In the great equity sell-off blitz of 2008 and into 2009, the phrase “Cash Is King” was certainly uttered more than a few times in institutional and advisory conversations, but it is a phrase that vanished as quickly as that long forgotten equity bear market.
Cash, or more appropriately “Money Market” ETFs have notably grown in familiarity however since that 2009 period, with the largest name in the segment MINT (PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity, Expense Ratio 0.35%, 0.69% Yield) holding north of $3.8 billion now in assets under management (November of 2009).
MINT is not alone in prominence, as SHV (iShares Barclays Short Treasury Bond, Expense Ratio 0.15%) which debuted in 2007 having fallen behind MINT a bit, still has $2.07 billion in AUM. Year to date, MINT has seen some assets trickle out, losing >$92 million while SHV has seen more than $735 million leave the fund during the same time period.
We also tend to watch BIL (SPDR Barclays Capital 1-3 Month T-Bill, Expense Ratio 0.13%) which like SHV offers no yield currently which is interesting in its own right, but the fund has substantial assets under management (>$947 million). GSY (Guggenheim Enhanced Short Duration, Expense Ratio 0.28%, 1.00 % Yield) has a good following as well, with more than $722 million in assets currently and this including the aforementioned funds trade from 105,000 shares (GSY) to 414,000 shares on the high end (BIL) on an average daily basis.
PVI (PowerShares VRDO Tax Free Weekly Portfolio, Expense Ratio 0.25%) is a lesser known fund in the space, with about $123 million in AUM, and State Street also lists a product in the VRDO space that is even smaller, VRD (SPDR S&P VRDO Municipal Bond, Expense Ratio 0.20%) which has about $5.9 million in AUM.
ULST (SPDR SSGA Ultra Short Term Bond, Expense Ratio 0.20%) is also classified within the “Money Market” space, and is a relatively newer launch, coming to market in October of last year. This fund has not hit many radars yet having attracted only about $16 million in AUM to date and averaging about 6,600 shares traded daily.