Apr 3, 2020 - Economy & Business

Professional investors keep piling into money market funds amid coronavirus upheaval

Data: Investment Company Institute; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios
Data: Investment Company Institute; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The divergence between professional money managers and retail investors continued this week, as the pros again flocked to cash at a record pace.

What happened: Data from the Investment Company Institute shows institutional asset managers moved $163 billion into money market funds in the week ending April 1, the second-largest move to cash ever recorded, dating back to January 2007.

  • Retail investors, on the other hand, went to cash at a much lower rate, allocating just $13 billion to money market funds, which barely registered among the 50 largest weekly inflows.

Why it matters: The contrast suggests sophisticated investors remain extremely cautious about the outlook for investment and are still seeking the ultimate safe haven, while retail investors are less bearish.

Flashback: Last week, data showed that investment pros were retreating from risky assets while so-called mom and pop investors bought the dip.

The big picture: A record $4.4 trillion is now held in money market funds. That's nearly $500 billion more than the peak level seen during the 2007–2009 global financial crisis.

Go deeper: Money market funds see largest inflows in history for second straight week

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