The market turbulence has claimed another victim: the net asset value of The Reserve's Primary Fund, a money market fund, dipped to 97 cents on Tuesday, making it just the second time ever that a money market fund "broke the buck" by falling below $1 in net asset value.
The problem arose after the fund's $785 million exposure to Lehman Brothers' debt securities was valued at zero as of close of market yesterday. The Reserve, a New York City-based provider of money market offerings, halted all redemptions from the Primary Fund for up to seven days, effective yesterday. The company made exceptions for debit card transactions or checks written against assets in the Primary Fund that don't exceed $10,000 in total.
According to Crane Data, a money market research company in Westboro, Mass., the Primary Fund was hit by $62.6 billion in redemptions on Monday and Tuesday. Institutional investors comprise the bulk of the fund's assets, but the fund also includes some retail assets.
According to Crane, a total of 21 money funds had taken action to protect shareholders, but the privately-held Reserve was unable to arrange credit supports in time to prevent a run on the Primary Fund.
Peter Crane, president of Crane Data, believes problems with The Reserve will be an anomaly.
The first money market fund to break the buck happened in 1994 with the liquidation of the Community Bankers U.?S. Government Money Market Fund at $?0.?96 a share.