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Crane Data's latest Money Fund Market Share rankings show assets were higher among most of the largest U.S. money fund complexes in April. Money market fund assets increased $61.7 billion, or 1.3%, last month to $4.988 trillion. Assets have increased by $240.7 billion, or 5.1%, over the past 3 months, and they've increased by $202.1 billion, or 3.9%, over the past 12 months through April 30, 2021. The biggest increases among the 25 largest managers last month were seen by BlackRock, Goldman Sachs, Federated Hermes, Invesco and Dreyfus, which grew assets by $24.5 billion, $18.3B, $13.0B, $11.0B and $10.4B, respectively. But big declines in April were seen by JP Morgan, SSGA, Fidelity, Northern and HSBC, which decreased by $10.4 billion, $10.1B, $9.8B, $5.3B and $5.1B, respectively. Our domestic U.S. "Family" rankings are available in our MFI XLS product, our global rankings are available in our MFI International product. The combined "Family & Global Rankings" are available to Money Fund Wisdom subscribers. We review the latest market share totals below, and we also look at money fund yields in April.

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The May issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent to subscribers Friday morning, features the articles: "ICI's PWG Comment Defends MMFs; Crane Celebrates 15th," which excerpts from ICI's comment letter to the SEC; "Big Fund Companies Respond to SEC, PWG Report Reforms," which highlights comment letters from the largest money fund complexes; and, "ICI 2021 Fact Book Shows Money Fund Trends in '20," which reviews ICI's annual statistical work. We also sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Friday a.m., and updated our Money Fund Wisdom database query system with 4/30/21 data. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our May Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Tuesday, May 11, and our May Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Friday, May 14.

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A press release entitled, "Morgan Stanley Investment Management and CastleOak Securities, L.P. Debut New Share Class," tells us, "Morgan Stanley Investment Management ('MSIM') and CastleOak Securities, L.P. ('CastleOak'), an industry-leading, minority-owned, boutique investment bank are pleased to announce an expansion of their long-standing partnership by debuting two new co-branded share class offerings that provide clients an expanded menu of short-term cash investment services. As clients increasingly look to maximize their social impact, these two new products provide a solution that brings together CastleOak's strong institutional relationships and Morgan Stanley's unparalleled investment experience." (For more on the MS CastleOak Shares, see our recent Crane Data News: Morgan Stanley's Wachs, Crane Talk ESG, Social Money Funds on Webinar (5/4/21), and Morgan Stanley Files for CastleOak Shares; Bond Fund Symposium Today (3/25/21).)

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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 April 30, 2021) includes Holdings information from 49 money funds (down 23 funds from a week ago), which represent $1.624 trillion (down from $1.999 trillion) of the $4.888 trillion (33.2%) in total money fund assets tracked by Crane Data. (Our Weekly MFPH are e-mail only and aren't available on the website.)

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Late last month, Crane Data hosted an ESG & Social Money Fund Update webinar, which featured a discussion between our Peter Crane and Morgan Stanley's Global Head of Liquidity Product Scott Wachs. The two talked about ESG Prime MMFs, Social Govt MMFs, and Diversity private-labelled share classes. We also discuss asset flows, fee waivers and future MMF reforms. Below, we quote from our discussion. (Note: Crane Data Subscribers and Attendees may access the Powerpoint and recording for the "ESG & Social Money Fund Update" here, and mark your calendars for our next webinar, "Handicapping Money Fund Reforms," which will take place May 20 (Thursday) from 2-3pm EDT.)

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Federated Hermes hosted its quarterly earnings call (see the Seeking Alpha transcript here) on Friday, and fee waivers and virtually zero rates were the big topic of discussion. Federated's release explains, "Money market assets were $419.1 billion at March 31, 2021, down $32.2 billion or 7% from $451.3 billion at March 31, 2020 and down $1.2 billion or less than 1% from $420.3 billion at Dec. 31, 2020. Money market fund assets were $297.2 billion at March 31, 2021, down $38.9 billion or 12% from $336.1 billion at March 31, 2020 and down $4.7 billion or 2% from $301.9 billion at Dec. 31, 2020."

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The Investment Company Institute released its latest weekly "Money Market Fund Assets" report, which shows MMFs jumping by $54.3 billion, and its latest monthly "Trends in Mutual Fund Investing" and "Month-End Portfolio Holdings of Taxable Money Funds" for March 2021. The monthly "Trends" report shows that money fund assets increased $129.4 billion in March to $4.497 trillion. This follows an increase of $39.4 billion in February and decreases of $5.2 billion in January, $10.0 billion in December and $12.0 billion in November. Assets also fell $47.6 billion in October, $118.4 billion in September, $56.7 billion in August, $55.4 billion in July and $133.5 billion in June. Prior to this, assets increased $31.8 billion in May and $399.4 billion in April. For the 12 months through March 31, 2021, money fund assets have increased by $159.5 billion, or 3.7%. (Month-to-date in April, through 4/28, MMF assets have increased by $50.2 billion according to our MFI Daily.)

