Daily Links Archives: January, 2024

Crane Data published its latest Weekly Money Fund Portfolio Holdings statistics Tuesday, which track a shifting subset of our monthly Portfolio Holdings collection. The most recent cut (with data as of January 26) includes Holdings information from 76 money funds (up 24 from a week ago), or $3.166 trillion (up from $2.565 trillion) of the $6.364 trillion in total money fund assets (or 49.7%) tracked by Crane Data. (Our Weekly MFPH are e-mail only and aren't available on the website. See our latest Monthly Money Fund Portfolio Holdings here.) Our latest Weekly MFPH Composition summary shows Government assets dominating the holdings list with Treasuries totaling $1.317 billion (up from $1.080 trillion a week ago), or 41.6%; Repurchase Agreements (Repo) totaling $1.211 trillion (up from $991.0 billion a week ago), or 38.3%, and Government Agency securities totaling $273.1 billion (up from $244.9 billion), or 8.6%. Commercial Paper (CP) totaled $125.2 billion (up from a week ago at $89.7 billion), or 4.0%. Certificates of Deposit (CDs) totaled $103.5 billion (up from $70.9 billion a week ago), or 3.3%. The Other category accounted for $96.1 billion or 3.0%, while VRDNs accounted for $39.7 billion, or 1.3%. The Ten Largest Issuers in our Weekly Holdings product include: the US Treasury with $1.317 trillion (41.6% of total holdings), Fixed Income Clearing Corp with $276.5B (8.7%), Federal Home Loan Bank with $206.0B (6.5%), the Federal Reserve Bank of New York with $154.8 billion (4.9%), RBC with $81.3B (2.6%), JP Morgan with $74.8B (2.4%), Citi with $69.9B (2.2%), Goldman Sachs with $62.8B (2.0%), BNP Paribas with $60.0B (1.9%) and Federal Farm Credit Bank with $58.8B (1.9%). The Ten Largest Funds tracked in our latest Weekly include: JPMorgan US Govt MM ($259.0B), Fidelity Inv MM: Govt Port ($195.2B), JPMorgan 100% US Treas MMkt ($191.6B), Federated Hermes Govt ObI ($155.4B), State Street Inst US Govt ($145.1B), BlackRock Lq FedFund ($144.0B), Morgan Stanley Inst Liq Govt ($137.8B), Fidelity Inv MM: MM Port ($123.5B), Dreyfus Govt Cash Mgmt ($119.7B) and Allspring Govt MM ($116.6B). (Let us know if you'd like to see our latest domestic U.S. and/or "offshore" Weekly Portfolio Holdings collection and summary.)

With less than 2 months to go, we're ramping up preparations for our seventh annual ultra-short bond fund event, Bond Fund Symposium, which will take place March 25-26, 2024 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Crane's Bond Fund Symposium offers a concentrated and affordable educational experience, as well as an excellent networking venue, for bond fund and fixed-income professionals. Registrations are being accepted ($1,000) and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Click here for the latest agenda and see below for more details. (We'll also be hosting a Spring Cocktail Party alongside BFS, so please join us Monday, March 25 from 5:00-7:00pm at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Portfolio managers, analysts, investors, issuers, service providers, and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of bond funds and fixed-income investing will benefit from our comprehensive program. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Loews Philadelphia. We'd like to thank our sponsors and exhibitors to date -- Northern Trust, GLMX, Capitolis, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, J.P. Morgan, Bloomberg Intelligence, UBS, Fitch Ratings and Dreyfus -- for their support. (We'd love to get some new ones!) E-mail us for more details. We're also making preparations for our next "big show," Money Fund Symposium, which will be held June 12-14, 2024, at The Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Let us know if you'd like details on sponsoring.) Finally, mark your calendars for our next European Money Fund Symposium, which will be held Sept. 19-20, 2024, in London, and our next Money Fund University, which will be held December 19-20, 2024 in Providence. Watch for details on these shows in coming weeks and months.

Barron's features bond fund managers taking another shot at cash in, "John Nersesian: 5% Cash Is Great. Don't Fall in Love With It." The piece explains, "With $8.8 trillion parked in money markets and CDs, investors have enjoyed a sustained sugar high provided by sweet 5%-yielding cash equivalents. However, advisors need to ensure that clients don't overindulge. While cash is king in the short term, in the long term an overallocation can make you a pauper. 'Cash has proven to be a relatively poor hedge against the impact of inflation,' says John Nersesian, head of advisor education for Pimco. 'Stocks and fixed-income assets and alternative strategies have certainly proven to do a better job of that,' says Nersesian, who provides advanced wealth management and investment consulting education to financial professionals. On this Barron's The Way Forward podcast, Nersesian discusses how advisors can persuade cash-heavy clients to reduce their exposure. He also recommends investment strategies for redeployed cash and shares his definition of investment risk, which he frames as being less about absolute performance and more about that which can impede one from achieving their goals."

