Monday, Jan. 05, 2009

Money Market Fund Insurance

Grade: A

The Plan: After a well-known fund lost money in mid-September, assets in money-market funds dropped by $400 billion in two weeks. Money funds help provide loans for the day-to-day operations of large companies. So with investors fleeing these funds, many companies would have had to pay more for short-term loans or not gotten them at all. The government agreed to insure the $3.5 trillion that investors had in money funds in mid-September against losses.

The Result: The move quickly reversed the run on money funds. What's more, it hasn't cost the government a penny. In fact, it has actually made money for the government. Nearly every money-market-fund provider signed up for the insurance, which has generated some $750 million in premiums paid to the government since the program started. "It could be seen as the most successful government program to date," says Peter Crane, who tracks the money-market industry.