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The Investment Company Institute released its latest monthly "Trends in Mutual Fund Investing" reports yesterday. Their numbers confirm a jump in money fund assets in December, following a jump in November and a dip in October. ICI's "December 2017 - Trends" shows a $51.8 billion increase in money market fund assets in December to $2.847 trillion. This follows a $57.9 billion increase in November, a $8.8 billion decrease in October, a $28.8 billion increase in Sept., a $71.8 billion increase in August, and a $13.6 billion increase in July. In the 12 months through December 31, money fund assets have increased by $119.2 billion, or 4.4%. We review ICI's latest reports below, and we also quote from a filing for a new money market fund, Semper U.S. Treasury Money Fund.

ICI's monthly report states, "The combined assets of the nation's mutual funds increased by $149.60 billion, or 0.8 percent, to $18.75 trillion in December, according to the Investment Company Institute’s official survey of the mutual fund industry. In the survey, mutual fund companies report actual assets, sales, and redemptions to ICI."

It explains, "Bond funds had an inflow of $13.40 billion in December, compared with an inflow of $14.97 billion in November…. Money market funds had an inflow of $49.40 billion in December, compared with an inflow of $55.44 billion in November. In December funds offered primarily to institutions had an inflow of $33.80 billion and funds offered primarily to individuals had an inflow of $15.59 billion."

The latest "Trends" shows that both Taxable and Tax Exempt MMFs gained assets again last month. Taxable MMFs increased by $49.3 billion in December, after increasing by $57.4 billion in November and decreasing $9.4 billion in October, but increasing $30.1 billion in September, $73.5 billion in August and $11.9 billion in July. Tax-Exempt MMFs increased $2.5 billion in December, after increasing $0.5 billion in November and $0.9 billion in October, but decreasing $1.3 billion in September and $1.7 billion in August. Over the past year through 12/31/17, Taxable MMF assets increased by $118.3 billion (4.6%) while Tax-Exempt funds rose by $0.8 billion over the past year (0.6%).

Money funds now represent 15.2% (up from 15.0% the previous month) of all mutual fund assets, while bond funds represent 21.7%, according to ICI. The total number of money market funds decreased by 9 to 382 in December, down from 421 a year ago. (Taxable money funds fell by 9 to 299 and Tax-exempt money funds were unchanged over the last month.)

ICI also released its latest "Month-End Portfolio Holdings of Taxable Money Funds," which confirmed a surge in Repo and a sharp drop in CDs in December. Repo remained the largest portfolio segment; it was up $51.9 billion, or 5.7%, to $956.4 billion or 35.2% of holdings. Repo has increased by $156.2 billion over the past 12 months, or 19.5%. (See our Jan. 11 News, "Jan. Money Fund Portfolio Holdings: Repo Jumps, Breaks 1.0 Trillion.")

Treasury Bills & Securities remained in second place among composition segments; they rose by $354 million, or 0.1%, to $702.2 billion, or 25.9% of holdings. Treasury holdings have fallen by $94.1 billion, or -11.8%, over the past year. U.S. Government Agency Securities remained in third place; they rose by $6.0 billion, or 0.9%, to $682.5 billion, or 25.1% of holdings. Agency holdings have risen by $4.7 billion, or 0.7%, over the past 12 months.

Certificates of Deposit (CDs) stood in fourth place; they decreased $35.5 billion, or -16.3%, to $182.4 billion (6.7% of assets). CDs held by money funds have risen by $34.6 billion, or 23.4%, over 12 months. Commercial Paper remained in fifth place, increasing $1.9B, or 1.3%, to $148.2 billion (5.5% of assets). CP has increased by $44.4 billion, or 42.7%, over one year. Notes (including Corporate and Bank) were down by $404 million, or -5.2%, to $7.4 billion (0.3% of assets), and Other holdings increased to $15.0 billion.

The Number of Accounts Outstanding in ICI's series for taxable money funds increased by 306.4 thousand to 26.885 million, while the Number of Funds declined by 9 to 299. Over the past 12 months, the number of accounts rose by 1.650 million and the number of funds decreased by 12. The Average Maturity of Portfolios was 32 days in December, up 2 days from November. Over the past 12 months, WAMs of Taxable money funds have shortened by 12 days.

