Press Releases Archives: December, 2010

As a reminder, we're making the final preparations for our new educational conference, Crane's Money Fund University, which will be held Jan. 13-14, 2011, at the Westin Jersey City Newport. We hope you will consider sending your new people! Money Fund University will offer attendees an affordable and comprehensive two day, "basic training" course on money market mutual funds. We'll cover the history of money funds, interest rates, Rule 2a-7, ratings, rankings, money market instruments such as commercial paper and repo, and portfolio construction and credit analysis. New portfolio managers, analysts, investors, issuers, service providers, and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of "cash" investing should benefit from our comprehensive program. Even experienced professionals should enjoy a refresher course and the opportunity to interact with peers in an informal setting. Visit for the latest details or e-mail Pete Crane for a copy of the full brochure. Registration is just $600. We'd like to extend a special thanks to our MFU Sponsors -- BofA Global Capital Management, Fitch Ratings, Wells Fargo Advantage Funds, Citibank Online Investments, Commerzbank, Fidelity Investments, Invesco, G.X. Clarke & Co., Standard & Poor's and Institutional Cash Distributors (ICD) -- and to our speakers for supporting our new program. Finally, mark your calendars for our next Crane's Money Fund Symposium, which will be held June 22-24, 2011, at the Philadelphia Marriott. We've released the preliminary agenda and the conference website in now live at

Bloomberg writes "JPMorgan, Natixis Woo 'Paranoid' Customers With New Money Funds". The article says, "JPMorgan Chase & Co. and a U.S. unit of French bank Natixis SA are offering money-market mutual funds aimed at wooing back customers spooked by the financial crisis into moving their money to federally insured deposits. The new offerings promise to keep the average maturity of their holdings at 10 days or fewer, one-fourth that of competing funds, according to the companies and researcher Crane Data LLC. Shorter maturities allow managers to shift more quickly out of a troubled issuer and into other securities or cash." Bloomberg quotes Peter Crane, president of Crane Data LLC in Westborough, Massachusetts, which tracks the $2.79 trillion industry, "They are aimed squarely at the paranoid cash manager." The piece adds, "The JPMorgan Current Yield Money Market Fund, opened at the beginning of October, will maintain an asset-weighted maturity on holdings of 10 days or fewer under 'normal market conditions,' according to the prospectus.... RNT Natixis Liquid Prime Portfolio, a prime fund run by Reich & Tang Asset Management LLC that opened Nov. 30, will maintain an asset-weighted average maturity of nine days or fewer, said Tom Nelson, head of sales and marketing at the New York-based firm." (See also Crane Data's Oct. 1 News "JPMorgan Rolls Out Ultra-Short Money Mkt Fund, Enhanced Cash Fund" and our Nov 3 News "Reich and Tang Files Ultra-Short MMF, RNT Natixis Liquid Prime Port".)

Crane Data, which has tracked money market mutual funds and published its flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter since its launch in May 2006, is preparing to host its second money market mutual fund conference event, Crane's Money Fund University. In 2009, Crane Data entered the conference business with the introduction of Crane's Money Fund Symposium, which attracted more than 330 money market professionals to Boston in its second year this past summer. Our new Money Fund University, an affordable and comprehensive two day "basic training" course on money market mutual funds will take place on January 13-14, 2011, at The Westin Jersey City Newport.

Money Fund University will cover the history of money funds, interest rates, Rule 2a-7, ratings, rankings, money market instruments such as commercial paper and repo, and portfolio construction and credit analysis. The agenda includes: "The History of Money Market Mutual Funds with Crane Data's Peter Crane and ICI's Sean Collins; Interest Rate Basics & Money Market Math with Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Brian Smedley and Columbia University's Phil Giles; The Federal Reserve & Money Markets with Wrightson ICAP's Lou Crandall and Barclays Capital's Joe Abate; Money Fund Regulations: Rule 2a-7 Basics with Jenkins McLaughlin & Hunt LLP's John Hunt and Reed Smith's Stephen Keen. Money Fund Ratings & Surveillance by Fitch Ratings' Viktoria Baklanova and Standard & Poor's Joel Friedman; Money Fund Performance & Rankings by Peter Crane; and Crisis Review, Support & Reforms in MMFs by The Federal Reserve of Boston's Steffanie Brady.

