Liquidity in Money Market Funds

Welcome to

Please help us personalize your experience and select the one that best describes you.

Your personalized experience is almost ready.

Join other Individual Investors receiving FREE personalized market updates and research. Join other Institutional Investors receiving FREE personalized market updates and research. Join other Financial Advisors receiving FREE personalized market updates and research.

Thank you!

Check your email and confirm your subscription to complete your personalized experience.

Thank you for your submission

We hope you enjoy your experience


Find the latest content and information here about the 2019 Charles Schwab Impact Conference.


Receive email updates about fund flows, news, upcoming CE accredited webcasts from industry thought leaders and more.

Content focused on helping financial advisors build successful client relationships and grow their business.

Content geared towards helping financial advisors build better client portfolios.

Get insights on the industry trends and investment news from leading fund managers and experts.

Concept of liquidity

Money Market Funds

Liquidity in Money Market Funds

Sam Bourgi Nov 19, 2019

When it comes to mutual fund investing, very few concepts matter more than liquidity. This core concept impacts everything from the bid-offer spread to a fund’s ability to sell its holdings when the time comes.
For money market funds, liquidity refers to the extent to which a fund’s holdings can be sold for cash to meet near-term shareholder redemption requirements. Like other assets, money market funds want to be able to unload their holdings quickly and at stable prices, so liquidity measures how many buyers and sellers are present at any given time.

Funds that are highly liquid have a significant level of trading activity. That means there are plenty of buyers and sellers in the market. In this environment, converting holdings into cash is relatively easy. If there are only a few buyers and sellers, the market is said to have low liquidity. The process of buying and selling at stable prices becomes much more difficult.
The Reserve Primary Fund meltdown during the 2008 financial crisis offers a practical example of why liquidity matters. On September 16, 2018, the Reserve Primary Fund’s net asset value (NAV) fell below $1 – breaking the buck like only a few money market funds have done before. Fearing for the value of their holdings, investors quickly pulled their money out of the fund, leading to a substantial drop in assets over the next 24 hours. The Reserve Fund was unable to meet all redemption requests. It eventually suspended operations and liquidated.
Use the Mutual Funds Screener to find the funds that meet your investment criteria.

Liquid Assets

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) defines ‘liquid assets’ in Rule 2a-7, which outlines the categories of daily liquid assets and weekly liquid assets. Daily liquid assets include cash, direct obligations of the U.S. government, securities that are payable within one business day, and receivables scheduled to be paid in one business day. Weekly liquid assets include daily liquid assets, government agency discounted notes with maturities of 60 days or less, securities that will mature within five business days, and receivables scheduled to be paid within five business days.

Learn about the advantages and risks of money market funds.
Rule 2a-7 requires that each money market fund be sufficiently liquid to meet future redemption requests. This includes minimum requirements for the amount of daily and weekly liquid assets that a fund must hold, as well as rules for restoring liquidity when the minimum levels are breached.
Under the rule, money market funds are prohibited from investing more than 5% of their total assets in illiquid assets (i.e., those that cannot be sold in seven calendar days at reasonable value).
If a fund’s weekly liquid assets fall below 30%, the SEC rule permits the board of directors of a prime fund or municipal fund to either charge a liquidity fee of up to 2% on shareholder redemptions or impose a redemption gate for up to 10 days. The fee is lifted once the weekly liquid assets return to 30% or when the fund’s board determines that a liquidity fee is no longer required.
The SEC imposes such fees to ensure that investors have access to liquidity, but at a cost. If the fund is under duress, the board has the ability to pass on the cost of liquidity to those that use it rather than to shareholders who remain part of the fund.
Liquidity fees have an additional benefit: they limit shareholders’ propensity to flight during volatile periods. If a crisis hits, shareholders have more incentive to remain in the fund rather than pull their money out and incur the liquidity fee.
Be sure to check our News section to keep track of the recent fund performances.

The Bottom Line

The SEC has developed very specific guidelines around liquidity for money market funds. The fallout from the 2008 financial crisis highlights why these guidelines are important in the context of today’s investor.

Sign up for our free newsletter to get the latest news on mutual funds.

Sign up for Advisor Access

Receive email updates about best performers, news, CE accredited webcasts and more.

Popular Articles

Download Our Free Report

Why 30 trillion is invested in mutual funds book