In other news, a filing for the new Semper U.S. Treasury Money Fund tells us, "The Semper U.S. Treasury Money Market Fund (the “Fund”) seeks to provide current income while maintaining liquidity and a stable share price of $1.00." Run by Semper Capital Management, the fund will have an expense ratio of 0.30% (after a 0.12% waiver).

It adds, "The Semper U.S. Treasury Money Market Fund (the "Fund") is a series of Forum Funds II (the "Trust"), an open-end, management investment company (mutual fund).... The Advisor receives an advisory fee from the Fund at an annual rate equal to 0.20% of the Fund's average annual daily net assets under the terms of the Advisory Agreement.... Thomas Mandel, CFA, has been the portfolio manager of the Fund since its inception in 2018 and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Fund."

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Oct 27
 

This month, BFI profiles Yoana Koleva, Managing Director at Lord Abbett and Portfolio Manager of Lord Abbett Ultra Short Fund. The Jersey City-based manager runs the largest Ultra-Short Bond Fund and second largest Short-Term Bond Fund and ranks 12th overall in our bond fund family rankings. Koleva discusses the firm's history, the fund's strategies and a number of other topics in the ultra-short space. Our Q&A follows. (Note: The following is reprinted from the October issue of our Bond Fund Intelligence, which was published on Oct. 15. Contact us at info@cranedata.com to request the full issue or to subscribe. Also, please join us for Crane's Money Fund Symposium Online, which will be held Tuesday, October 27 from 1-4pm ET.)

BFI: Give us a little history. Koleva: Lord Abbett was actually founded back in 1929, so we've been around for a very long time. Within the short duration space, we also have a very long history and a pretty significant presence. Our Short Duration Income Fund was launched in early 2008. We invest in short-term, credit-oriented securities and the goal is to generate strong, consistent returns with low volatility. We have a multi-sector approach where we invest in investment grade, high yield corporate securities, CMBS and ABS, and the way we add value is through sector rotation and security selection. Currently, the short duration strategy has over $60 billion in assets.

Given our experience and our success in short duration, in 2016 we decided to launch our Ultra Short Bond product. If you recall, 2016 was the year when we had a major change in the regulatory landscape driven by the Money Market Reform. We believe that created an opportunity for a new product. You saw significant outflows from the Prime money market space as gates and floating NAVs were introduced. Prime money markets dropped by nearly $1 trillion driven by investor outflows and fund conversions into government money market funds. For the investor that focuses on principal preservation and return above Treasuries there were really very limited opportunities. We saw that market dynamic and identified it as an opportunity for the ultra short space. We currently manage over $20 billion in assets in the space, so it's been a huge success.

In terms of my background, I have been with Lord Abbett since 2011. I initially started as a credit research analyst focusing on financials. I was an analyst for about four years, and in 2015, I moved over to the portfolio management team as our AUM was growing and our portfolio management team was expanding. I was part of the Ultra Short strategy launch in 2016, and in 2018 I assumed the role of lead portfolio manager. Prior to joining Lord Abbett, I was actually on the sell side. I was at Morgan Stanley and was a bank analyst there.

If you look at the performance, especially of Short Duration, it has been very strong over the past 10 years. We haven't had a negative return year in the last decade and have consistently delivered positive returns. We believe that there is an anomaly in short duration credit – short duration securities are overlooked by investors and over time they generate better risk-adjusted returns. The average duration of the short duration portfolio is two years and as such you have a lot of visibility in what the credit profile for a company might look like over the next two years. And given also the short duration of these assets, you have limited volatility. A two-year bond isn't going to exhibit the same type of volatility that you might see with a 10-year or a 30-year bond. So, our view is that the front end of the curve has been in a way neglected by investors, and on a risk-adjusted basis that's actually where you get superior returns.

BFI: Tell us about the team. Koleva: We have 65 investment professionals within taxable fixed income and we all work together and collaborate to identify investment opportunities. We have a team-based approach, there is no star portfolio manager that makes one or two key decisions. It's all about each team identifying market inefficiencies and opportunities within their space. There are three parts to the team: you have the portfolio management team, the credit research analyst team, and the trading team. Within portfolio management, we are all divided based on our areas of expertise. I am part of the corporate portfolio management team. We have an ABS team, a CMBS team, a rates team, and a leveraged credit team, and we are tasked with identifying opportunities within our area of expertise.

