MFI Distribution Survey

MFI Distribution Survey Sample Wells Fargo Securities' Garret Sloan and Vanessa Hubbard write in their latest "Daily Short Stuff," "Last week we commented on the significant week-over-week jump in the SIFMA index.... This week there has been another dramatic increase as the index reset 31 basis points higher yesterday, beating last week's move as the largest weekly climb since the end of 2008. All of the reasons we gave last week for the recent rise are still relevant, most notably end of year supply and liquidity dynamics. In the month of December, the weekly SIFMA index has gained 71 basis points over four short weeks. To put this move into perspective, from January 2017 to the first week in December, the index has climbed just 32 basis points. This 32 basis point move over 49 weeks withstood three Fed fund rate hikes of 25 basis points each. Year-end liquidity constraints are exasperating the upward trajectory in the weekly SIFMA index." They add, "Similarly, but not as dramatic, commercial paper rates have risen quickly over the past few weeks as well mostly attributed to end of year liquidity dynamics. The 5-day moving average for 30 day Tier-1 nonfinancial CP according to Fed data has risen by about 27 basis points in the month of December and the index for Tier-1 financial CP has risen by 24 basis points. Tier-2 CP rates have climbed in aggregate an average of 35 basis points over this same timeframe. Supply has also increased over this period with commercial paper outstanding on a seasonally adjusted basis growing from $1.05 trillion at the beginning of December to $1.08 trillion last week."

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MFI Distribution Survey News

Nov 07
 

The November issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Thursday morning, features the articles: "Portal Wars: Fund Managers Add to Competition in Space," which reviews the latest in online money market portals; "J.P. Morgan A.M. Enters Portal Market w/Morgan Money," which discusses JPMAM's recent changes and initiatives; and, "Reversal of Fortunes: Yields Plunge in '19 After '18 Jump," which discusses the recent decline in yields. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with Oct. 31 statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Thursday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our November Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Tuesday, Nov. 12, and our Nov. Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Thursday, Nov. 14.

MFI's "Portal Wars" article says, "Online money market trading portals, which have quietly become the major distribution channel for Institutional money market funds, are seeing new entrants and major changes for the first time since the 'transparency' battles following the financial crisis. Last year, we saw BlackRock buy Cachematrix and Parthenon Capital invest in ICD Portal. But now we're seeing J.P. Morgan Asset Management enter the space (see our story at right) and Goldman and others branch out and become 'platforms' instead of 'portals'."

It continues, "On a recent podcast, Morgan Stanley Investment Management's Rick Wilkinson comments, 'Let's look at the portal landscape first. That was one of the first technologies that was introduced that really helped the corporate treasurer in their day to day activities. It allowed them to go to one spot to place all of their investments instead of having to go to each of the fund families independently.'"

Our J.P. Morgan A.M. piece reads, "J.P. Morgan Asset Management recently unveiled some major changes in the liquidity space, including launching its own 'portal' and going 'ESG' with its entire fund lineup. The company also released the latest results of its annual corporate investor survey."

A press release entitled, "J.P. Morgan Launches New Liquidity Management Platform, Morgan Money," tells us, "J.P. Morgan Asset Management ... announced the launch of Morgan Money, a new institutional investing platform to replace the firm's existing Global Cash Portal. The platform delivers a real-time dashboard to invest, a single access point for operations, and enhanced risk management controls."

Paula Stibbe, Global Head of Liquidity Sales, comments, "Morgan Money is designed to deliver a seamless customer experience, centered on operational efficiency, end-to-end system integration, and effective controls. The platform was designed for clients, by clients -- embedding their needs and priorities into its core capabilities and functionality."

Our "Yields Plunge" update says, "A year ago, we wrote the story 'Money Fund Yields Break 2.0%; Still Going Higher.' What a difference a year makes. The about-face in short-term yields is unprecedented. The average money fund yield, as measured by our Crane 100, hit 2.01% a year ago on 10/31/18, its first time above 2.0% in 11 years. Yields then peaked at 2.27% in March 2019, and they’re now 1.67% (10/31/19). Yields fell 14 bps in October, and we're still digesting the latest Fed move."