A Prospectus Supplement for the "Allspring Municipal Cash Management Money Market Fund" states, "At a meeting held on November 13-15, 2023, the Board of Trustees of Allspring Funds Trust unanimously approved the liquidation of the Fund. Effective at the close of business on November 17, 2023, the Fund is closed to new investors. Existing shareholders may continue to make additional purchases until January 18, 2024. The liquidation of the Fund is expected to occur after close of business on or about January 19, 2024. Shareholders of the Fund on the date of liquidation will receive a distribution of their account proceeds in complete redemption of their shares. After the liquidation, the Fund will no longer be offered and all references to the Fund are removed from the prospectuses and Statement of Additional Information." The funds liquidated include: Allspring Muni Cash Mg MM Ad (WUCXX), Allspring Muni Cash Mg MM Inst (EMMXX) and Allspring Muni Cash Mg MM S (EISXX). For more recent Liquidations, see these Crane Data News articles: "Goldman Liquidates Tax-Exempt Shares" (1/16/24), "Morgan Stanley Changing T-E to Retail" (1/4/24), "WSJ on Record Cash Sums: Bullish or Not? BlackRock Liquidating CA, NY" (11/28/23), "Morgan Stanley Liquidates Tax-Exempts" (9/21/23), "JPMorgan Liquidates E*Trade Shares" (9/7/23), "Morgan Stanley Latest to Abandon ESG MMFs" (8/16/23), "Goldman Liquidating Resource Shares" (7/19/23), "SSGA to Liquidate State Street ESG Liquid Reserves" (9/19/22), "DWS Liquidating Govt Cash Mgmt Fund" (7/7/22), "Morgan Stanley NY Muni MM Gone" (10/5/20) and "SEC's Blass on Push for More MMF Reforms; Vanguard Liquidating PA, NJ" (9/28/20). In other news, a notice entitled, "First American Funds Announces Reorganization" states, "The First American Funds, Inc. ('FAF') announced that effective today the First American money market funds of FAF, currently organized as a Minnesota corporation, were reorganized into First American Funds Trust ('FAF Trust'), a Massachusetts business trust. Each series of FAF Trust, is substantially identical to its corresponding fund under FAF with all the same investment objectives and policies, fees and expenses, and tickers and CUSIP numbers. As a Massachusetts business trust, FAF Trust is expected to have a more flexible governance structure designed to allow the funds to operate with greater efficiencies, react more quickly to competitive and regulatory conditions, and be authorized to issue an unlimited number of outstanding shares. Each fund reorganization is intended to be a tax-free reorganization for Federal income tax purposes. At a special meeting of FAF held on December 18, 2023, shareholders approved a reorganization proposal. The FAF Board of Directors had previously approved the reorganization agreement."

The Financial Times writes that "Investors' cash pile is smaller than it appears." They explain, "One of the most popular bull narratives for risk assets in 2024 is the huge amount of money sitting in cash right now. The idea is that while cash has a high yield -- 5 per cent or thereabouts -- as the Federal Reserve cuts interest rates those yields will fall, and cash holders will go in search of assets with higher returns, such as stocks and corporate bonds.... We hasten to note that we don't believe in the 'cash on the sidelines' fallacy. When cash is used to buy shares, the amount of cash in the system does not change. There is no such thing as financial transubstantiation. The argument, instead, is that when investors want to reduce the share of cash in their portfolio, they try to trade out of it. This effort to be rid of cash is, at the level of the whole system, futile. But the accompanying increase of the velocity of money in the financial system pushes prices of risk assets up." The piece continues, "That said, the 'cash will seek a new home in risk assets' bull story has another issue, which was pointed out to us by Absolute Strategy Research's Ian Harnett. The level of mutual fund cash is actually not that high, compared to the market capitalisation of the stock market. Here is ASR's chart, showing that the money market assets/market cap ratio is near its historical average." The FT adds, "What matters, for the purposes of moving markets, is the volume of money that is trying to rebalance away from cash, relative to the amount of non-cash assets that are available. So the great money-market fund exodus might not move markets as much as bulls hope. That being said, a lot of investors might want to rebalance from cash to fixed income, so the most relevant ratio might be cash holdings to the market capitalisation of stocks and corporate bonds, and one might want to consider longer-term Treasuries, too. That might change the picture somewhat."

Allspring Money Market Funds' latest "Overview, Strategy, and Outlook" reviews the past year in money markets. They tell us, "The Fed's aggressive moves in 2022 and early 2023 had an unforeseen consequence that manifested itself in March 2023. As the cost of funding grew ever higher, some bank portfolios experienced strains as the value of their longer-dated holdings declined; this resulted in runs on some weaker banks and eventually led to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic and the acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS. The immediate actions taken by the Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Swiss National Bank quickly calmed the markets, but the credit sector remained cautious. Prime funds let liquidity grow while waiting to see if more cracks in the financial system showed. However, as calm returned and yields increased, the credit market quickly got back to business as investors returned, lured by the siren song of higher yields." Allspring writes, "As the Fed pivoted to data dependence midyear, the short credit sector was steady, with the positive slope of the one-month to one-year yield curve reflecting the magnitude of expectations for the future path of rate increase. The markets noticed, however, the Fed's intention to keep rates higher for longer, which was reinforced at the Jackson Hole Symposium in August, and so spreads and yields that were fairly stable in summer again began to widen and move higher in the fall. One-year yields traded as high as 6.00% for a time as expectations for several more moves by the Fed were priced into market rates. This backup in rates, however, proved ephemeral, as the Fed's pause appeared to be permanent following the November meeting, causing yields to drop and spreads to narrow dramatically." The piece explains, "For much of the year, in order to capture the immediate effects of increasing rates, we favored exposure to higher liquidity and credit products with resetting rates, such as those offered by floating-rate paper and variable-rate demand notes (VRDNs), over fixed-rate paper. In the fourth quarter, as it became commonly understood that if we weren't exactly at the end we were very close to the end of the rate hiking cycle, we extended investments in fixed-rate term purchases, capturing the steepness of the curve before expectations reset. Even as we extend purchases when the opportunity offers favorable risk/reward proposition, we have maintained an enhanced liquidity buffer in our portfolios not only to meet liquidity needs of our investors but also to dampen net asset value (NAV) volatility." Finally, discussing the "U.S. government sector," Allspring comments, "While the direction of travel for the government money markets is undoubtedly set by the Fed, the actual trading levels can vary from officially prescribed levels, usually as a result of changes in demand, such as in crisis-driven flights to quality, or supply. In that 'game within the game,' the main event in 2023 was the debt ceiling, not because of a real fear of default, but because it caused the Treasury to reduce Treasury bill (T-bill) supply to draw its cash balance down before eventually launching a T-bill bonanza to rebuild cash after the debt ceiling suspension at the end of May.... Since then, investors have lived in a supply-rich environment, which is unusual outside of crises that require the government to raise money quickly, and as a result, they've been able to buy T-bills at fair yields, which, again, is unusual, as it typically seems as if there are never enough to go around. As the Fed's hiking cycle seems likely to transition to an easing cycle next year, T-bill demand should be robust, with investors wanting to lock in higher fixed rates before any Fed cuts. While T-bill supply should still be positive (thank you, deficit), it's not likely to increase at the pace that prevailed over the last half of last year, and so the combination of strong demand and lesser supply should make 2024 feel just like the difficult old days."