The second leg to the stool, so to speak, is the credit research analyst team. We have over 20 analysts covering all the major sectors. We have a centralized approach to credit research. Each analyst is a sector expert and covers all the credits that would be in their sector across the credit spectrum. For example, an energy analyst would cover all companies, ranging from single-A, at the higher end of the quality spectrum, all the way to triple-Cs. That gives them a very holistic view of their space, which is very helpful, especially with crossover credits, such as rising stars or fallen angels.

The third leg of the stool is the trading team. The traders work very closely with the portfolio managers and credit analysts. They know what the portfolio management team and the credit analysts views are, and they help us identify opportunities that we can invest in.

BFI: What are your major priorities? Koleva: With Ultra Short, the goal of the strategy is to generate excess return over Treasuries while maintaining at the same time limited downside volatility. The ultra short strategy is managed by the same team that manages the rest of the credit focused funds. Thus, we can leverage the expertise that we have across the team. Currently, we believe corporate credit provides an attractive opportunity and we have a rigorous process to identify the securities that can generate superior risk adjusted returns.

BFI: How is the fund positioned? Koleva: For Ultra Short specifically, the asset classes that we invest in are: commercial paper, asset-backed securities and fixed and floating rate corporate notes. To take a step back, when you think about what the key risks for strategies like ultra short are, I would bucket them into three categories: liquidity risk, credit risk and interest rate risk. The different sectors that we invest in are designed to address those risks.

If you think about liquidity risk, the way we address this is by investing in commercial paper. The commercial paper provides a natural liquidity for the fund, as it is staggered and is very short term. The commercial paper part of the portfolio ranges at about 20 to 30% of the fund. There’s a natural liquidity that comes from that commercial paper maturing.

The second risk we talk about is credit risk. The way we mitigate that is by investing in very high-quality assets. Think about our ABS book, it's triple-A. The corporate bonds are investment grade with a big focus on single-A rated securities. The overall average rating of the fund is A-plus. We're talking about very high-quality assets.

The third component to risk is interest rate risk. The way we protect against interest rate risk is by investing in floating rate products. So, depending on our view of whether we are in a rising or lower rate environment, we can dial up and down our exposure to floating rate notes. Those are the main asset classes that we invest in.

Where our expertise and value comes in is identifying relative value across the different asset classes to determine where the best opportunities are, and doing the sector rotation that I talked about. We could be overweight any of the four asset classes we invest in, depending on what our view of relative value is within that sector. Our ability to identify inefficiencies and relative value across the different sectors is one of the main ways we add value.

BFI: Talk about your investors. Koleva: It's blend of both retail and institutional. We have had a very strong history and a very strong presence within the retail space. So, I would say we are more retail-oriented. But we have seen strong growth within the institutional space as well, especially over the past couple of years, within the short duration and ultra short strategies.

BFI: What's your outlook? Koleva: We are constructive on the short credit space. We expect rates to stay at near zero for an extended period. In that type of environment, if you are interested in earning excess yield over Treasuries and you are concerned about principal protection at the same time, you don't have many choices. Money markets are yielding near zero. At the same time, the absolute level of yield is very low. If inflation picks up, taking duration risk puts you in a vulnerable position. So I think the ultra short and short duration funds are very well positioned. Also, I think the ultra short space is a good alternative if you want to preserve optionality in case we have another bout of volatility similar to what we had in March. If you have a more defensive view, and you’re waiting for a better opportunity to enter the market, having exposure to ultra short near term is a good alternative.

Oct 15
 

The October issue of our Bond Fund Intelligence, which was sent to subscribers Thursday morning, features the lead story, "Worldwide Bond Funds Jump $820B in Q2'20 to $11.6 Trillion," which discusses the latest jump in bond fund assets globally, and "Lord Abbett Rules in Short-Term Bond Kingdom," which interviews Portfolio Manager and MD Yoana Koleva. BFI also recaps the latest Bond Fund News and includes our Crane BFI Indexes, which show that bond fund yields were higher and returns were lower in September. 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.)

