Due to credit rating agencies’ concerns over its exposure to subprime holdings in three of its money market funds, Legg Mason invested $100 million in one of them in October and procured $238 million in credit to support two others this month, Bloomberg reports, citing filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The investments fulfilled the rating agencies concerns and left the funds rated AAA/Aaa, said Legg Mason spokeswoman Mary Athredge.
In the filing, the firm said, “The investments have not affected the $1 per share net asset value of the funds, and Legg Mason does not expect that they will, although no guarantees are given. [Some] of the asset-backed commercial paper held by the liquidity funds that Legg Mason’s subsidiary manages have recently been placed on credit watch or downgraded by ratings agencies.”
Of the $167 billion that Legg manages in money market funds, 6% is in structured investment vehicles.
“It’s a no-brainer. You either prop up your fund with $100 million to solve the problem or watch your multibillion-dollar franchise go down the drain,” commented Peter Crane, principal of Crane Data and publisher of the Money Fund Intelligence Newsletter.