The Wall Street Journal writes, "They Thought Their Money Was in High-Interest Accounts—They Got Paid Peanuts." Subtitled, "Capital One says its savings account pays 4.35%, but not all customers are getting that," it says, "David Fucillo built up his emergency fund over the years with direct deposits into a savings account at Capital One Financial with above-average interest rates. Last fall, he realized the account was no longer paying him much of anything, even though broader rates were up dramatically. The 44-year-old editorial-content manager's five-figure balance was earning just 0.3%. 'I probably missed out on over $1,000 a year,' he says. Fucillo isn't alone. When the Federal Reserve started raising interest rates in 2022, many customers of the McLean, Va., bank assumed their rates would go up. Instead, Capital One is paying them far below the 4.35% it advertises on its main savings account." The Journal explains, "In 2019, the lender introduced a new savings account called 360 Performance Savings. Existing customers were kept in older accounts that had a similar name, 360 Savings, which the bank previously advertised as having 'a great rate' but has since closed to new customers. When the Fed started its rate increases, Capital One only raised rates on 360 Performance Savings accounts. Customers around the country who have the older accounts are complaining about the discrepancy to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to a Wall Street Journal review that found two dozen complaints detailing experiences similar to Fucillo's in the agency's database." The piece adds, "The ninth-largest bank in the country, Capital One is a big credit-card issuer and has a huge savings-account business. More than 60% of the bank's $316 billion in interest-bearing deposits are savings deposits, which include money-market accounts that currently pay consumers 0.8%. The bank paid an average rate of 3.02% on savings deposits in the third quarter, a figure that includes commercial and small-business deposits, it said in a securities filing. The rate on the 360 Performance Savings account is in line with those offered by high-yield banking competitors such as Ally Financial and Goldman Sachs. They all pay far more than what the biggest banks -- including JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America -- offer on their standard savings accounts."

U.K.-based Aviva Investors recently published a "Liquidity Outlook 2024," entitled, "Rates, regulation and the dash for cash," which comments on the environment for European money funds in US dollars, euro and pound sterling. They tell us, "Alastair Sewell answers the seven key questions on the minds of liquidity investors heading into 2024." It states, "The next 12 months presents liquidity investors with something of a conundrum. Nevertheless, we remain constructive on the asset class. Strategically, cash yields look set to remain high; not only high, but above inflation to offer positive real yields. The diversification and high credit quality liquidity funds offer can mitigate adverse economic effects. The prospective combination of low risk and inflation-beating returns may give capital allocators pause for thought. In particular, the prevailing wisdom over the last 15 years of abundant central bank liquidity providing support to risk assets could come under question. Tactically, the 'option' value of cash is likely to remain high in 2024, offering investors the liquidity they need to deploy effectively into markets. In this Q&A, Alastair Sewell, liquidity investment strategist, answers the key questions we are getting from clients." The piece asks, "What will happen to liquidity funds if rates start to fall?" Sewell answers, "Rate cuts are priced in across markets, although there is uncertainty on the pace and magnitude.... However, the amount of cuts the market expects is limited: we expect the long-term interest rate environment will be very different to the period following the Global Financial Crisis. Market forecasts indicate interest rates falling to around 4.5% in sterling, 2.5% in euros and 4.25% in US dollars in 2024. For reference, these levels are relatively 'normal' by historical standards -- the long-term averages in the UK and US are 5.23% and 4.83% respectively. Money market fund (MMF) yields will inevitably settle to the lower level driven by central bank rates. However, we expect a substantial lag between rate cuts and MMF yields decreasing due to funds' ability to actively manage exposures. By buying longer-dated, higher-yielding securities, MMFs can slow down the rate at which they re-invest into newly issued lower-yield securities. History shows MMFs can deliver on this objective effectively. For example, there was a ten–11-month lag between rates being cut below zero and MMF yields turning negative in 2014-15. Standard MMFs are structurally better equipped than short-term MMFs to delay the effect of falling rates. These funds can invest over a longer time horizon and, all else being equal, are better able to lock-in higher-yielding securities for longer. We expect investors to increasingly use blended liquidity strategies in this environment, splitting investment across short-term and standard MMFs to benefit from higher yields while preserving a low aggregate risk profile." Finally, Aviva asks, "Will the 'dash to cash' continue?" They tell us, "MMF assets achieved record highs in 2023. In the US, assets reached $5.8 trillion as of end-November 2023. In Europe, we estimate assets reached $1.75 trillion, based on Lipper data. In our view, a lot of this money will stay in MMFs, if not grow further. In the context of febrile market conditions and high interest rates, MMFs will remain attractive for many investors as a real yield-generating and liquid safe haven."

ICI's latest weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" report shows MMF assets `experienced their first decrease of the New Year, falling $14.1 billion to $5.961 trillion (likely due to the long Holiday weekend and the Jan. 15 tax payment date). They rose $10.0 billion last week and $78.6 billion the week before that. The latest weekly decrease pushes assets below their record $5.975 trillion set on 1/10/24. Assets are up by $74 billion, or 1.6%, year-to-date in 2024, with Institutional MMFs up $31 billion, or 1.0% and Retail MMFs up $44 billion, or 2.6%. Over the past 52 weeks, money funds have risen a massive $1.158 trillion, or 24.1%, with Retail MMFs rising by $595 billion (34.2%) and Inst MMFs rising by $562 billion (18.4%). The weekly release says, "Total money market fund assets decreased by $14.12 billion to $5.96 trillion for the week ended Wednesday, January 17, the Investment Company Institute reported today. Among taxable money market funds, government funds decreased by $15.66 billion and prime funds increased by $5.17 billion. Tax-exempt money market funds decreased by $3.62 billion." ICI's stats show Institutional MMFs falling $15.8 billion and Retail MMFs rising $1.7 billion in the latest week. Total Government MMF assets, including Treasury funds, were $4.862 trillion (81.6% of all money funds), while Total Prime MMFs were $978.3 billion (16.4%). Tax Exempt MMFs totaled $120.7 billion (2.0%). ICI explains, "Assets of retail money market funds increased by $1.65 billion to $2.33 trillion. Among retail funds, government money market fund assets increased by $1.14 billion to $1.52 trillion, prime money market fund assets increased by $3.86 billion to $706.78 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets decreased by $3.35 billion to $109.36 billion." Retail assets account for over a third of total assets, or 39.2%, and Government Retail assets make up 65.0% of all Retail MMFs. They add, "Assets of institutional money market funds decreased by $15.77 billion to $3.63 trillion. Among institutional funds, government money market fund assets decreased by $16.81 billion to $3.34 trillion, prime money market fund assets increased by $1.31 billion to $271.50 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets decreased by $274 million to $11.35 billion." Institutional assets accounted for 60.8% of all MMF assets, with Government Institutional assets making up 92.2% of all Institutional MMF totals. According to Crane Data's separate Money Fund Intelligence Daily series, money fund assets rose $48.3 billion in the first 17 days of January to $6.349 trillion, slightly off their record $6.372 trillion level set on 1/11/24. Assets rose $32.7 billion in December, jumped $226.4 billion in November but fell by $31.9 billion in October. They rose $93.9 billion in September, $98.3 billion in August and $34.7 billion in July. Note that ICI's asset totals don't include a number of funds tracked by the SEC and Crane Data, so they're over $400 billion lower than Crane's asset series.

