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MFI Custom Reports News

Jan 08
 

The January issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Friday morning, features the articles: "Highlights of '20: March Madness, Asset Surge, Rate Crash," which reviews one of the craziest years in money funds' 50-year history; "ICD Portal's Tory Hazard Keeps Focus on Clients, Tech," which profiles the leader of the largest independent MMF "portal"; and, "Top Money Funds of 2020; 12th Annual MFI Awards," which reviews the No. 1‐ranked funds based on 1‐year, 5‐year and 10‐year returns. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with December 31 statistics, and send out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Friday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our January Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Tuesday, January 12, and our January Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Friday, January 15.

MFI's lead article says, "Money fund assets jumped by 20% in 2020, the second year in a row, as yields plunged and businesses scrambled for cash in response to the coronavirus lockdown. Prime MMFs came under pressure and frozen money markets triggered Fed and Treasury assistance, while Government MMFs jumped by an eye-popping $1.1 trillion. Fee waivers and talk of further regulatory change became major topics, and trends toward social and ESG MMFs, and technology, continued from the prior year. Below, we take a look at the highlights of 2020, and also provide a brief outlook for 2021."

It continues, "Crane Data's numbers showed assets rose by $775.4 billion, or 19.6%, to end just over $4.7 trillion ($4.733T) in 2020. ICI's narrower asset collection settled at $4.297 trillion, up by $665 billion, or 18.3%.... After inching lower in 2019, yields plunged to zero in 2020. Our Crane 100 MF Index fell from 1.46% to 0.02%, while our broader Crane Money Fund Average fell from 1.32% to 0.02%.... Yields are expected to be flat in the New Year, though they could inch higher late in '21 if expectations for rising rates in 2022 or 2023 grow."

Our latest "Profile" piece reads, "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."

MFI says, "Give us a little history. Hazard explains, "ICD has been solely focused on the treasury marketplace from day one. As an agnostic provider of money market funds and short-term investments for institutional investors, we bring institutional investors together with hundreds of investment products. ICD was founded by three money market fund sales executives over 17 years ago, in 2003. Prior to forming ICD, the founders were working for big banks and were relegated to offering only their respective banks’ funds, using primitive technology. They recognized the opportunity to create an independent marketplace of investment products that could be accessed through an investment portal. Their vision was to provide clients with the best products and services in the industry, and that remains our mission today."

Hazard continues, "I joined the company in 2009 and served as CFO, COO and President before becoming CEO in 2017. Coming in, my key focus was to continue scaling the business while extending the value of the firm's service and technology. We were the first portal company with operations in Europe. We were the first portal company to release a robust exposure analytics application. We led the portal industry in integrating treasury technologies, and we introduced the industry's first multi counterparty secure automated settlement solution. We'll be announcing more industry innovations in 2021. Today, we serve over 400 companies across 65 industries in 43 countries around the world."

The "12th Annual MFI Awards" article tells readers, "This issue recognizes 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."

The rankings begin, "The Top-Performing Prime Institutional fund (and fund overall) was BlackRock Cash Inst MMF SL (BRC01), which returned 0.94%, but Western Asset Prem Inst Liquid Res Capital (WAAXX) was first if restricted funds are excluded with a return of 0.69%. For Prime Retail funds, Wells Fargo MMF Prm (WMPXX) had the best return in 2020 (0.68%)."

The latest MFI also includes the News piece, "Assets Up Big in '20, But Flat in Dec.," which says, "Crane Data's MFI shows money fund assets down just $6.3 billion in December, but up by a huge $775.4 billion, or 19.6%, in 2020. ICI's weekly data series shows money fund assets up $665 billion, or 18.3%, in 2020, with Inst MMFs up $510 billion (22.5%) and Retail MMFs up $156 billion (11.4%). The gains in '20 almost match those of 2019, and are the biggest in dollar terms since 2008."