Day two of the event includes the sessions: Instruments of the Money Markets with J.P. Morgan Securities Alex Roever; Instruments: Commercial Paper & ABCP with Citi Global Markets' Rob Crowe and Credit Suisse's Stephanie Gentile; Instruments: CDs, TDs & Bank Debt with Wells Fargo Securities' Garret Sloan and Arrowhead Research's Barry Weiss; Treasuries, Govt Agencies & Repo with G.X. Clarke's Sal Ursida and Jefferies & Co. Joe Tarditi; Repurchase Agreements with Alex Roever and J.P. Morgan Securities' Ellie Boldenow; Tax-Exempt Securities, VRDNs, TOBs & Muni Bonds with Dreyfus' Colleen Meehan and BofA Funds' Susan DuShock; Portfolio Construction Strategies with Western Asset's Martin Hanley and Joseph Tully; Credit Analysis & Approved Lists with Dreyfus' Louis Geser and Fidelity's Jacob Weinstein; and Hot Topics: FDIC, Portals, Offshore with Promontory Interfinancial Mark Brooks, State Street's Greg Fortuna and UBS's Tom Cameron.

Registration for Crane's Money Fund University is $600. Exhibit space is $2,000 and sponsorship opportunities are $3K, $4.5K, and $5K. A small block of rooms have been reserved at the Westin Jersey City. The conference negotiate rate of $169 plus tax (14% currently) is available only through this Thursday, December 16th. For booking information click here. The Westin Jersey City Newport is located minutes from Newark Liberty International Airport, just west of Wall Street and Manhattan's World Financial Center; Greenwich Village; Union Square; Midtown Manhattan, and Times Square. The hotel is just one block from the Pavonia/Newport PATH station and immediately adjacent to the 1.2-million-square-foot Newport Centre Mall.

Also, the preliminary agenda is now live for Crane's Money Fund Symposium, which will be held June 22-24, 2011, at The Philadelphia Marriott (Downtown). Registration is $750 and sponsorships are available. E-mail Pete to request a full brochure to MFU or MFS.

The website for Crane's Money Fund Symposium, the largest gathering of money fund and money market professionals, is now live. Money Fund Symposium 2011 will be held June 22-24 at the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. The preliminary agenda is now posted and registrations are live. (E-mail Pete to request the full brochure.) Founder Peter Crane comments, "Our second annual event in Boston last year attracted over 330 speakers, sponsors, and attendees, and we expect our 3rd annual money fund conference to be even bigger and better. Crane's Money Fund Symposium offers money market portfolio managers, investors, issuers, and service providers a concentrated and affordable educational experience, as well as an excellent and informal networking venue." Registration for Crane's Money Fund Symposium 2011 is $750; exhibit space is $3,000; and sponsorship opportunities are $4.5K, $6K, $7.5K, and $10K. The show's mission is to deliver a better and less expensive conference alternative to money market fund professionals and investors. Also, don't forget that Money Fund University, Crane Data's new "basic training" conference, continues to take registrations (though sponsorships are sold out). MFU will be January 13-14, 2011 at The Westin Jersey City Newport. Note that there is just one more week to take advantage of the discounted hotel rate (ends Dec. 16) for MFU. We hope to see you in Philadelphia or Jersey!