Capital Advisors Group recently published "Three Themes of 2024 Whitepaper: The Ghost, The Wall, and The Known Unknowns." It tells us, "Last year, our credit team identified three themes in our 2023 outlook: a) interest rates nearing an inflection point, b) continued higher commodity prices, and c) banks heading off consumer credit risks. We were spot on with the Federal Reserve System at an inflection point, as it managed to hike the fed funds rate by 75 basis points (bps) more than the market had expected and held it there for five months and counting. At the December Fed meeting, the central bank officially pivoted towards easing in 2024. Despite a market consensus outlook of a shallow or moderate recession in 2023, gross domestic product (GDP) rebounded to 4.9% in the 3rd quarter. Headline consumer price index (CPI) improved from 7.1% at the end of 2022 to 3.1% in November, and the unemployment rate remained low at 3.7%. In this regard, 2023 was the best of times indeed." CAG continues, "On the credit side, the risk from rising consumer debt burdens leading to bank failures did not materialize, but high uninsured deposits and massive unrealized losses of Treasury securities led to three of the four largest bank failures in history (i.e., Silicon Valley Bank, Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank), all within two months of each other. By the end of the year, deposit outflows and interest margin compression have moderated or stabilized without a significant rise in credit losses. Banks are in a stronger position for 2024 than a year ago as the Fed is poised to lower rates." The piece states, "Looking to 2024, the strange melancholy in the market last year has now been replaced by a strange euphoria, with a powerful rally in risk assets riding on the impending rate cuts. Yet the Fed itself acknowledges that the road to 2% inflation is likely to be a long one, with a good chance of a long pause before cutting; and dare we say even a hike or two? A knock-on effect of the long Fed pause likely will be felt on the high pile of corporate debt issued at low coupon rates in the lean COVID-19 years that must be refinanced at much higher costs. In climbing this wall of maturing bonds, some credits may fare better than others." Finally, they write, "With this context in mind, our analysts will dig into these themes for 2024: 1. Ghost of the great inflation haunting the Fed in rate cuts 2. Corporate credit staring down the great (maturity) wall 3. Known unknowns in deglobalization may threaten growth and inflation.... Despite my allusion to Dickens in the opening, we hold guarded optimism for 2024 as lower rates often lift many boats. The Fed looks set to claim credit for a rare soft landing, guiding inflation towards its 2% target without destroying growth or killing jobs. Lower rates reduce funding costs and lessen stress on credit. Recent high-level talks between the U.S. and China are signs of both sides' reluctance for wider confrontations. A strategy of extending portfolio duration with laddered maturities may offer protection against lower future rates and help retain liquidity and flexibility for reinvestments in case the Fed pauses longer than the market expects."

A press release entitled, "Public Trust Advisors Announces Strategic Investment from Flexpoint Ford to Accelerate Growth" states, "Public Trust Advisors, an investment advisory firm dedicated to serving municipalities, school districts and other local government entities across the United States, announced ... that it has received a significant investment from Flexpoint Ford, a private equity firm specializing in investments in the financial services and healthcare industries. This partnership signals a shared commitment to enhancing the financial security of public sector entities nationwide." It continues, "Since its founding in 2011, Public Trust Advisors has established itself as a trusted partner for local governments. With a focus on prudent investing, Public Trust has helped public sector entities effectively manage taxpayer funds via local government investment pools and separately managed accounts. Today, the Company serves over 6,000 entities nationwide and has more than $80 billion in assets under management or advice. Public Trust's existing management team continue to lead the business and, along with the Company's founders, remain significant shareholders in the Company." The release tells us, "The new partnership will provide Public Trust Advisors access to Flexpoint's significant financial resources, industry expertise, and relationships. As a result, Public Trust will be able to expand its product offerings, accelerate its core growth, and complete strategic acquisitions." It quotes Daniel Edelman, Managing Director at Flexpoint, "We are thrilled to partner with Public Trust and contribute to their mission of strengthening local government finances. Public Trust's goal of providing tailored investment solutions coupled with its exceptional service delivery is a true differentiator in the industry." Flexpoint's Stephane Essama comments, "We believe Public Trust is well-positioned to accelerate its already strong growth trajectory while continuing to provide high quality service to its clients. We look forward to partnering with management as they lead the Company into its next phase of growth." Todd Alton, CEO of Public Trust Advisors, adds, "We are excited about the next chapter of the Public Trust story. Our focus remains on providing exceptional investment advisory solutions and continued high-quality customer service. We are excited to leverage Flexpoint's expertise and strategic resources to expand our capabilities and deliver unparalleled value to our clients."