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For weeks, we've been discussing comment letters to the SEC in response to its "Request for Comment on Potential Money Market Fund Reform Measures in President's Working Group Report. Today, we finish off the remainder of letters from the 20 largest money fund complexes, and cite missives from SSGA, Invesco, T. Rowe Price and Western Asset. The 12th largest MMF manager, State Street Global Advisors, writes, "The market volatility observed in March and April of 2020 was a real-life stress test for global financial markets and the post-2008 regulatory frameworks under which they operate. As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic rippled through the global economy, the exceptional and unprecedented demand for liquidity resulted in particularly acute pressure being felt in short-term funding markets. The MMF sector, as a highly-visible and transparent constituent of short-term funding markets, also faced liquidity challenges, although this experience was not homogenous across the various types of MMFs. While government MMFs received exceptional inflows, suggesting they were the vehicle of choice for investors in their search for a safe haven, institutional prime MMFs faced substantive outflows. The market volatility seemingly only abated following the actions taken by the U.S. Federal Reserve to stabilize markets, including the introduction of the Federal Reserve's Money Market Mutual Fund Liquidity Facility (MMLF). This experience has once again brought policymaker scrutiny onto prime MMFs."

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Since the April 12 deadline passed, we've been highlighting a number of comment letters submitted in response to the SEC's "Request for Comment on Potential Money Market Fund Reform Measures in President's Working Group Report." Today, we quote from several more of the largest money fund managers -- Dreyfus, Wells Fargo and Northern (who rank 8, 9 and 10 in money fund market share). The first of these says, "Dreyfus Cash Investment Strategies, a division of BNY Mellon Investment Adviser, Inc., welcomes the opportunity to comment on the money market fund reform options discussed in the 'Report of the President's Working Group on Financial Markets: Overview of Recent Events and Potential Reform Options for Money Market Funds'.... As of March 31, 2021, BNYM Investment Adviser ... managed approximately $215.3 billion invested in 25 domestic money market mutual funds structured within the confines of Rule 2a-7 under the Investment Company Act of 1940." (Note: Please join us for our next webinar, "Handicapping Money Fund Reforms," which will take place Thursday, May 20 from 2-3pm (EDT).)

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This month, MFI interviews BNY Mellon Managing Director and Head of Liquidity Services, George Maganas, who is in charge of the firm's money market fund trading "portal," Liquidity Direct. Maganas reviews the history of one of the industry's largest and oldest portals, and BNY's main priorities and biggest challenges going forward. He also discusses the current portal marketplace and how they're working to make "clients' workflow more efficient." Our Q&A follows. (Note: The following is reprinted from the April issue of Money Fund Intelligence, which was published on April 7. Contact us at info@cranedata.com to request the full issue or to subscribe.)

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ICI published a new "Viewpoint," entitled, "On Closer Look, a Very Different Picture of Funds' Role in the Commercial Paper Market." Author Shelly Antoniewicz tells us, "New analysis by ICI shows that prime money market funds did not pull back significantly from the commercial paper market during the height of the market turmoil and 'dash for cash' triggered by the COVID-19 health crisis in March 2020. That's not what the President's Working Group on Financial Markets report on money market funds (PWG Report) suggests. That report notes that two categories of prime money market funds -- public institutional funds and retail funds -- reduced their holdings of commercial paper by $35 billion from March 10 to March 24, and 'this reduction accounted for 74 percent of the $48 billion overall decline in outstanding commercial paper over those two weeks.' The implication: prime money market funds helped fuel the meltdown in the commercial paper market." (Note: Thanks again to those who attended last week's ESG & Social Money Fund Update! Click here to see the recording or visit our Money Fund Webinars 2021 page to access the Powerpoint.)

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The Securities and Exchange Commission's latest monthly "Money Market Fund Statistics" summary shows that total money fund assets jumped $146.1 billion in March to $4.994 trillion. (Month-to-date in April assets are down $12.2 billion through 4/21, according to our MFI Daily.) The SEC shows that Prime MMFs rose by $7.2 billion in March to $927.9 billion, Govt & Treasury funds skyrocketed $140.9 billion to $3.958 trillion and Tax Exempt funds decreased $2.0 billion to $108.2 billion. Yields were mixed in March. The SEC's Division of Investment Management summarizes monthly Form N-MFP data and includes asset totals and averages for yields, liquidity levels, WAMs, WALs, holdings, and other money market fund trends. We review their latest numbers below. (Note: Thanks to those who attended our ESG & Social Money Fund Update yesterday! If you missed it, click here for the recording.)

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