Bloomberg features "Fed Created Conflicts in Improvising Financial System Rescue". It says, "The solution [Federated's Debbie] Cunningham helped craft on Sept. 20, 2008, was a bailout for money market funds, which were created as safe investments that could be easily cashed out. The Fed put the facility into effect two days later. At its peak in October 2008, it provided $152 billion to stem a customer run sparked by the Sept. 15 bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. This week's disclosures of data from the Fed's rescue efforts during the 2007-2008 financial crisis show how the central bank employed companies to help design or run programs they could use to their benefit.... In compliance with the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul law, the Fed on Dec. 1 identified the institutions that used $3.3 trillion of improvised rescue programs. The 21,000 transactions in 11 initiatives included the money-market plan Cunningham helped devise, known as the AMLF, short for its 10-word formal name, the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility. In its scramble to keep the economy from collapsing, the Fed also created the Commercial Paper Funding Facility, or CPFF, which tried to ensure that banks and industrial companies had the short-term loans they needed to fund everyday operations. General Electric Co., the biggest issuer of commercial paper, met with Treasury and Fed officials in the days before they created the CPFF." Bloomberg quotes our Peter Crane, "The AMLF was the single most successful government intervention during the financial crisis. In a crisis when you have esoteric corners of the market involved, you have no choice but to go to the experts, and the experts will be self-interested players."

Today's Wall Street Journal writes "Some U.S. Money Funds Exposed to European Banks". The article says, "Some of the largest U.S. money-market funds hold billions of dollars in securities issued by Spanish and Italian banks, highlighting the risk that further deterioration in Europe could have broad impact. Many European banks have long been dependent on investors for funding because their deposit base is too small relative to their loans outstanding. U.S. money-market funds have been a major source of that cash. Money-market funds in the U.S. hold about $400 billion of their $2.8 trillion in assets in foreign banks, according to J.P. Morgan."

The Journal piece says, "Among the major U.S. funds, Fidelity Cash Reserves, the largest retail money fund, held $4.2 billion, or 3.5% of its assets, in certificates of deposit issued by Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, or BBVA, and Italian banks UniCredit SpA and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA as of Oct. 31. Schwab Cash Reserves, the third-largest fund, had $1.5 billion in securities from Banco Santander SA, BBVA, UniCredit and Intesa. Western Asset Money Market Fund, owned by asset manager Legg Mason Inc., the ninth-largest fund, holds $848 million in Banco Santander, BBVA and Intesa. The banks remain highly rated by the major bond-rating firms. Analysts said the bigger risks in Spain are smaller savings banks, not the big commercial firms."

The piece adds, "The money funds that hold their debt, meanwhile, remain in solid shape, said analysts. They hold short-term commercial paper and certificates of deposit, among other assets, and the short maturities reduce the risk of default."

Legg Mason spokeswoman Mary Athridge comments, "We are comfortable with the position; it is relatively small, the maturities are short, we are comfortable with the creditworthiness of the institutions, and that is augmented by the fact that there are liquidity facilities available from the [European Union] and [European Central Bank]. We will continue to carefully monitor the situation." Fidelity spokesman Adam Banker told the Journal, "We can tell you that we are very comfortable with all of our funds holdings in foreign banks."

The article quotes Peter Crane, president of Crane Data LLC, a money-market-fund research firm, "The funds may be backing away from European banks, but it's not a real threat to money-market investors in the U.S.." The Journal says, "The problems at two large Irish banks in recent weeks and the subsequent bailout of Ireland's financial system have rekindled fears that European banks are in poor health. Investors have been wary of European banks for at least the past year because, like Lehman, they depend heavily on wholesale commercial borrowing.... Money-market funds stopped buying securities issued by Irish banks in the past two to three months, Mr. Crane said."

Finally, the WSJ piece adds, "In the wake of the Reserve Primary Fund debacle, new money-market rules were put in place to reduce systemic risk. Funds are now required to hold 30% of their assets in securities that mature in seven days or less. Regulators also placed limits on credit quality, to ensure that money-fund managers hold only the most-liquid assets. The new rules haven't been tested during a major global selloff, but analysts said they should help money funds weather the failure of a large institution much more easily than in 2008."

Note that the Journal article references last month's portfolio holdings, the majority of which have already matured. November 30 holdings won't be published until December 7th. Portfolio holdings of the largest money market funds are now available to subscribers of Crane Data's Money Fund Wisdom database query website. E-mail Pete to request a look at the most recent holdings.