A Prospectus Supplement for the Goldman Sachs Investor Tax-Exempt Money Market Fund states, "At a meeting held on December 12-13, 2023, upon the recommendation of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, L.P., the Board of Trustees of the Goldman Sachs Trust approved, on behalf of the Fund, the termination of each of the Capital, Premier, Select and Cash Management Shares of the Fund. The Termination is expected to occur on or about January 12, 2024 or on such other date as the officers of the Trust determine. Accordingly, effective immediately, in anticipation of the Termination, Capital, Premier, Select and Cash Management Shares of the Fund will no longer be sold to new investors or existing shareholders (except through reinvested dividends) or be eligible for exchanges from other Goldman Sachs Funds. In addition, effective immediately, Capital, Premier, Select and Cash Management Shares of the Fund will be closed to all new accounts. In connection with the Termination, all outstanding shares of the terminating share classes on the Termination Date will be automatically redeemed by the Fund. At any time prior to the Termination Date, shareholders of the terminating share classes may redeem or exchange their shares, as provided in the Prospectuses." The liquidations include: Goldman Sachs Inv Tax-Ex MMF Cap, Goldman Sachs Inv Tax-Ex MMF Cash Mgt, Goldman Sachs Inv Tax-Ex MMF Prem and Goldman Sachs Inv Tax-Ex MMF Sel. For more recent Liquidations, see these Crane Data News articles: "Morgan Stanley Changing T-E to Retail" (1/4/24), "WSJ on Record Cash Sums: Bullish or Not? BlackRock Liquidating CA, NY"(11/28/23), "Morgan Stanley Liquidates Tax-Exempts" (9/21/23), "JPMorgan Liquidates E*Trade Shares" (9/7/23), "Morgan Stanley Latest to Abandon ESG MMFs" (8/16/23), "Goldman Liquidating Resource Shares" (7/19/23), "SSGA to Liquidate State Street ESG Liquid Reserves" (9/19/22), "DWS Liquidating Govt Cash Mgmt Fund" (7/7/22), "Morgan Stanley NY Muni MM Gone" (10/5/20) and "SEC's Blass on Push for More MMF Reforms; Vanguard Liquidating PA, NJ" (9/28/20).

ICI's latest weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" report shows MMF assets `continued their rise to start off the New Year, increasing $10.0 billion to a record high $5.975 trillion. They rose $78.6 billion last week and $16.3 billion the week before that. The latest weekly increase pushed assets above the previous record level of $5.965 trillion set on 1/3/24. Assets are up by $89 billion, or 1.9%, year-to-date in 2024, with Institutional MMFs up $47 billion, or 1.5% and Retail MMFs up $42 billion, or 2.5%. Over the past 52 weeks, money funds have risen a massive $1.170 trillion, or 24.3%, with Retail MMFs rising by $599 billion (34.5%) and Inst MMFs rising by $571 billion (18.6%). The weekly release says, "Total money market fund assets increased by $9.99 billion to $5.98 trillion for the week ended Wednesday, January 10, the Investment Company Institute reported today. Among taxable money market funds, government funds decreased by $56 million and prime funds increased by $11.40 billion. Tax-exempt money market funds decreased by $1.35 billion." ICI's stats show Institutional MMFs rising $5.8 billion and Retail MMFs rising $4.2 billion in the latest week. Total Government MMF assets, including Treasury funds, were $4.878 trillion (81.6% of all money funds), while Total Prime MMFs were $973.1 billion (16.3%). Tax Exempt MMFs totaled $124.3 billion (2.1%). ICI explains, "Assets of retail money market funds increased by $4.20 billion to $2.33 trillion. Among retail funds, government money market fund assets decreased by $2.35 billion to $1.52 trillion, prime money market fund assets increased by $7.12 billion to $702.92 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets decreased by $565 million to $112.71 billion." Retail assets account for over a third of total assets, or 39.0%, and Government Retail assets make up 65.0% of all Retail MMFs. They add, "Assets of institutional money market funds increased by $5.79 billion to $3.64 trillion. Among institutional funds, government money market fund assets increased by $2.29 billion to $3.36 trillion, prime money market fund assets increased by $4.28 billion to $270.19 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets decreased by $785 million to $11.63 billion." Institutional assets accounted for 61.0% of all MMF assets, with Government Institutional assets making up 92.3% of all Institutional MMF totals. According to Crane Data's separate Money Fund Intelligence Daily series, money fund assets rose $49.5 billion in the first 10 days of January to $6.350 trillion, slightly off their record $6.367 trillion level set on 1/9/24. Assets rose $32.7 billion in December, jumped $226.4 billion in November but fell by $31.9 billion in October. They rose $93.9 billion in September, $98.3 billion in August and $34.7 billion in July. Note that ICI's asset totals don't include a number of funds tracked by the SEC and Crane Data, so they're over $400 billion lower than Crane's asset series.

A recent speech from Federal Reserve Governor Michelle Bowman entitled, "New Year's Resolutions for Bank Regulatory Policymakers," tells us, "Our Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting in December left the target range for the federal funds rate at 5-1/4 to 5-1/2 percent and continued the run-off of the Fed's securities holdings. Inflation data over the past six months indicate that the Committee's past policy actions are having the intended effect of bringing demand and supply into better balance. This continued progress on lowering inflation reflects a restrictive policy stance with the most recent 12-month total and core personal consumption expenditures inflation readings through November at 2.6 and 3.2 percent respectively.... Considering this progress, I voted to maintain the policy rate at its current level while we continue to monitor the incoming data and assess the implications for the inflation and economic outlook. And based on this progress, my view has evolved to consider the possibility that the rate of inflation could decline further with the policy rate held at the current level for some time. Should inflation continue to fall closer to our 2 percent goal over time, it will eventually become appropriate to begin the process of lowering our policy rate to prevent policy from becoming overly restrictive. In my view, we are not yet at that point. And important upside inflation risks remain." She also comments, "Twenty-twenty-three brought many significant developments in bank regulation and supervision, beginning with speculation about the now-issued proposal to finalize the Basel III 'endgame' capital rules.... In March, however, priorities and focus changed. The failures of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank resulted in the exceedingly rare steps to invoke the systemic risk exception to guarantee all depositors of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, and to create the Bank Term Funding Program. These were significant emergency actions to support and stabilize the banking system. It is important to note that the Bank Term Funding Program is scheduled to expire in mid-March of this year. Understandably, the bank failures led regulators to take a hard look at what may have been missed in our supervision and what had driven regulatory and supervisory priorities leading up to these bank failures.... As I've noted in the past, I think there are reasons to question whether these proposed revisions are effective and appropriately targeted and calibrated, particularly when considering that bank management and supervisory shortcomings more directly contributed to the bank failures than regulatory shortcomings. The banking agencies simply cannot regulate better or more effective supervision. We must appropriately manage our supervisory programs and teams to ensure that effective and consistent supervision is implemented within each firm and that it is effective and consistent across our regulated entities." She adds, "The new year provides a prime opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and think about how the Federal Reserve can improve our approach. I'm sure many of us took the opportunity to reflect on recent experiences as we rang in 2024. I see the new year as a perfect time to think about how the banking regulators can implement some recent lessons learned. This very brief snapshot of the past year does not cover all of the important developments in the banking system, and the bank regulatory framework, that occurred in 2023. But it is a helpful starting point for considering the year ahead. So now, I'd like to offer three new year's resolutions for bank regulators."