Our Worldwide piece reads, "Bond fund assets worldwide skyrocketed by $816.9 billion in Q2'20 to $11.6 trillion, driven higher by increases in the U.S., Luxembourg and Ireland. Brazil was the only major country showing a decrease in the latest quarter. We review the ICI's 'Worldwide Open-End Fund Assets and Flows, Second Quarter 2020' release and statistics below."

ICI says, "Worldwide regulated open-end fund assets increased 12.4% to $53.87 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2020.... The Investment Company Institute compiles worldwide regulated open-end fund statistics on behalf of the International Investment Funds Association (IIFA).... On a US dollar-denominated basis ... bond fund assets rose by 7.5% to $11.63 trillion in the second quarter. Balanced/mixed fund assets increased by 10.7% to $6.48 trillion.... Money market fund assets rose by 6.1% to $8.16 trillion."

Our latest Fund Profile says, "This month, BFI profiles Yoana Koleva, Managing Director at Lord Abbett and Portfolio Manager of Lord Abbett Ultra Short Fund. The Jersey City-based manager runs the largest Ultra-Short Bond Fund and second largest Short-Term Bond Fund and ranks 12th overall in our bond fund family rankings. Koleva discusses the firm's history, the fund's strategies and a number of other topics in the ultra-short space. Our Q&A follows."

BFI says, "Give us a little history." Koleva responds, "Lord Abbett was actually founded back in 1929, so we've been around for a very long time. Within the short duration space, we also have a very long history and a pretty significant presence. Our Short Duration Income Fund was launched in early 2008. We invest in short-term, credit-oriented securities and the goal is to generate strong, consistent returns with low volatility. We have a multi-sector approach where we invest in investment grade, high yield corporate securities, CMBS and ABS, and the way we add value is through sector rotation and security selection. Currently, the short duration strategy has over $60 billion in assets."

She continues, "Given our experience and our success in short duration, in 2016 we decided to launch our Ultra Short Bond product. If you recall, 2016 was the year when we had a major change in the regulatory landscape driven by the Money Market Reform. We believe that created an opportunity for a new product. You saw significant outflows from the Prime money market space as gates and floating NAVs were introduced. Prime money markets dropped by nearly $1 trillion driven by investor outflows and fund conversions into government money market funds. For the investor that focuses on principal preservation and return above Treasuries there were really very limited opportunities. We saw that market dynamic and identified it as an opportunity for the ultra short space. We currently manage over $20 billion in assets in the space, so it's been a huge success."

Our Bond Fund News includes the brief, "Yields Up, Returns Dip in September," which explains, "Bond fund yields inched higher while returns were mostly lower last month. Our BFI Total Index returned -0.12% over 1-month and 3.83% over 12 months. The BFI 100 fell 0.10% in Sept. but rose 4.80% over 1 year. Our BFI Conservative Ultra-Short Index returned 0.05% over 1-mo and 1.75% over 1-yr; Ultra-Shorts averaged 0.10% in Sept. and 1.78% over 12 mos. Short-Term returned -0.02% and 3.33%, and Intm-Term fell 0.04% last month and 6.14% over 1-year. BFI's Long-Term Index fell by 0.17% in Sept. but rose 7.94% for 1-year. Our High Yield Index fell 0.57% last month and is up just 1.54% over 1-year."

In another News brief, we quote the Economic Times', "Bonds Suck in $26B, Pricing in US Democrats Win," which says, "Bond funds have seen the second-largest weekly inflows ever of $25.9 billion, BofA said on Friday, as the market continues to price in a Democrats victory.... Riskier high yield bond funds attracted $5 billion in the week to Oct. 7, the highest in 11 weeks, while government bond funds sucked in $3.8 billion, the largest inflows in 14 weeks."

A third News update tells readers, "The SEC Published, 'U.S. Credit Markets: Interconnectedness and the Effects of the COVID-19 Economic Shock' (and hosted a Roundtable Oct. 14). It says, 'Though many observers have been concerned about the ability of bond funds to access liquidity to meet redemption requests during periods of market stress, these concerns did not materialize during the market turmoil in March. Commission staff estimate that bond mutual funds experienced $255 billion of net outflows during March 2020, with another $21 billion in outflows from bond ETFs.' ICI also published, 'The Impact of COVID-​19 on Economies and Financial Markets.'"