A second news brief entitled, "Northern Drops Other Prime Shoe, Exits Muni Too," explains, "Northern Funds, which exited the Prime Institutional money fund space earlier this year, filed to exit the Prime Retail and Municipal segments as well. The 11th largest money fund manager ($168.3 billion) holds 99.7% in Government assets. See the press release, 'Northern Trust Asset Management Announces Changes to Money Market Mutual Fund Suite.' Wells Fargo Funds also filed to merge its two Prime portfolios into one."

A third news brief, "Invesco Files for Cavu Securities Class" explains, "Invesco's Form N1-A registration for its Short-Term Investment Trust (STIT) says it will launch new 'CAVU Securities Classes' for Invesco Liquid Assets Portfolio, Invesco Treasury Portfolio and Invesco Government & Agency Portfolio. The filing says, 'This prospectus is to be used only by clients of CAVU Securities, LLC (CAVU). CAVU is a veteran and minority owned firm.'"

Our January MFI XLS, with December 31 data, shows total assets fell by $6.3 billion in December to $4.733 trillion, after decreasing $11.7 billion in November, $46.8 billion in October, $121.2 billion in September, $42.3 billion in August, $44.2 billion in July and $113.0 billion in June. Assets increased $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 was unchanged at 0.02%, our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) also sits at 0.02%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA was down a basis point at 0.16% while the Crane 100 was down 2 basis points, also at 0.16%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.14% for both the Crane MFA and Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses on Monday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 12/31.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 41 (unch.) and 46 days (up 2 days) respectively. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

Dec 28
 

With the coming of the New Year, Crane Data is ramping up preparations for its 2021 conference calendar. We'll be doing virtual events in January (Money Fund University on Jan. 21-22) and in March (Bond Fund Symposium, March 25-26). But we hope to return to live events by June. Crane's Money Fund Symposium, the largest gathering of money market fund managers and cash investors in the world, will take place June 23-25, 2021 at The Loews Philadelphia, in Philadelphia, Pa. The preliminary agenda is now available and registrations are now being taken. Money Fund Symposium attracts money fund managers, marketers and servicers, cash investors, money market securities dealers, issuers, and regulators. We review our preliminary agenda, as well as Crane Data's other 2021 conferences, below.

Our MF Symposium Agenda kicks off on Wednesday, June 23 with a keynote on "MMFs Adapting to Regulations, Tech & ESG" with Tom Callahan of BlackRock, Deborah Cunningham of Federated Investors and Peter Crane of Crane Data. The rest of the Day 1 Agenda includes: "Treasury Issuance & Repo Update," with Mark Cabana of BofA Securities, Dina Marchioni of Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Tom Katzenbach of the U.S. Treasury; a "Corporate Investor MF Discussion" with Tom Hunt of AFP; and, a "Major Money Fund Issues 2021" panel with moderator Ed Baldry of EPBComms, Tracy Hopkins of Dreyfus/BNY Mellon CIS, Rob Sabatino of UBS Asset Management, Jeff Weaver of Wells Fargo Asset Management. (The evening's reception is sponsored by Bank of America.)

Day 2 of Money Fund Symposium 2021 begins with "The State of the Money Fund Industry," which features Peter Crane, Michael Morin of Fidelity Investments and Peter Yi of Northern Trust Asset Management; followed by a "Senior Portfolio Manager Perspectives" panel, including Linda Klingman of Charles Schwab I.M. and Nafis Smith of Vanguard. Next up is "Government & Treasury Money Fund Issues," with Joseph Abate of Barclays as moderator, Adam Ackermann of J.P. Morgan Asset Management and Geoff Gibbs of DWS. The morning concludes with a "Muni & Tax Exempt Money Fund Update," featuring Colleen Meehan of Dreyfus, John Vetter of Fidelity and Sean Saroya of J.P. Morgan Securities.