A press release from Fitch Ratings entitled, "UK MMF Reforms Would Reduce Rating Risks from Redemption Restrictions comments, "Proposals to increase liquidity requirements for UK money market funds (MMFs) and remove regulatory thresholds that can trigger redemption restrictions would reduce downside rating risk for funds, Fitch Ratings says. We expect the new rules would be phased in gradually, and many funds are already well-placed to meet the requirements given their strong liquidity. Still, standard variable net asset value (VNAV) MMFs will need more portfolio reallocation than others given their lower liquidity. This could lead to lower returns and outflows into vehicles with less stringent regulatory requirements, such as ultra-short duration bond funds." They write, "During the pandemic, regulatory liquidity thresholds for stable net asset value (NAV) MMFs had the unintended consequence of sparking a surge in redemption requests when a decrease in liquid assets prompted many investors to access their funds, driven by the prospect of imminent restrictions. Higher liquidity requirements would reduce the likelihood of needing to suspend redemptions. Also, removing regulatory liquidity thresholds that can trigger liquidity management tools (LMTs), such as liquidity fees, redemption gates and suspensions, would enable greater use of funds' liquid assets in times of stress, which could prevent the need to impose restrictions. The suspension of redemptions is typically a materially negative rating event." The release continues, "The proposals, issued by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in a consultation paper on 6 December 2023, contain several measures. These include decoupling regulatory liquid asset thresholds from redemption restriction triggers; increasing daily and weekly liquidity requirements; enhancing stress testing and operational resilience for stable NAV MMFs; and strengthening know-your-customer requirements, with a focus on addressing investor concentration risk. The proposals would make MMFs more resilient to market volatility. They are focused on UK-domiciled MMFs, which account for about 10% of sterling MMF assets under management (AUM; source: Lipper), but will also affect non-UK funds marketed in the UK, which are predominantly EU-domiciled." Fitch writes, "Daily liquidity requirements would increase to 15% of total assets from 10%, and weekly liquidity requirements to 50% from 30%. This should not significantly disrupt the market. Fitch-rated UK-domiciled short-term MMFs averaged 35% in overnight assets and 39% in weekly maturing assets (excluding eligible assets under derogation) at end-September 2023. Fitch-rated EU-domiciled short-term sterling MMFs averaged 34% and 43%, respectively." They add, "The consultation follows a related discussion paper published by the FCA and the Bank of England in May 2022. While several proposals from the earlier paper were taken forward, some were dropped, including proposals to eliminate stable NAV MMFs and to impose the true cost of redemptions on investors, through swing pricing, for example.... The FCA's consultation period on the MMF proposals ends on 8 March 2024. The full implications for MMFs will depend on the resulting regulations to be finalised, but we expect the implementation period to be long enough to give fund managers time to adjust. Implementation of the most recent EU MMF reforms was concluded in March 2019, 20 months after the regulation's signature date." For more, see Crane Data's News, "U.K. Financial Conduct Authority's Consultation Paper on MMF Reforms" (12/20/23) and "FCA Posts U.K. MMF Consultation" (12/7/23).

Money fund yields dipped by two basis points to 5.18% on average (as measured by our Crane 100 Money Fund Index) in the week ended Jan. 5, after rising 1 bp the week prior. Our Crane 100 is an average of 7-day yields for the 100 largest taxable money funds. Yields were 5.20% on 12/31/23 and on 11/30, 5.19% on 10/31, 5.17% on 9/30, 5.16% on 8/31, 5.09% on July 31, 4.94% on June 30, 4.61% on March 31 and 4.05% on 12/31/22. The vast majority of money market fund assets now yield 5.0% or higher. Assets of money market funds rose by $44.5 billion last week to $6.346 trillion according to Crane Data's Money Fund Intelligence Daily. Weighted average maturities were unchanged last week. The broader Crane Money Fund Average, which includes all taxable funds tracked by Crane Data (currently 690), shows a 7-day yield of 5.08%, down 2 bps in the week through Friday. Prime Inst MFs were down 1 bp at 5.30% in the latest week. Government Inst MFs were down 2 bps at 5.15%. Treasury Inst MFs were down 2 bps at 5.10%. Treasury Retail MFs currently yield 4.89%, Government Retail MFs yield 4.86%, and Prime Retail MFs yield 5.12%, Tax-exempt MF 7-day yields were down 71 bps to 2.98%. According to Monday's Money Fund Intelligence Daily, with data as of Friday (1/5), 62 money funds (out of 818 total) yield under 3.0% with $39.6 billion in assets, or 0.6%; 69 funds yield between 3.00% and 3.99% ($94.2 billion, or 1.5%), 208 funds yield between 4.0% and 4.99% ($736.1 billion, or 11.6%) and 479 funds now yield 5.0% or more ($5.476 trillion, or 86.3%). Our Brokerage Sweep Intelligence Index, an average of FDIC-insured cash options from major brokerages, was unchanged at 0.61%. The latest Brokerage Sweep Intelligence, with data as of Jan. 5, shows that there were no changes over the past week. Three of the 11 major brokerages tracked by our BSI still offer rates of 0.01% for balances of $100K (and lower tiers). These include: E*Trade, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