BFI also features a sidebar entitled, "Barron's on Best Bond Funds." Their article, 'The Best Bond Funds for Uncertain Times.' explains, 'The drastic changes in the fixed-income market in recent months -- largely driven by the Federal Reserve's signaling that interest rates will stay near zero until 2023 ... -- necessitates a reassessment of bond portfolios.... With CDs and money markets paying nothing, income investors tend to gravitate toward short- or ultrashort-term bond funds. But many of these have taken on credit risk to bolster their yields, so they took bigger losses at the height of the crisis than most investors would expect from their 'safe' investment bucket, says Morningstar analyst Garrett Heine.'"

Finally, a brief entitled, "BF Inflows Slow, Then Jump," explains, "Bond funds continue to see strong inflows and asset gains, but they paused briefly in late September. ICI's 'Combined Estimated Long-Term Fund Flows and ETF Net Issuance,' says, 'Bond funds had estimated inflows of $25.02 billion for the week, compared to estimated inflows of $4.40 billion during the previous week [and $5.04B the prior week]. Taxable bond funds saw estimated inflows of $22.54 billion, and municipal bond funds had estimated inflows of $2.48 billion.' Over the past 5 weeks, bond funds and bond ETFs have seen inflows of $63.3 billion.'"

Oct 13
 

Crane Data released its October Money Fund Portfolio Holdings Friday, and our most recent collection, with data as of September 30, 2020, shows a decrease in every category except VRDNs last month. Money market securities held by Taxable U.S. money funds (tracked by Crane Data) decreased by $94.3 billion to $4.772 trillion last month, after decreasing $12.7 billion in August, $83.1 billion in July and $159.1 billion in June. Money market securities increased $31.6 billion in May, and a staggering $529.4 billion in April and $725.6 billion in March. 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 the latest files, or contact us to see our latest Portfolio Holdings reports.)

Among taxable money funds, Treasury securities decreased by $6.3 billion (-0.25%) to $2.461 trillion, or 51.6% of holdings, after increasing $3.1 billion in August, decreasing $79.9 billion in July and increasing $60.8 billion in June. Repurchase Agreements (repo) decreased by $6.7 billion (-64%) to $1.041 trillion, or 21.8% of holdings, after increasing $60.8 billion in August, increasing $40.0 billion in July, and decreasing $124.3 billion in June. Government Agency Debt decreased by $28.1 billion (-3.5%) to $768.4 billion, or 16.1% of holdings, after decreasing $37.6 billion in August, $45.1 billion in July and $65.2 billion in June. Repo, Treasuries and Agencies totaled $4.271 trillion, representing a massive 89.5% of all taxable holdings.

Money funds' holdings of CP, CDs and Other (mainly Time Deposits) fell in September, breaking below the $500 billion level for the first time since December 2018, while VDRNs saw assets increase. Commercial Paper (CP) decreased $11.6 billion (-4.8%) to $231.9 billion, or 4.9% of holdings, after decreasing $32.5 billion in August, $10.7 billion in July and $6.5 billion in June. Certificates of Deposit (CDs) fell by $20.8 billion (-11.8%) to $156.1 billion, or 3.3% of taxable assets, after decreasing $19.0 billion in August, $12.3 billion in July and $9.1 billion in June. Other holdings, primarily Time Deposits, decreased $21.0 billion (-18.2%) to $94.6 billion, or 2.0% of holdings, after increasing $15.3 billion in August, $22.3 billion in July and decreasing by $13.7 billion in June. VRDNs increased to $94.6 billion, or 0.4% of assets, from $19.1 billion the previous month. (Note: This total is VRDNs for taxable funds only. We will publish Tax Exempt MMF holdings separately late Tuesday.)

Prime money fund assets tracked by Crane Data dropped $149.0 billion to $987.0 billion, or 20.7% of taxable money funds' $4.772 trillion total. Among Prime money funds, CDs represent 15.8% (up from 15.6% a month ago), while Commercial Paper accounted for 23.5% (up from 21.4%). The CP totals are comprised of: Financial Company CP, which makes up 14.3% of total holdings, Asset-Backed CP, which accounts for 5.3%, and Non-Financial Company CP, which makes up 3.9%. Prime funds also hold 6.4% in US Govt Agency Debt, 27.5% in US Treasury Debt, 5.0% in US Treasury Repo, 0.6% in Other Instruments, 5.6% in Non-Negotiable Time Deposits, 4.9% in Other Repo, 6.4% in US Government Agency Repo and 1.0% in VRDNs.

