Two recent press releases reflect the growing interest by fund managers and investors in ESG, Social and/or D&I money market mutual funds and trading. The first is, "BlackRock Partners with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to Benefit Students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, while the second is "CastleOak Securities Expands Money Fund Solutions Team." BlackRock's release, subtitled, "Global leaders in technology, financial services and consumer goods will pioneer growth of socially aware money market fund," explains, "BlackRock announced it will partner with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund ('TMCF') to support students of Historically Black Colleges and Universities ('HBCUs') and Predominantly Black Institutions ('PBIs') in their journey to college and into upwardly-mobile careers. TMCF ... will receive an annual contribution from BlackRock, which will represent a portion of net revenue from BlackRock's management fee for the BlackRock Liquid Federal Trust Fund ('BLFT'). BLFT is a government money market fund designed for investors seeking to further positive social outcomes through their cash management. Several notable firms have committed as investors or distributors of BLFT, including Bank of America, BNY Mellon, Capital One, The Coca-Cola Company, Google, Jefferies, Lyft, and Verizon."

Dr. Harry L. Williams, President and CEO of TMCF, says, "We are proud to partner with an industry leader like BlackRock and applaud them for this initiative. The funding from this partnership will enable more talented minority students to gain access to life-changing opportunities: from financial support for a premier college education, to unparalleled leadership guidance and career development." The release tells us, "BlackRock's annual contribution to TMCF is one of a series of initiatives planned for the partnership."

The release states, "As previously announced, BLFT is now seeking to place a portion of the aggregate dollar volume of purchase orders for its portfolio securities with diverse broker-dealers, subject to best execution requirements, and is seeking to establish dedicated share classes for certain minority-owned firms."

Eion D'Anjou, Portfolio Manager in BlackRock's Cash Management Group for BLFT, comments, "BlackRock's support of TMCF will help break down structural barriers to high-potential careers for students of HBCUs and PBIs, while BLFT's partnerships with minority, women, and/or disabled veteran owned broker-dealers will help strengthen those businesses. We are pleased to play a part in helping transform the futures of diverse students, business owners, and our community."

The press release also tells us, "BlackRock believes BLFT's commitment to diverse broker-dealers will help accelerate the growth of this segment. Mischler Financial Group, the securities industry's first minority-certified broker-dealer owned and operated by Service-Disabled Veterans (SDVs), is among the dealers for whom BLFT is seeking to establish dedicated share classes, and will also be a participant in the fund's diverse broker-dealer program."

La-Yona Rauls says, "Mischler Financial is proud to partner with BlackRock on this socially-aware initiative that seeks to bring together the institutional relationships of Mischler and the investment experience of BlackRock Cash Management.... Through BlackRock's targeted support for HBCU and PBI students, this partnership has the potential to transform lives through education and career development opportunities."

BlackRock explains, "BLFT's AUM has grown by over 25% since the announcement of its socially aware goals, thanks to the strong engagement of prestigious investors and partners." The fund is available to Bank of America institutional clients through their Global Liquidity Investment Solutions portal and Global Custody platform. It also is available on BNY Mellon's LiquidityDirect online money fund trading portal.

Tom Callahan, Global Head of BlackRock's Cash Management Business, adds, "BLFT represents an opportunity for our clients to do more with their cash by advancing positive social outcomes. We're honored that some of the world's largest cash investors have entrusted BlackRock Cash Management as their partner -- not only to manage their liquidity needs, but also to share in our commitment to support our nation's diverse youth." (Note: Callahan will co-keynote next week's Money Fund Symposium in Philadelphia. He speaks on Sept. 21.)

The "CastleOak Securities Expands" release explains, "CastleOak Securities, L.P., a leading New York-based boutique investment banking firm, announced the hiring of Kevin Ronan and Daniel Deighan to its Money Fund Solutions team. Ronan joins the team as Managing Director and Head of the Group after a 30-year career at Bank of New York Mellon, where he helped found, grow and lead their money market team. Deighan joins as a Vice President and brings 5 years of front-end product experience at BNY Mellon and Citibank."

David R. Jones, President and CEO of CastleOak Securities, comments, "Kevin is an industry veteran whose reputation precedes him. We are excited about having a leader of his caliber and know our clients will benefit from his experience and advice.... Adding Kevin and Dan to our team signals our strong commitment to building this business and how much we believe in our value-added Money Fund Solutions products."

CastleOak's Money Fund Solutions team currently has two signature products: its Money Fund Access portal product and its Share Class offering. Both products are designed to provide cash management solutions that are designed to help clients meet their cash investment goals while supporting their D&I efforts in a transparent and meaningful way."

Ronan adds, "The chance to build a business on the strength of this platform is exciting.... CastleOak can offer its clients the best of both worlds -- strong institutional relationships and marquis investment solutions from industry leading firms."

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