The Afternoon of Day 2 (after a Dreyfus-sponsored lunch) features the segments: "Dealer's Choice: Supply, New Securities & CP" with moderator, Jeff Plotnik of U.S. Bancorp Asset Mgmt, Robe Crowe of Citi Global Markets, John Kodweis of J.P. Morgan and Stewart Cutler of Barclays; "Ratings Focus: Governance, Global & LGIPs" with Robert Callagy of Moody's Investors Service, Greg Fayvilevich of Fitch Ratings, and Michael Masih of S&P Global Ratings; "Ultra-Short, ETFs & Alt-Cash Update," with Alex Roever of JPM and Laurie Brignac of Invesco. The day's wrap-up presentation is "Brokerage Sweeps, Bank Deposits & Fin-Tech" involving Chris Melin of Ameriprise Financial and Kevin Bannerton of Total Bank Solutions. (The Day 2 reception is sponsored by Barclays.)

The third day of the Symposium features the sessions: "Strategists Speak '20: Fed & Rates, Repo & SOFR" with Priya Misra of TD Securities and Garret Sloan of Wells Fargo Securities; "European, ESG & ETF Issues," with Brenden Carroll of Dechert LLP and Jonathan Curry of HSBC Global A.M.; "FICC Repo & Agency Roundtable" with Kyle Lynch of FHLBanks Office of Finance. Peter Crane wraps up the conference with the session "Money Fund Statistics & Disclosures.

Visit the MF Symposium website at www.moneyfundsymposium.com) for more details. Registration is $750, and discounted hotel reservations are available. We hope you'll join us in Philadelphia this June! We'll of course be watching the coronavirus and vaccine rollout, and will adjust plans if travel bans are still in place come late spring. Note that some of our speakers have yet to confirm their participation, and the agenda is still in the process of being finalized, so watch for tweaks in coming weeks. E-mail us at info@cranedata.com to request the full brochure.)

We're also making final preparations for Crane's Money Fund University, which will be held online, January 21-22, 2021. Our Money Fund University (Online) will cover the history of money funds, interest rates, regulations (Rule 2a-7), ratings, rankings, money market instruments such as commercial paper, CDs and repo, and portfolio construction and credit analysis. We also include segments on offshore money funds and ultra-short bond funds.

Money Fund University's comprehensive program is good for both beginners and experienced professionals looking for a refresher. The latest agenda is available online and we are still accepting registrations ($250). (We're also willing to "comp" tickets for large Crane Data or sponsor clients, so let us know if you're interested.)

We're also getting ready for our next Crane's Bond Fund Symposium (Online), which will be held March 25-26. (Click here to see the agenda.) Bond Fund Symposium is the only conference devoted entirely to bond mutual funds, bringing together bond fund managers, marketers, and professionals with fixed-income issuers, investors and service providers. The majority of the content is aimed at the growing ultra-short and conservative ultra-short bond fund marketplace.

Crane Data, which recently celebrated the sixth anniversary of its Bond Fund Intelligence publication and BFI XLS bond fund information service and benchmarks, continues to expand its fixed income fund offerings with the recent launch of Bond Fund Wisdom product and Bond Fund Portfolio Holdings dataset. Bond Fund Symposium offers attendees a concentrated and affordable educational experience, as well as an excellent networking venue. Registration for Bond Fund Symposium is $250. Our mission is to deliver the best possible conference content at an affordable price to bond fund professionals and investors.

Finally, we've also set the dates and location for our next European Money Fund Symposium. It is scheduled for Oct. 21-22, 2021, in Paris, France. Let us know if you'd like more details on any of our events, and we hope to see you virtually in Q1, and live in Philadelphia and Paris later in 2021. Happy New Year!