Government money fund portfolios totaled $2.616 trillion (54.8% of all MMF assets), up $111.0 billion from $2.505 trillion in August, while Treasury money fund assets totaled another $1.170 trillion (24.5%), down from $1.226 trillion the prior month. Government money fund portfolios were made up of 27.0% US Govt Agency Debt, 11.7% US Government Agency Repo, 46.1% US Treasury debt, 14.9% in US Treasury Repo, 0.2% in VRDNs and 0.1% in Investment Company . Treasury money funds were comprised of 84.1% US Treasury Debt and 15.8% in US Treasury Repo. Government and Treasury funds combined now total $3.786 trillion, or 79.3% of all taxable money fund assets.

European-affiliated holdings (including repo) decreased by $33.5 billion in September to $626.4 billion; their share of holdings fell to 13.1% from last month's 13.6%. Eurozone-affiliated holdings fell to $430.0 billion from last month's $456.7 billion; they account for 9.0% of overall taxable money fund holdings. Asia & Pacific related holdings decreased $21.1 billion to $227.0 billion (4.8% of the total). Americas related holdings fell $37.0 billion to $3.915 trillion and now represent 82.0% of holdings.

The overall taxable fund Repo totals were made up of: US Treasury Repurchase Agreements (up $29.9 billion, or 5.0%, to $623.4 billion, or 13.1% of assets); US Government Agency Repurchase Agreements (down $22,9 billion, or -5.8%, to $369.4 billion, or 7.7% of total holdings), and Other Repurchase Agreements (down $13.7 billion, or -22.2%, from last month to $48.0 billion, or 1.0% of holdings). The Commercial Paper totals were comprised of Financial Company Commercial Paper (down $2.0 billion to $141.5 billion, or 3.0% of assets), Asset Backed Commercial Paper (down $3.2 billion to $52.3 billion, or 1.1%), and Non-Financial Company Commercial Paper (down $6.4 billion to $38.2 billion, or 0.8%).

The 20 largest Issuers to taxable money market funds as of Sept. 30, 2020, include: the US Treasury ($2,477.9 billion, or 51.9%), Federal Home Loan Bank ($460.7B, 9.7%), Fixed Income Clearing Co ($144.9B, 3.0%), BNP Paribas ($132.9B, 2.8%), Federal National Mortgage Association ($113.7B, 2.4%), Federal Farm Credit Bank ($98.3B, 2.1%), RBC ($96.7B, 2.0%), JP Morgan ($92.7B, 1.9%), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Co ($74.7B, 1.6%), Barclays ($64.0B, 1.3%), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc ($62.3B, 1.3%), Credit Agricole ($50.5B, 1.1%), Citi ($47.9B, 1.0%), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Co ($47.0B, 1.0%), Societe Generale ($42.3B, 0.9%), Toronto-Dominion Bank ($39.5B, 0.8%), Bank of Montreal ($37.5B, 0.8%), Bank of America ($37.5B, 0.8%), HSBC ($31.9B, 0.7%) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ($28.5B, 0.6%).

In the repo space, the 10 largest Repo counterparties (dealers) with the amount of repo outstanding and market share (among the money funds we track) include: Fixed Income Clearing Co ($144.8B, 13.9%), BNP Paribas ($120.8B, 11.6%), JP Morgan ($83.1B, 8.0%), RBC ($78.8B, 7.6%), Barclays ($46.6B, 4.5%), Credit Agricole ($42.6B, 4.1%), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ($42.4B, 4.1%), Citi ($39.4B, 3.8%), Bank of America ($35.5B, 3.4%) and Societe Generale ($32.9B, 3.2%).

The 10 largest issuers of "credit" -- CDs, CP and Other securities (including Time Deposits and Notes) combined -- include: Toronto-Dominion Bank ($23.7B, 5.6%), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group ($19.9B, 4.7%), RBC ($17.9B, 4.2%), Barclays ($17.4B, 4.1%), Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd ($17.3B, 4.1%), Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank ($16.3B, 3.9%), Credit Suisse ($12.2B, 2.9%), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ($12.0B, 2.8%) and BNP Paribas ($12.0B, 2.8%).

