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Last week, Crane Data hosted Money Fund University, our annual "basic training" event, which featured two afternoons of online sessions as well as number of recorded segments. (Note: Crane Data Subscribers and recent Money Fund University Attendees may access the Powerpoint and recording for the MFU in our "Money Fund University 2021 Download Center.") One of the highlights featured J.P. Morgan Securities' Teresa Ho presenting an "Instruments of the Money Markets Intro," an overview of the money markets and securities owned by money market funds. She tells us, "Borrowers use it as a way to help finance expenses on a short-term basis ... investors use it as a way to invest their cash on a temporary basis, and ... others use the sector as a way to manage interest rate risk. So, basically, as long as there is demand for liquidity, and as long as there is a mismatch between incoming and outgoing cash flows, there's a need for the money markets. While it was a fairly mundane market back in day, I think what we have seen with [both] the recent financial crisis in 2008, as well as the most recent Covid crisis ... is how integral [the money markets] are to the rest of the fixed income markets."

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The Securities and Exchange Commission's latest monthly "Money Market Fund Statistics" summary shows that total money fund assets decreased by $26.1 billion in December to $4.782 trillion. (Month-to-date in January through 1/22, assets have decreased by $32.8 billion according to our MFI Daily.) The SEC shows that Prime MMFs fell by $42.7 billion in December to $913.5 billion, Govt & Treasury funds rose by $19.2 billion to $3.754 trillion and Tax Exempt funds decreased $2.6 billion to $113.8 billion. Yields were flat in December. 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.

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State Street Global Advisors published a series of articles and called them its "Global Cash Outlook." The pieces include: "For Cash, 2020 Was a Year of Sustained Strength," which reviews the credit profiles of global banks; "LIBORs' 11th Hour: The Urgent Need to Phase Out the Reference Rate," which discusses the coming demise of the rate benchmark; "Lower for Even Longer: Secular US Rates Framework in a COVID-19 World," which reviews economic growth and rates; and "Transformed Overnight: How COVID-19 Changed Cash," which talks about several major themes in the money markets last year. We quote from this last article below. (Note: Thanks to those who attending our Money Fund University! Crane Data Subscribers and MFU Attendees may visit the "Money Fund University 2021 Download Center" to access the recordings and conference materials.)

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This month, MFI interviews ICD CEO Tory Hazard. We ask him about San Francisco-based ICD's history in cash and discuss Prime funds, fee waiver pressures, current priorities, and ICD's outlook for the coming year. Hazard reminds us why money market funds are "a valuable part of institutional investment portfolios in all yield environments," and tells us that investors are "looking for products that earn at least some yield." Our Q&A follows. (Note: The following is reprinted from the January issue of Money Fund Intelligence, which was published on Jan. 8. Contact us at info@cranedata.com to request the full issue or to subscribe. Note Also: Welcome and thanks to those attending our Money Fund University, which took place yesterday and continues this afternoon. Crane Data Subscribers and MFU Attendees may visit the "Money Fund University 2021 Download Center" to access conference materials and recordings.)

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A press release entitled, "Vanguard Announces Plans to Launch Ultra-Short Bond ETF," tells us that, Vanguard ... filed an initial registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch Vanguard Ultra-Short Bond ETF. The actively managed ETF will offer a low-cost, diversified option for investors seeking income and limited price volatility. Vanguard Fixed Income Group will serve as investment advisor to the new ETF, which is expected to launch in the second quarter of 2021." (Note: Welcome to those joining us for this afternoon's Money Fund University ($250), which takes place Jan. 21-22. Crane Data Subscribers and MFU Attendees may visit the "Money Fund University 2021 Download Center" to access conference materials and recordings.)

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As we wrote earlier this month (and reprint here), our January MFI issue recognized the top performing money funds, ranked by total returns, for calendar year 2020, as well as the top funds for the past 5‐year and 10‐year periods. We present the funds below with our annual Money Fund Intelligence Awards. These are given to the No. 1‐ranked funds based on 1‐year, 5‐year and 10‐year returns, through Dec. 31, 2020, in each of our major fund categories — Prime Institutional, Government Institutional, Treasury Institutional, Prime Retail, Government Retail, Treasury Retail and Tax‐Exempt. (Note: We're still taking registrations for tomorrow's Money Fund University ($250), which takes place the afternoons of Jan. 21-22. Crane Data Subscribers and MFU Attendees may visit the "Money Fund University 2021 Download Center" to access conference materials and recordings.)

