The US Treasury’s Secret $2.4 Trillion Secret


Who got bailed out?

Mutual fund companies such as BlackRock, BNY Mellon, T. Rowe Price, Dreyfus, and Legg Mason took advantage of federal assistance, plus large banks that provide money market funds to customers, including JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo.

How much were taxpayers compensated for the bailout?

Despite the enormous size of the guarantees, the Treasury collected only $1.2 billion in fees from the participating funds. By Wilson’s calculation, most participating funds paid just 0.04 percent, or 4 basis points, for a year’s worth of insurance.

Treasury’s Secretive $2.4 Trillion Mutual Fund Guarantee

By John Carney

Details about a secretive government program to bail out money-market mutual funds are finally coming to light.

Acting without any explicit Congressional authority, the U.S. Treasury guaranteed in excess of $2.4 trillion of money market funds after the giant Reserve Primary Fund “broke the buck” following the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. The program, which ended on Sept. 18, 2009, seems to have successfully prevented a panicked run by money-market fund investors.

But until now, the Treasury has kept the identities of the funds that received government backing and the amounts guaranteed secret. It was not clear how many funds obtained backing or for how much taxpayers were on the hook during the program’s duration.

Linus Wilson, an assistant professor of finance at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, recently obtained data about the program from the Treasury, through a Freedom of Information Act request.

The data from the Treasury show that taxpayers were backing in excess of $2.4 trillion through the mutual fund program. Hundreds of funds participated in the program, amounting to almost 99 percent of the total money-market mutual fund assets.

Categories: ECONOMY

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