It adds, "Last week, the Federal Reserve Board cut interest rates for the third time in the past three months, lowering its Federal funds target rate range to 1.50-1.75 percent.... As the money markets digest the Fed's 3rd cut, yields on money market funds, bank deposits and brokerage sweeps continue to inch lower."

The latest MFI also includes the News brief, "Money Fund Assets Break $3.5 Tril." It tells us, "ICI's latest 'Money Market Fund Assets' report show totals broke above $3.5 trillion for the first time since September 2009 and have increased by $466.0 billion, or 15.3%, year-to-date. Over the past 52 weeks, ICI's money fund asset series has increased by $629 billion, or 21.8%, with Retail MMFs rising by $249 billion (22.8%) and Inst MMFs rising by $380 billion (21.2%)."

A second News piece, "Local Govts Lobby for Stable NAV," reads, "As we mentioned in our Oct. 3 Link of the Day, 'Stable NAV Bill Filed in House Again,' efforts are again underway to roll back the last round of money market fund reforms and to return the $1.00 NAV for all money funds. Bills have again been filed in the House and Senate, and the lobbying has begun."

Our November MFI XLS, with Oct. 31 data, shows total assets rose by $85.2 billion in October to $3.873 trillion, after rising $80.2 billion in September, $86.9 billion in August and $78.1 billion in July. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield fell to 1.53% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was down 14 basis points to 1.67%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA fell 14 basis points to 1.94% and the Crane 100 fell to 1.93%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.41% (unchanged) and 0.27% (unchanged), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 33 and 36 days, respectively (up two days for both the Crane MFA and Crane 100). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

Oct 07
 

The October issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Monday morning, features the articles: "Institutional Money Funds Now Driving Flows; Yields Sink," which reviews the surge in money fund assets starting back in April; "European MF Symposium in Ireland Focuses on Future," which excerpts from the Irish Funds and IMMFA EMFS Sessions; and, "Worldwide Assets Hit Record $6.2T: US Jumps, China Falls," which discusses asset growth in money fund markets outside the U.S. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with Sept. 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 September Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Wednesday, Oct. 9, and our Oct. Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Monday, Oct. 14.

MFI's "Inst Money Fund," article says, "We've been discussing the surge in money fund assets repeatedly since April, when assets began climbing following normal annual tax outflows. Assets continue to grow strongly, but the composition of the growth has shifted since earlier in the year. Whereas Retail flows were faster in 2018 and in early 2019, Institutional assets have now become the main engine for money fund asset growth."

It continues, "Crane Data's MFI totals show that assets overall rose by $80.2 billion in September to $3.786 trillion, after rising by $84.2 billion in August. Institutional MMFs increased by $51.5 billion, while Retail MMFs rose by $30.3 billion. Government & Treasury money funds are now also growing faster than Prime MMFs; they were up $36.4 billion and $28.9 billion, respectively, vs. Prime’s $16.4 billion increase last month."

Our European MFS summary reads, "Crane Data recently hosted its 7th annual European Money Fund Symposium in Dublin, Ireland, which was once again the largest gathering of money market professionals in Europe. We quote from some of our keynote presentations below. The first featured Patrick Rooney, Senior Regulatory Affairs Manager of Irish Funds, which represents funds domiciled in Ireland, while the second featured Institutional Money Market Funds Association Chair Kim Hochfeld and new IMMFA Secretary General Veronica Iommi."

It writes, "Rooney's speech, 'Money Market Funds in Ireland,' told attendees, 'Assets [of money funds domiciled in Ireland] are at E491 billion. There's been significant growth since 2014 and more modest growth more recently. We are fast approaching the E500 billion mark, so half a trillion in assets. It's a very significant MMF industry here, third in the world after the USA and China. Ireland has further cemented its position as the lead MMF domicile in Europe with Luxembourg next and France rounding out the top three locations."

He continued, "Retail is tiny.... We have new data from the Central Bank of Ireland which indicates that 57% of the assets ... are held by U.K. investors.... The next biggest segment is the U.S. and then Ireland. It's unusual for Ireland to feature so prominently in the investor base given the cross-border international nature of our investment funds. That is largely [due] to the presence of some very large U.S. multinationals here who are using the MMFs."