Dec 21
 

As a reminder, we'll be hosting our annual "basic training" event, Crane's Money Fund University, on Jan. 21-22, 2021. This year's MFU will be online only (and $250 to attend), and will include two afternoons of live segments, as well as a number of pre-recorded sessions and access to recordings and binder materials. Money Fund University offers an affordable and comprehensive 2-day training on money market mutual funds. MFU covers the history of money funds, interest rates, regulations (Rule 2a-7), ratings, rankings, money market instruments such as commercial paper, CDs and repo, and portfolio construction and credit analysis. We also include segments on offshore money funds and ultra-short bond funds. New portfolio managers, analysts, investors, issuers, service providers, and anyone interested in expanding their knowledge of "cash" investing will benefit from our comprehensive program. Even experienced professionals should enjoy this refresher course and the opportunity to interact with peers in an informal setting. Attendee registration is $250 and sponsorship opportunities are $1K, $2K, $3K and $5K. (Note: Thanks to those who attended our recent Money Fund Wisdom Demo & Training. If you missed it, you can catch the replay here.) Mark your calendars too for our upcoming Bond Fund Symposium, which will also be Online only and $250, March 25-26, 2021. Finally, given the arrival of a coronavirus vaccine, we also hope and plan to return to live in-person events by this summer! Our big show, Money Fund Symposium, is scheduled for June 23-25, 2021 in Philadelphia, and our European Money Fund Symposium is scheduled for October 21-22, 2021 in Paris, France. Please let us know if you'd like to see the PDF agendas for these events, or if you'd like to find out more information on sponsorships or "comp" attendance tickets. Thanks for your support and patience in 2020, Happy Holidays, and we hope to see you at one of our virtual or live events in 2021!

Dec 07
 

The December issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Monday morning, features the articles: "FSB, IOSCO, OFR Comment on March Money Market Turmoil," which follows recent discussions on future money fund regulations; "IMMFA's Iommi Says MMFs Resilient at European MFS," which highlights a talk from IMMFA's Secretary General; and, "Dreyfus Consolidates MMFs, Sticks With Prime; Impact," which covers Dreyfus's recent changes to its product lineup. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with November 30 statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Monday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our December Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Wednesday, December 9, and our December Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Monday, December 14.

MFI's lead article says, "Over the past month, the discussion over possible future money market fund regulations continued in the U.S. but also spread overseas, with the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO), and the U.S. Treasury's Office of Financial Research (OFR) all weighing in. We also heard comments from the Boston Fed and others on possible changes. We review the latest thoughts below."

It continues, "The Financial Stability Board, 'an international body that monitors and makes recommendations about the global financial system,' published a ‘Holistic Review of the March Market Turmoil.' The report tells us, 'The breadth and dynamics of the economic shock and related liquidity stress in March were unprecedented. As in previous cases, the shock caused a fundamental repricing of risk and a heightened demand for safe assets. However, the stress also led to large and persistent imbalances in the demand for, and supply of, liquidity needed to support intermediation. On the demand side, non-financial corporates attempted to tap capital markets; demand for US dollar liquidity increased from foreign borrowers; non-government money market funds (MMFs) experienced significant outflows; and some open-ended funds also experienced redemptions. On the supply side, reductions in risk appetite, regulatory constraints and operational challenges may have reduced dealers’ capacity to intermediate ... in some core funding markets.'"

Our latest "Profile" piece reads, "Crane Data’s recent European Money Fund Symposium Online, which featured a series of discussions on European and 'offshore' money market mutual funds, included a 'Major Issues in European MMFs' segment with Veronica Iommi of the Institutional Money Market Funds Association. She gave a 'brief 2020 update on money market funds in Europe’ from IMMFA's perspective, with a 'focus on the impact of the covid-19 pandemic [and] our role as a voice to the industry.' We quote from her remarks below."

Iommi says, "IMMFA funds specifically are triple-A rated and primarily low volatility funds known as LVNAV.... As we've heard from the previous speakers, the money market funds universe in Europe consists of the variable, VNAV, part and the constant net asset value, or essentially the LVNAV part. The VNAV industry is ... predominantly French funds, but also includes funds in places such as Switzerland.... The other large share consists of IMMFA money market funds ... 95% of these ... are low volatility LVNAV funds with some public debt CNAV funds. Both types ... have constant net asset value as opposed to the variable net asset value. With regard to IMMFA money market funds, US Dollar funds are the largest, followed by Sterling and Euro. But what you will see is that both VNAV and LVNAV sectors have grown steadily over recent years."

