Maris Research

Rethinking Cash Holdings to Avoid Near‑Zero Yields

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Since the disruptions that roiled financial markets in March 2020, investors have turned more to cash and other short-term instruments typically associated with risk aversion and preservation of capital and liquidity. Yet such investments can come with their own sets of risks. Recent bouts of volatility in U.S. prime (credit) money market funds have heightened the focus on unexpected liquidity issues in seemingly “safe” investments, as well as on the pitfalls of taking credit risk for minimal additional compensation. When considering cash allocations today, investors should be mindful of how near-zero short-term interest rates coupled with traditional liquidity-management strategies may hinder attempts to preserve the purchasing power of capital while posing potential hidden opportunity costs.

Cash yields likely to stay near zero

Efforts to combat the economic effects of the pandemic have contributed to historically low short-term yields for money market instruments, elevated levels of savings and bank deposits, as well as increased demand for cash-like investments. The U.S. Federal Reserve last year cut its policy rate near 0% and could keep it there well into 2023, we believe, anchoring front-end rates and suppressing yields on Treasury bills and money market funds. A temporary relaxation of bank capital regulations ended

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