Our "Worldwide" update says, "The Investment Company Institute's 'Worldwide Regulated Open-Fund Assets and Flows, Second Quarter 2019' report shows that money fund assets globally rose by $32.5 billion, or 0.5%, in Q2'19, to a record $6.192 trillion. The increase was driven by big gains U.S.-based money funds, but money fund assets in China plummeted. MMF assets worldwide have increased by $230.2 billion, or 3.9%, the past 12 months, and money funds in the U.S. now represent 52.0% of worldwide assets."

It adds, "ICI's release says, 'Worldwide regulated open-end fund assets increased 2.9% to $51.43 trillion at the end of the second quarter of 2019, excluding funds of funds…. On a US dollar-denominated basis, equity fund assets increased by 2.9% to $22.72 trillion.... Bond fund assets increased by 4.4% to $11.10 trillion ... while money market fund assets increased by 0.5% globally to $6.19 trillion.'"

The latest MFI also includes the News Brief, "House Stable NAV Bill Filed Again." It tells us, "Wisconsin Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI-4) recently filed H.R.4492, the 'Consumer Financial Choice and Capital Markets Protection Act of 2019,' the latest bill in the House of Representatives that attempts to restore the $1.00 NAV for all money funds) <b:>`_."

A second MFI News Brief titled, "Blackstone Buying Promontory, reads, "We learned from the private-equity website PE Hub that, 'Blackstone Group is buying Promontory Interfinancial Network for $2.5 billion.' The piece explains, 'Launched in 2002, Promontory provides technology-based services to banks to help them retain large-dollar relationships. The ... fintech supplies balance sheet management as well as deposit allocation services to 3,000 financial institutions.' Promontory runs the CDARS (certificate of deposit account registry service) and IND (insured network deposits) programs. Promontory is one of the largest networks servicing the $1.5 trillion brokerage sweeps market."

Our August MFI XLS, with Sept. 30, 2019, data, shows total assets rose by $80.2 billion in September to $3.786 trillion, after rising $86.9 billion in August, $78.1 billion in July, $40.0 billion in June and $91.1 billion in May. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield fell to 1.67% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was down 13 basis points to 1.81%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA fell 12 basis points to 2.08% and the Crane 100 fell to 2.08%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.41% (unchanged) and 0.27% (unchanged), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 31 and 34 days, respectively (up one day for both the Crane MFA and Crane 100). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

Sep 09
 

The September issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Monday morning, features the articles: "Sweeps Get Messy: Fidelity vs. Schwab; Lawsuit," which reviews the recent attention around money funds vs. FDIC sweeps; "FIS SGN's Vogel & Borchardt on Portals, Tech and Reforms," which profiles the portal formerly named SunGard; and, "MFI Intl Shows Euro Assets Jumping Despite Negative," which discusses assets and issues in "offshore" or European money market mutual funds. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with August 31 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 September Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Wednesday, Sept. 11, and our Sept. Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Monday, Sept. 16.

MFI's "Sweep," article says, "August was a crazy busy month in the brokerage 'sweep' space. Brokerages were cutting rates in reaction to the Fed's July rate cut, then Fidelity decided to hike its rates and advertise one of the only remaining money fund sweep options available. An ad war, which we termed 'Cash of the Titans,' ensued between Fidelity and Charles Schwab. Then, finally, the month was capped off by a sweep lawsuit against Merrill Lynch."

It continues, "Following an incomprehensible press release from Fidelity saying new accounts would sweep to its money fund, the two brokerage giants traded full page ads in The Wall Street Journal and New York Times. (Fidelity points out a 1.80% rate on SPAXX vs. low sweep rates for Schwab, and Schwab touting its higher-yielding position money fund.) Fidelity has also been running TV commercials (on CNBC and on ABC's Evening News)."

Our FIS SGN profile reads, "This month, Money Fund Intelligence interviews FIS SGN's Vice President of Product Management Mike Vogel and FIS SGN's Short-Term Cash Management Product Manager Matt Borchardt. We discuss the online money market fund trading portal's history, their latest developments and overall market issues. Our Q&A follows."