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On Friday, mutual fund news source ignites published the article, "Sponsors Waived $3.1B in Money Fund Fees in 2020." They write, "Money market fund sponsors waived $3.1 billion in fees last year, according to Investment Company Institute data. An economic slowdown spurred by the coronavirus pandemic led the Federal Reserve to cut short-term interest rates twice last March, to zero, after about two years of keeping the benchmark rate above 1.5%. With those cuts, yields tumbled, and a growing number of money funds began waiving fees to avoid zero or negative yields." We quote from their piece, and we also review the latest MFI International statistics on European money fund assets, yields and portfolio holdings, below. (Note: We're still taking registrations for this week's Money Fund University ($250), our "basic training" event, which takes place the afternoons of Jan. 21-22. Crane Data Subscribers and MFU Attendees may visit the "Money Fund University 2021 Download Center" to access conference materials and recordings in coming days.)

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The January issue of our Bond Fund Intelligence, which was sent to subscribers Friday morning, features the lead story, "Top Stories & Funds of '20: More Asset Gains, Low Yields," which reviews the biggest bond fund news and top-performing funds last year, and "Worldwide BF Assets Jump to $12.2 Trillion, Led by U.S.," which covers the previous quarter's increases among the largest global bond fund markets. BFI also recaps the latest Bond Fund News and includes our Crane BFI Indexes, which show that bond fund yields fell and returns were up yet again in December. We excerpt from the new issue below. (Contact us if you'd like to see our Bond Fund Intelligence and BFI XLS spreadsheet, or our Bond Fund Portfolio Holdings data. Register too for next week's Money Fund University, Jan. 21-22 Online.)

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Wells Fargo Asset Management's latest monthly "`Portfolio Manager Commentary" features a section entitled, "The Year in Review," which highlights some of the major market events of 2020. They write, "It's hard to believe, but the beginning of 2020 was relatively benign. In January, the Federal Reserve (Fed) was expected to keep engaging in Temporary and Permanent Open Market Operations through April in order to minimize volatility and maintain a stable rate environment, with yields generally bumping along at the bottom of its target range of 1.50% to 1.75%. The prime markets experienced a collapse in credit spreads, which began trading below benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rates, as well as a flattening of the yield curve, pricing in the possibility of Fed rate cuts late in the year.... In February, we examined the state of the credit environment in the money markets, both as it pertained to relevant asset classes as well as regional differences. We noted that, in general, corporate and financial balance sheets were in good shape and economies were stable and prosperous. While in retrospect it does not seem adequate, we devoted a paragraph to the novel coronavirus and the 'great deal of uncertainty about both the spread of the disease, its management, and the ultimate economic impact.'"

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Crane Data released its January Money Fund Portfolio Holdings Tuesday, and our most recent collection, with data as of Dec. 31, 2020, shows decreases in every category except Treasuries last month. Money market securities held by Taxable U.S. money funds (tracked by Crane Data) decreased by $88.0 billion to $4.623 trillion in December, after increasing $86.6 billion in November, but decreasing $148.0 billion in October. Treasury securities remained the largest portfolio segment, followed by Repo, then Agencies. CP remained fourth, ahead of CDs, Other/Time Deposits and VRDNs. Below, we review our latest Money Fund Portfolio Holdings statistics. (Visit our Content center to download, or contact us to request our latest Portfolio Holdings reports.)

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Crane Data's latest monthly Money Fund Portfolio Holdings statistics will be sent out Tuesday, and we'll be writing our normal monthly update on the December 31 data for Wednesday's News. But we also published a separate and broader Portfolio Holdings data set based on the SEC's Form N-MFP filings on Monday. (We continue to merge the two series, and the N-MFP version is now available via Holding file listings to Money Fund Wisdom subscribers.) Our new N-MFP summary, with data as of Dec. 31, 2020, includes holdings information from 1,071 money funds (down two from last month), representing assets of $4.786 trillion (down $92 billion). Prime MMFs now total $910.2 billion, or 19.0% of the total, down from $963.0 billion a month ago. We review the new N-MFP data below.

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Crane Data's latest Money Fund Market Share rankings show assets were flat overall and mixed among the largest U.S. money fund complexes in December. Money market fund assets decreased $6.1 billion, or -0.1%, last month to $4.730 trillion. Assets have fallen by $62.0 billion, or -1.3%, over the past 3 months, but they've increased by $779.1 billion, or 19.7%, over the past 12 months through Dec. 31, 2020. The biggest increases among the 25 largest managers last month were seen by Morgan Stanley, SSGA, Dreyfus, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, which grew assets by $15.7 billion, $14.6B, $11.2B, $5.2B and $3.7B, respectively. The largest declines in assets in December were seen by BlackRock, Wells Fargo, Vanguard, Federated Hermes and UBS, which decreased by $25.2 billion, $11.1B, $6.5B, $6.3B and $6.3B, 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 December.

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