With just 2 1/2 months to go, Crane Data is gearing up for its 7th annual ultra-short bond fund event, Bond Fund Symposium, which will take place March 25-26, 2024 at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel. Crane's Bond Fund Symposium offers a concentrated and affordable educational experience, as well as an excellent networking venue, for bond fund and fixed-income professionals. Registration is $1,000, and sponsorship opportunities are available. See the latest agenda here and details here. (Let us know if you're interested in speaking too.) Portfolio managers, analysts, investors, issuers, service providers, and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of bond funds and fixed-income investing will benefit from our comprehensive program. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Loews Philadelphia. We'd like to thank our past and current sponsors and exhibitors -- Northern Trust, Bloomberg Intelligence, GLMX, Morgan Stanley IM, Wells Fargo Securities, UBS, Fitch Ratings, Fidelity Investments, J.P. Morgan, Allspring Global, S&P Global Ratings, BofA Securities, Federated Hermes and Dechert -- for their support. (We'd love to get some new ones!) E-mail us for more details. Also, we're preparing for our "big show," Money Fund Symposium, which will be held June 12-14, 2024, at The Westin Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. (Let us know if you'd like details on sponsoring any of our shows.) Finally, mark your calendars for our next European Money Fund Symposium, which will be held Sept. 19-20, 2024, in London, and for our next Crane's Money Fund University will be held December 19-20, in Providence. Watch for details on these shows in coming weeks and months.

The Investment Company Institute's latest weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" report shows MMF assets `starting off the New Year with a bang, jumping $78.6 billion to a record high $5.965 trillion. They rose last week too, but fell the two weeks prior. The latest weekly increase pushed assets above the previous record level of $5.898 trillion set on 12/6/23. Assets are up by $79 billion, or 1.7%, year-to-date in 2024, with Institutional MMFs up $41 billion, or 1.3% and Retail MMFs up $38 billion, or 2.3%. Over the past 52 weeks, money funds have risen a massive $1.152 trillion, or 23.9%, with Retail MMFs rising by $607 billion (35.3%) and Inst MMFs rising by $544 billion (17.6%). The weekly release says, "Total money market fund assets increased by $78.61 billion to $5.97 trillion for the week ended Wednesday, January 3, the Investment Company Institute reported today. Among taxable money market funds, government funds increased by $64.71 billion and prime funds increased by $10.28 billion. Tax-exempt money market funds increased by $3.62 billion." ICI's stats show Institutional MMFs rising $40.7 billion and Retail MMFs rising $37.9 billion in the latest week. Total Government MMF assets, including Treasury funds, were $4.878 trillion (81.8% of all money funds), while Total Prime MMFs were $961.7 billion (16.1%). Tax Exempt MMFs totaled $125.7 billion (2.1%). ICI explains, "Assets of retail money market funds increased by $37.87 billion to $2.33 trillion. Among retail funds, government money market fund assets increased by $26.39 billion to $1.52 trillion, prime money market fund assets increased by $9.32 billion to $695.80 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets increased by $2.15 billion to $113.27 billion." Retail assets account for over a third of total assets, or 39.0%, and Government Retail assets make up 65.2% of all Retail MMFs. They add, "Assets of institutional money market funds increased by $40.74 billion to $3.64 trillion. Among institutional funds, government money market fund assets increased by $38.32 billion to $3.36 trillion, prime money market fund assets increased by $954 million to $265.91 billion, and tax-exempt fund assets increased by $1.47 billion to $12.41 billion." Institutional assets accounted for 61.0% of all MMF assets, with Government Institutional assets making up 92.3% of all Institutional MMF totals. According to Crane Data's separate Money Fund Intelligence Daily series, money fund assets rose $42.3 billion in the first 3 days of January to $6.343 trillion, slightly off their record $6.355 trillion level set on 1/2/24. Assets rose $32.7 billion in December, jumped $226.4 billion in November but fell by $31.9 billion in October. They rose $93.9 billion in September, $98.3 billion in August and $34.7 billion in July. Note that ICI's asset totals don't include a number of funds tracked by the SEC and Crane Data, so they're over $400 billion lower than Crane's asset series.

A Prospectus Supplement filing for Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds - Tax-Exempt Portfolio explains, "Effective on or about February 29, 2024, the Fund will operate as a 'retail money market fund,' as defined in Rule 2a-7 under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended. A 'retail money market fund' is defined as a money market fund that has policies and procedures reasonably designed to limit all beneficial owners of the fund to natural persons. As a result, investments in the Fund will be limited to shareholder accounts beneficially owned by natural persons. Before the Effective Date, Morgan Stanley Distribution, Inc., the Fund's principal distributor, and authorized financial intermediaries will be required to take steps to remove any shareholder accounts that are not beneficially owned by natural persons. As a result, if your shares are held in an account that does not qualify as being beneficially owned by a natural person, your shares will be involuntarily redeemed by the Fund, which may result in a taxable gain or loss." It continues, "Shareholders of the Fund receiving this notice who are not eligible investors for a retail money market fund (i.e., natural persons or accounts beneficially owned by natural persons) will be involuntarily redeemed from the Fund and will no longer be permitted to purchase shares of the Fund, as discussed below. Neither the Fund nor Morgan Stanley Investment Management, Inc. (or its affiliates) will be responsible for any loss in an investor's account or tax liability resulting from an involuntary redemption as described above. Although the Fund's conversion to a retail money market fund will not result in any change to the Fund's investment objective, types of investments or principal investment strategies other than those resulting from its conversion to a retail money market fund, the conversion will result in certain other important changes summarized below. A prospectus for the Fund reflecting these and other related changes will be provided to the Fund's shareholders in connection with the conversion to a retail money market fund.... The Fund currently operates as an 'institutional money market fund,' which is neither a 'government money market fund' nor 'retail money market fund' as such terms are defined or interpreted under Rule 2a-7 under the 1940 Act. As such, the Fund is required to price and transact in its shares at a net asset value per share reflecting market-based values of its portfolio holdings (i.e., at a 'floating' net asset value per share), rounded to a minimum of the fourth decimal place. Like other money market funds of its type, the Fund is subject to the possible imposition of liquidity fees if the Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds' Board of Trustees (or its delegate, as applicable) determines that such fee is in the best interests of the Fund. As a retail money market fund, the price of the Fund's shares will be based on the amortized cost of the Fund's securities and the Fund will seek to maintain the Fund's share price at $1.00, but there is the risk that the Fund may be unable to maintain a stable $1.00 share price at all times. If the Fund or another money market fund fails to maintain a stable net asset value per share or maintain certain weekly liquid asset levels (or if there is a perceived threat of the inability to maintain a stable net asset value per share or a particular weekly liquid asset level), the Fund could be subject to increased redemptions, which may adversely impact the Fund's share price. The net asset value calculation time of the Fund will remain at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time." The filing adds, "As a retail money market fund, the Fund will continue to be permitted to impose a fee upon the sale of your shares if the Trust's Board of Trustees (or its delegate, as applicable) determines that such fee is in the best interests of the Fund.... Also, effective on the Effective Date, certain of the Fund's share classes will be redesignated as follows: (i) Institutional Class shares to Wealth Class shares and (ii) Institutional Select Class to Wealth S Class shares. In connection with these changes, all share classes of the Fund will no longer have a minimum investment amount." For more, see these Crane Data News pieces, "WSJ on Record Cash Sums: Bullish or Not? BlackRock Liquidating CA, NY" (11/28/23), "Morgan Stanley Liquidates Tax-Exempts" (9/21/23), "JPMorgan Liquidates E*Trade Shares" (9/7/23) and "Morgan Stanley Latest to Abandon ESG MMFs" (8/16/23).