MFI says, "Give us a little history." Vogel responds, "FIS is a leading provider of technology and solutions for merchants, banks and capital markets around the world. We focus on scale and an have extensive portfolio of solutions to help our clients connect and securely manage their operations. FIS continues to grow both organically and through acquisitions including SunGard in 2015 and our most recent acquisition, WorldPay, which closed in July 2019, bringing us to 55,000 employees in 48 countries."

Borchardt adds, "Our FIS SGN Short-Term Cash Management (STCM) Portal started with a SunGard acquisition in 2002 and we have been growing and expanding it ever since with a mission to serve treasury managers by adding efficiency in any way possible. Today, STCM provides access to 257 unique funds and other investments across 45 fund families processing over $4T in transactions each year."

Our "MFI Intl" update says, "Crane Data's latest MFI International shows assets in 'offshore' or European money market mutual funds rising sharply in the latest month through August 30. These U.S.-style funds, domiciled in Ireland or Luxemburg and denominated in US Dollars, Sterling and Euro, increased by $5.8 billion to $847.2 billion the past month, but they're up by $1.2 billion YTD."

It continues, "Offshore USD money funds rose $2.1 billion the past month and they're up $5.7 billion YTD. Euro funds jumped E10.4 billion to break into the black YTD, up E6.2 billion. GBP funds jumped by L11.6 billion during August, are they are up by L13.9B YTD. U.S. Dollar (USD) money funds (​175) account for over half ($459.6B, or 54.3%) of our 'European' money fund total, while Euro (EUR) money funds (78) total E105.2B (13.3%) -- their highest level since 2011 -- and Pound Sterling (GBP) funds (103) total L223.3 billion (32.1%)."

The latest MFI also includes the News Brief, "Assets Up $500 Billion Over 1Yr." It tells us, "Money fund assets have risen in 18 out of the past 20 weeks and past 14 months in a row. ICI's new 'Money Market Fund Assets' report shows that MMF totals have increased by $316 billion, or 10.4%, year-​to-​date. Over the past 52 weeks, ICI's series has increased by $500 billion, or 17.5%, with Retail MMFs rising $224 billion (21.3%) and Inst MMFs rising $276 billion (15.2%). Crane Data's broader series shows assets rising $86.9 billion to break $3.7 trillion ($3.709T) level in August."

Our August MFI XLS, with Aug. 31, 2019, data, shows total assets rose by $86.9 billion in June to $3.709 trillion, after rising $78.1 billion in July, $40.0 billion in June and $91.1 billion in May. Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield fell to 1.82% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was down 19 basis points to 1.93%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA fell 17 basis points to 2.23% and the Crane 100 fell to 2.20%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.41% (unchanged) and 0.27% (unchanged), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 30 and 33 days, respectively (up one day for the Crane MFA and two days for the Crane 100). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)

Aug 07
 

The August issue of our flagship Money Fund Intelligence newsletter, which was sent out to subscribers Wednesday morning, features the articles: "Money Fund Assets Surging in '19; No Signs of Slowdown," which reviews the recent strength in money market fund asset flows; "Northern's Peter Yi: Money Market Business Asymmetric," which profiles Northern Trust Asset management's Director of Short Duration Portfolio Management and Head of Taxable Credit Research; and, "Confusion Grows as 'ESG' Gets Hotter in Money Funds," which discusses the latest developments in the "green" money fund space. We've also updated our Money Fund Wisdom database with July 31 statistics, and sent out our MFI XLS spreadsheet Wednesday a.m. (MFI, MFI XLS and our Crane Index products are all available to subscribers via our Content center.) Our August Money Fund Portfolio Holdings are scheduled to ship on Friday, August 9, and our August Bond Fund Intelligence is scheduled to go out Wednesday, August 14.

MFI's "Money Fund Assets," article says, "Money market fund assets have been unusually strong in 2019, and the surge shows no signs of slowing. Quite the contrary. Assets jumped by $78.1 billion in July to a $3.622 trillion, according to Crane Data's latest totals. This is the highest level since March 2009 (Jan. 2009 was the record high) and follows gains of $42.3 billion in June, $81.2B in May and $113.3B in April. (April's numbers were inflated by the addition of the $108B American Funds Central Cash Fund.) Year-to-date, money fund assets have increased by $408.6 billion, or 12.7%, and over 12 months assets have jumped by $579.8 billion, or 19.1%."