The 10 largest CD issuers include: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Co ($14.2B, 9.1%), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc ($14.1B, 9.0%), Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank ($10.2B, 6.6%), Bank of Montreal ($10.2B, 6.5%), Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd ($9.5B, 6.1%), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce ($7.7B, 4.9%), Toronto-Dominion Bank ($7.2B, 4.6%), Credit Suisse ($7.1B, 4.5%), Svenska Handelsbanken ($5.9B, 3.7%) and Credit Mutuel ($5.2B, 3.3%).

The 10 largest CP issuers (we include affiliated ABCP programs) include: Toronto-Dominion Bank ($16.2B, 8.0%), RBC ($10.3B, 5.1%), JP Morgan ($9.6B, 4.8%), Societe Generale ($8.3B, 4.1%), Citi ($7.6B, 3.8%), BNP Paribas ($7.5B, 3.7%), BPCE SA ($7.0B, 3.5%), NRW.Bank ($6.6B, 3.3%), Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank ($6.1B, 3.0%) and Toyota ($5.3B, 2.6%).

The largest increases among Issuers include: Fixed Income Clearing Corp (up $31.7B to $144.9B), US Treasury (up $10.4B to $2,477.9B), Barclays PLC (up $4.3B to $64.0B), BNP Paribas (up $3.7B to $132.9B), HSBC (up $3.4B to $31.9B), ABN Amro Bank (up $2.9B to $17.4B), Deutsche Bank AG (up $1.7B to $19.0B), JP Morgan (up $1.5B to $92.7B), Rabobank (up $1.4B to $9.8B) and Natixis (up $1.0B to $25.5B).

The largest decreases among Issuers of money market securities (including Repo) in September were shown by: the Federal Home Loan Bank (down $30.7B to $460.7B), Credit Agricole (down $22.5B to $50.5B), Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp (down $9.6B to $74.7B), Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd (down $8.2B to $26.7B), DNB ASA (down $7.9B to $8.1B), Bank of Nova Scotia (down $6.4B to $20.2B), Citi (down $5.9B to $47.9B), RBC (down $5.8B to $96.7B), Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc (down $5.6B to $62.3B) and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (down $4.2B to $28.5B).

The United States remained the largest segment of country-affiliations; it represents 77.1% of holdings, or $3.679 trillion. France (5.8%, $276.0B) was number two, and Canada (4.9%, $235.3B) was third. Japan (4.5%, $216.3B) occupied fourth place. The United Kingdom (2.6%, $125.5B) remained in fifth place. The Netherlands (1.3%, $59.7B) was in sixth place, followed by Germany (1.2%, $58.1B), Sweden (0.7%, $31.1B), Switzerland (0.6%, $30.0B) and Australia (0.6%, $26.2B). (Note: Crane Data attributes Treasury and Government repo to the dealer's parent country of origin, though money funds themselves "look-through" and consider these U.S. government securities. All money market securities must be U.S. dollar-denominated.)

As of September 30, 2020, Taxable money funds held 35.7% (down from 36.0%) of their assets in securities maturing Overnight, and another 9.5% maturing in 2-7 days (up from 6.9% last month). Thus, 45.2% in total matures in 1-7 days. Another 14.3% matures in 8-30 days, while 13.0% matures in 31-60 days. Note that close to three-quarters, or 72.5% of securities, mature in 60 days or less (down slightly from last month), the dividing line for use of amortized cost accounting under SEC regulations. The next bucket, 61-90 days, holds 9.6% of taxable securities, while 15.8% matures in 91-180 days, and just 2.2% matures beyond 181 days.

Sep 08
 

The September issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Tuesday morning, features the articles: "Vanguard Retreats from Prime; Going Govie Again," which reviews the most recent exit from the Prime space; "Major Issues Highlight of Crane's Mini Fund Symposium," which quotes from our latest webinar; and, "Federated Joins Social MMF Movement; Update on ESG," which discusses recent developments in the "Impact" MMF space. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with August 31 statistics, and sent our MFI XLS spreadsheet Tuesday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our September Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Thursday, September 10, and our September Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Tuesday, September 15.