Money fund yields were up one basis point to 5.20% on average (as measured by our Crane 100 Money Fund Index) in the week ended Dec. 29, after remaining unchanged for the 3 weeks prior. Our Crane 100 is an average of 7-day yields for the 100 largest taxable money funds. Yields were 5.20% on 11/30, 5.19% on 10/31, 5.17% on 9/30, 5.16% on 8/31, 5.09% on July 31, 4.94% on June 30, 4.61% on March 31 and 4.05% on 12/31/22. The vast majority of money market fund assets now yield 5.0% or higher. Assets of money market funds rose by $32.6 billion last week to $6.300 trillion according to Crane Data's Money Fund Intelligence Daily. Weighted average maturities were unchanged last week. The broader Crane Money Fund Average, which includes all taxable funds tracked by Crane Data (currently 689), shows a 7-day yield of 5.10%, up 1 bp in the week through Friday. Prime Inst MFs were up 1 bp at 5.31% in the latest week. Government Inst MFs were up 2 bps at 5.17%. Treasury Inst MFs were unchanged at 5.12%. Treasury Retail MFs currently yield 4.91%, Government Retail MFs yield 4.87%, and Prime Retail MFs yield 5.13%, Tax-exempt MF 7-day yields were up 31 bps to 3.69%. According to Tuesday's Money Fund Intelligence Daily, with data as of Friday (12/29), 4 money funds (out of 818 total) yield under 3.0% with $14.0 billion in assets, or 0.0%; 107 funds yield between 3.00% and 3.99% ($99.6 billion, or 1.6%), 212 funds yield between 4.0% and 4.99% ($691.7 billion, or 11.0%) and 495 funds now yield 5.0% or more ($5.509 trillion, or 87.4%). Our Brokerage Sweep Intelligence Index, an average of FDIC-insured cash options from major brokerages, was unchanged at 0.61%. The latest Brokerage Sweep Intelligence, with data as of Dec. 29, shows that there were no changes over the past week. Three of the 11 major brokerages tracked by our BSI still offer rates of 0.01% for balances of $100K (and lower tiers). These include: E*Trade, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley.

Sunday's New York Times says "Now May Be the Time to Lock In High Interest Rates on Your Savings. They tell us, "If you want to lock in generous rates on your cash savings for the next year or so, now may be the time to do it. Yields on federally insured certificates of deposit are the highest they've been in years. The most competitive rates -- offered by banks that operate mostly online -- were recently as high as 5.66 percent for a one-year certificate, according to the financial site Bankrate. Those attractive yields, however, may shrink in the new year." The Times writes, "Rates began to rise in 2022 from less than 1 percent after the Federal Reserve began increasing its benchmark interest rate, known as the federal funds rate, to tame inflation. (Banks generally follow the direction of the federal funds rate in setting rates on loans, savings accounts and C.D.s.) But inflation has been cooling, and the Fed recently signaled that it might cut rates in 2024. That suggests that C.D. rates may fall in the coming months, analysts say. 'This is a good time to lock in rates while they are still high,' said Ken Tumin, founder of the financial site DepositAccounts.com, part of LendingTree." The article also says, "But if you need the cash for continuing or short-term expenses, C.D.s may not be the best option, financial advisers say. If you have to withdraw your cash early, you’ll usually pay a penalty (typically, several months of interest).... Before creating a step stool or ladder, savers should also consider whether they have the time to manage certificates at different banks with different maturities, Ms. Costa said. Unless you are moving a large sum of cash, she said, the effort may not be worth the extra yield. For many people, Ms. Costa said, choosing a high-yield savings account may be the best approach -- even if it means getting a somewhat lower return on your savings. The online bank Marcus, the consumer arm of Goldman Sachs, is offering 4.5 percent on a savings account, for example, and Ally Bank, another online-only bank, is paying 4.35 percent. You'll need to link the savings account to your regular bank to transfer money in and out." It adds, "Paul Brahim, a financial adviser at the Wealth Enhancement Group in Pittsburgh, said he heard that question from clients eyeing attractive yields on low-risk cash vehicles. He said he generally advised clients to keep money in cash based on their spending needs for the next six months to three years, including a reasonable reserve for emergencies. But if you move too much money out of long-term investments, Mr. Brahim said, market timing becomes more of a risk, and you could miss out on significant investment gains. 'Cash is a great idea for everyone,' he said. 'But it's important to have a rational allocation.'"

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