Her slides show "Total assets under management reaching over E828 billion, having peaked in July at E890 billion," and the investor base for money market funds. She states, "Perhaps unsurprisingly, the UK accounts for a very high percentage of IMMFA funds’ distribution, 44%.... Sterling market money market funds ... account for around one third of IMMFA funds. A third of a third is sold into the rest of Europe. And here we break out just the larger areas of distribution, which include 12% sold into Benelux and 4% into Ireland.... Approximately 25% of funds are sold outside the EU."

The "Dreyfus Consolidates" article tells readers, "BNY Mellon's Dreyfus money fund complex announced a series of changes to its product lineup, but most notably indicated that it's sticking with Prime funds in its offerings. A press release entitled, Dreyfus Cash Investment Strategies to Optimize Money Market Fund Range' tells us, 'Dreyfus Cash Investment Strategies (Dreyfus CIS), a BNY Mellon Investment Management firm with $254bn in assets under management, ... announced that it will be optimizing its suite of money market funds to meet the evolving needs of cash investors. The enhancements to Dreyfus CIS' money market fund range over the next several months will result in: A streamlined product offering of 19 funds across three fund families to provide investment choice across all major money market asset classes; A uniform pricing structure within each fund family to improve client navigation, as well as reduced management fees in four retail funds and one institutional fund; and, Broader investor eligibility through lower investment minimums in many fund share classes.'"

It quotes, "Stephanie Pierce, CEO of ETF, Index, and Cash Investment Strategies at BNY Mellon Investment Management, comments, 'For nearly 50 years, as markets and client needs have changed, Dreyfus CIS has met the cash management needs and preferences of investors.... As part of BNY Mellon, Dreyfus CIS offers clients deep investment expertise, resilient infrastructure, and a record of strong financial stewardship across the entire cash spectrum. Streamlining our money market fund range is part of our ongoing commitment to providing clients with the professional money management and competitive market returns they expect from us.'"

The latest MFI also includes the News piece, "MF Yields Tie Record Lows of 2013," which says, "Money fund yields hit record lows last month. Our flagship Crane 100 declined by 0.01% to 0.02% in Nov., tying the all-time lows of 2013."

A second news brief entitled, "SEC Statistics: Assets, Yields Lower," writes, "The Securities & Exchange Commission's latest 'Money Market Fund Statistics' summary shows that total money fund assets dropped by $73.6 billion in October to $4.789 trillion, the fifth decrease in a row. The SEC shows that Prime MMFs fell by $30.7 billion in October to $962.0 billion, Govt & Treasury funds dropped by $41.4 billion to $3.706 trillion and Tax Exempt funds decreased $1.5 billion to $119.6 billion. Yields inched lower again in October."

A third news brief, "SEC Publishes MMF & CP Primer" explains, "The SEC also published, 'Primer: Money Market Funds and the Commercial Paper Market,' last month, which reviews commercial paper, money market funds and the events of March 2020. Authored by Viktoria Baklanova, Isaac Kuznits and Trevor Tatum, the paper explains, 'Commercial paper (CP) is unsecured, short-term debt issued for a specified amount to be paid at a specified date. CPs are issued at a discount, with minimum denominations of $100,000 and terms normally ranging from 1 to 270 days. Total U.S. CP outstanding was at $1,007 billion at the end of June 2020, down by $37 billion since the end of 2019 .... This is around one half of $2.2 trillion, the all-time high in CP outstanding reached in July 2007.'"

Our December MFI XLS, with November 30 data, shows total assets fell by $11.7 billion in November to $4.723 trillion, after decreasing $46.8 billion in October, $121.2 billion in September, $42.3 billion in August, $44.2 billion in July and $113.0 billion in June. Assets increased $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 is at 0.02%, our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) also sits at 0.02%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA was unchanged at 0.17% while the Crane 100 was 0.18%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.15% for both the Crane MFA and Crane 100. (We'll revise expenses on Monday once we upload the SEC's Form N-MFP data for 11/30.) The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 41 (unch.) and 44 days (down a day) respectively. (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)