rates on money market funds, brokerage sweep accounts and bank accounts remained flat in the latest week. Our Money Fund Intelligence Daily shows that the flagship Crane 100 MF Index held at 1.46% last week. The Crane 100 is down from 1.81% on Sept. 30, down from 2.18% on June 30, and down from 2.23% at the start of the year. Following a flurry of cuts in November, our latest Brokerage Sweep Intelligence publication, with data as of Friday, Dec. 27, shows brokerages also kept rates steady in the past week. As we move into 2020, we expect rates to remain flat at least during the first half of the New Year.

Our broader Crane Money Fund Average, which includes all taxable funds tracked by Crane Data, shows a 7-day yield of 1.33%, unchanged in the week through Friday, Dec. 27. Treasury Inst MFs and Prime Inst MMFs were flat this past week, with 7-day yields of 1.35% and 1.56%, respectively. Government Inst MMFs dropped a basis point to 1.40%. Treasury Retail MFs currently yield 1.08%, (down 0.01%) Government Retail MFs yield 1.09% (unchanged) and Prime Retail MFs yield 1.39% (unchanged). Tax-exempt MF 7-day yields jumped 0.20% to 1.00%.

Crane's Brokerage Sweep Index remained flat at 0.14% in the week ended December 27 (for balances of $100K). No firms changed rates. E*Trade and TD Ameritrade currently have the lowest rate for balances at the $100K level (0.01%). Meanwhile, Fidelity continues to have the highest sweep rate (0.82%). (Fidelity also have a higher-yielding money fund option for new accounts.) Morgan Stanley is paying 0.03%. UBS, Merrill and Wells Fargo are all paying 0.05%, and Schwab is paying 0.06%. Raymond James and Ameriprise are paying 0.08%. RW Baird is paying 0.33% for balances of $100K.

Crane Data has also started tracking some of the other brokerages beyond the largest ones in our Brokerage Sweep Intelligence, just for internal purposes. Securities America currently has the lowest rate for balances at the $100K level (0.05%). Meanwhile, Robinhood has the highest sweep rate (1.80%). Betterment was a close second with a sweep rate of 1.78%. LPL and SSN Securities are paying 0.10% and 0.12%, respectively. Edward Jones offers rates of 0.15% on 100K balances and Folio Institutional offers rates of 0.14%. JPMS Brokerage is paying 0.20%, while Commonwealth is paying 0.25%. TIAA is paying 0.30%, Cetera is paying 0.32%, Pershing and Ally Bank are paying 0.75%, Pershing Dreyfus is paying 0.80%. And, JPMS Advisory is paying 1.50% (down 0.05% from last week; it was the only change in balances at the 100K level).

Crane Data's demo Bank Deposit Intelligence collection shows the average high-yielding internet bank deposit product yielding 1.39%. HSBC Direct offers the highest rate currently at 2.05% while Vio Bank yields 2.02%. These are the only banks with yields still above 2.0%. The next highest yielding banks include: Comenity Direct and UFB Direct at 1.98%, Web Bank at 1.95% and My Savings Direct and Popular Direct at 1.90%.

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