July 2020 – Monthly Commentary

This month, as previously announced, Fidelity will close their Prime money market fund after the fund suffered during the illiquidity of the Corona virus-inspired volatility experienced in March of this year.  We speculated that the decision was a business one made out of the preponderance of risk to reputation had the company been forced to support the fund.  However, we viewed the action as a one-off decision, and not one that would impact the entire industry.  It turns out that the risk posed by Prime money market funds has been on the radar of the Federal Reserve for some time.  The Fed is concerned that the Prime mutual fund structure represents a shadow bank.  The term shadow bank refers to an unregulated structure that has similarities to a bank.  The Federal Reserve tightly regulates the banking system and if they deem the money markets as a shadow bank, they are de facto indicating that they can’t control it.