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MME Readers Still in the FRC Sales Data Loop

We were rather startled when we read as a sidenote in a story on money market mutual fund flows in The Wall Street Journal the other day that Financial Research Corp., the go-to source for industry- and firm-wide sales data, would no longer be publishing its figures.

Bending into industry pressure due to poor figures, the story said, FRC would now be withholding the information. (See "FRC Drops Closely Watched Sales Figures; Bad News Bears - Fund Firms Tired of Reading About Steep Sales Declines," MME 5/15/08).

That led to some debate here in the newsroom as to whether the industry was somehow overreacting to current market conditions in light of the subprime crisis, which, by the way, appears to be abating and has had nowhere the same impact on net flows as the trading scandal and the stock and bond markets themselves.

We also wondered why our longtime partner FRC would be making a business decision without first informing us.

Turns out, we are wrong on both counts. Readers will still be able to find the key sales and market share data on the industry's leading companies in the back of the pages of Money Management Executive from FRC, the industry's foremost sales figures guardian. MME readers will still be able to turn to us for this valuable information, one of the most popular features in our pages for more than a decade.

What is so fascinating about the data is how precipitously market share drops from the top three firms, American Funds ($1.076 trillion in long-term, open-end fund assets), Vanguard Group ($1.033 trillion) and Fidelity ($838.11 billion).

Those three giants command 13.2%, 12.8% and 11.1%, respectively, of the $7.809 trillion that FRC tracks in this category.

From there, at No. 4, market share is a mere 3.4% for Barclays Global Investors, which itself has a commanding $306.41 billion in assets.

A fraction of a change is in and of itself big news.

Stay tuned.

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