It continues, "Year-to-date and over the past year, Prime money funds have led the gains, but Government & Treasury MMFs have grown faster over the past 3 months. Prime MMFs increased by $282.6 billion, or 38.8%, YTD, and they've grown by $327.7 billion, or 48.0%, over 12 months. Govt (& Treasury) funds have grown by $136.3 billion, or 5.8%, YTD and $247.2 billion, or 11.1%, over 1-year. The past 3 months, Prime MMFs have grown by $42.8B, or 4.4%, vs. $157.2B, or 6.8%, for Govt MMFs."

Our Northern profile reads, "This month, MFI speaks with Peter Yi, Northern Trust Asset Management's Director of Short Duration Portfolio Management and Head of Taxable Credit Research. We discuss Northern's history and presence in the cash sector, the latest challenges and issues facing money market funds and a number of other issues below. Our Q&A follows."

MFI says, "Give us some history." Yi responds, "Northern Trust Asset Management has a very rich history managing cash and other liquidity products. We've been managing money markets since the 1970s, when our trust department created its first cash sweep vehicle. We view cash management to be a core capability and a product that caters incredibly well to our institutional asset servicing business, as well as to our wealth management franchise. We're managing about $238 billion in AUM across our money market funds and other liquidity products. History tells us that experience and leadership are critical for the money market business. It's served us well in successfully navigating different credit and interest rate cycles."

He adds, "Personally, I've been at Northern Trust since 2000, and we've seen significant growth in our liquidity business since then. I oversee the teams that manage our 2a-7 money market mutual funds, our common and collective STIFs, our offshore global cash funds and our separately managed accounts, as well as our security lending reinvestment. I also recently took over as head of our taxable credit research team that covers strategies ranging from money market all the way to high yield across the yield curve."

Our "ESG" update says, "Over the past month, we saw several developments in the 'ESG,' 'green' and 'social' money fund space, including a WSJ article on a converted Goldman 'social' fund and the launch of the first 'offshore' ESG money funds. While interest grows in the sector, so do questions about what exactly should be considered ESG and whether there is any hope of standardization."

It continues, "It appears you don't need to be 'environmental' to be an 'ESG' fund, at least according to ​The Wall Street Journal. They write in 'Apple, JetBlue Buy Goldman ESG Cash Fund,' that, 'Apple Inc., JetBlue Airways Corp. and other U.S. corporations are parking cash in a new socially conscious offering managed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The $1.5 billion money-market fund helps corporate treasurers steer money to bond brokerages operated by minorities, women and veterans, reflecting a growing shift toward investing with environmental, social and governance, or ESG, principles."

The latest MFI also includes the News Brief, "Fed Cuts, Yields Inch Lower." It says, "The Federal Reserve cut short-​term interest rates for the first time since December 2008, lowering its Federal funds target range by 1/​4 point to 2.​00-​2.​25%. Money fund yields, which have been inching lower for 2 months in anticipation of the cut, have fallen by about 10 bps since."

Our July MFI XLS, with June 30, 2019, data, shows total assets rose by $78.1 billion in June to $3.622 trillion, after rising $40.0 billion in June, $91.1 billion in May and $105.7 billion in April (this included the addition of the $108 billion American Funds Central Cash Fund). Our broad Crane Money Fund Average 7-Day Yield fell to 1.98% during the month, while our Crane 100 Money Fund Index (the 100 largest taxable funds) was down 5 basis points to 2.13%.

On a Gross Yield Basis (7-Day) (before expenses are taken out), the Crane MFA fell 3 basis points to 2.40% and the Crane 100 fell to 2.40%. Charged Expenses averaged 0.42% (unchanged) and 0.27% (unchanged), respectively for the Crane MFA and Crane 100. The average WAM (weighted average maturity) for the Crane MFA and Crane 100 was 29 and 31 days, respectively (up one day for both). (See our Crane Index or craneindexes.xlsx history file for more on our averages.)