MFI's "Retreat from Prime" article says, "The news that Vanguard is converting its $125.3 billion Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund into a Government MMF continues to send shock waves through the money markets. Following Northern and Fidelity's retreats from the Prime Institutional space, this marks the third major exit from Prime since the coronavirus chaos hit in March and the first Prime Retail conversion since Money Fund Reforms went into effect in 2016."

It continues, "The press release, 'Vanguard Announces Changes to Money Market Fund Lineup,' tells us, 'Vanguard today announced the following changes to its taxable money market fund lineup: Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund will be reorganized into a government money market fund and renamed Vanguard Cash Reserves Federal Money Market Fund Vanguard.... Treasury Money Market Fund has reopened to new investors."

Our latest "Profile" reads, "We recently hosted our fourth webinar and first true virtual event, 'Crane's Money Fund Webinar: Mini Fund Symposium,' a 3-hour series of sessions including segments on 'The State of the Money Fund Industry,' 'Strategists Speak: Treasury, Fed & Repo;' 'Regulatory & ESG Money Funds Update;' and, 'Major Money Fund Issues 2020.' We quote from this last session, which featured BNY Mellon/Dreyfus' Tracy Hopkins, Goldman Sachs Asset Management's Andrew Lontai and J.P. Morgan Asset Management's John Tobin. Thanks again to our Mini Fund Symposium attendees, speakers and sponsors! (The full recording is available here and materials are available via our 'Webinar Download Center.')"

When asked about ESG vs. Social MMFs, Hopkins comments, "What we did, we call it an 'Impact' fund. It's really a subset of the ESG sector as a whole. When we took a look at ESG [in] the money fund space, I think it's a different kind of way of looking at things. Obviously, in the short duration product the vast majority of what we do is really heavily concentrated in the financial sector and the government sector. Instead of converting a Prime fund to an ESG specific mandate, we converted one of our Government funds, Dreyfus Government Securities Cash Management Fund."

She continues, "Where we changed the strategy a little bit is to direct the aggregate value of our buys themselves to minority owned brokerage firms. Being part of Bank of New York Mellon and Dreyfus, our firm does put a lot of emphasis on diversity and inclusion, and it's always been an important part of our organization. So, we felt that this was a good way to go.... Given the fact that so many assets from our large customers ... are really in that Government and Treasury space, we thought there was some value add there."

The "Update on ESG" article tells readers, "The Board of Federated Hermes Government Obligations Tax-Managed Fund recently voted to convert it into a 'Social' or 'Impact' money market fund, we learned from ignites.com and from a Prospectus Supplement filing.' The ignites article, '$7.5B Federated Hermes Fund Adds Diversity Target for Trading,' explains, 'The $7.5 billion Federated Hermes Government Obligations Tax-Managed Fund will 'generally seek' to direct trades to women-, minority- and veteran-owned broker-dealers starting on Oct. 1.... The change applies to all three of the fund's share classes."

The piece continues, "This fund becomes the third 'social' money fund, joining Goldman Sachs and Dreyfus in offering funds that attempt to drive trading business through minority brokerages; it also joins a number of ESG money market funds focused on environmental investment screens."

The latest MFI also includes the News brief, "The Wall Street Journal Writes, 'Money Funds Waive Charges to Keep Yields From Falling Below Zero." It tells us, "Fidelity Investments, Federated Hermes Inc. and J.P. Morgan Asset Management are ... ceding some fees to stave off negative yields. The moves are the latest sign of how a roughly $5 trillion piece of the financial system is bracing for new pressure."

A second News piece titled, "MMF Yields Near Record Lows," says, "Money market fund yields continue to bottom out just above zero; our flagship Crane 100 was down 4 basis points in August to a near-record low of 0.​04%. (The record low was set in 2014 at 0.02%.)"

Our September MFI XLS, with August 31 data, shows total assets decreased by $42.3 billion in August to $4.924 trillion, after decreasing $44.2 billion in July and $113.0 billion in June, but increasing $31.6 billion in May, $417.9 billion in April and $688.1 billion in March. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield fell 2 bps to 0.03% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was down 4 bps to 0.04%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA was down one bp to 0.24% while the Crane 100 fell 3 bps to 0.23%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.21% (unchanged from last month) and 0.19% (down 2 bps and 1 basis point from the previous month), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 39 (down 1 day) and 42 days (down a day) respectively. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)