Money is still running out of money market funds, despite a Treasury announcement that it would back the instruments.
Research firm iMoneyNet reports that investors yanked a net $40.8 billion from prime funds though Thursday. Government money market funds took in a net $82.9 billion.
The run on funds began when the Reserve Funds Primary Fund “broke the buck” in mid-September. This week it liquidated completely, offering remaining shareholders between 30 percent and 40 percent of what was supposed to be safe money.
"Money market investors have never seen anything like this," Peter Crane, president of Crane Data LLC told InvestmentNews.com. "It was a near-death experience."
Primary Fund got caught up in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. It held $785 million in Lehman debt at the time. The fund fell to 97 cents per share and investors rushed to get out, forcing it to close.
A few days later, Putnam Funds voted its $12.3 billion Prime Money Market. Its managers said the problem wasn’t short-term debt but a simple run by scared investors that forced its hand. The company later joined the federal program.
Ten major money managers immediately signed on to the new Treasury program, reports The New York Times, including Charles Schwab, Federated, Morgan Stanley, Putnam Investments, BlackRock, and JPMorgan Chase.
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