When the Reserve Primary money fund broke the buck in 2008 following Lehman's collapse, it was a watershed, signaling that treasurers should look more closely at the holdings of their money funds. "Normally, we'd do a monthly review of our well-diversified money market holdings with our CFO," says Matthew Post, treasury manager at Qualcomm, the San Diego-based wireless chip manufacturer, which did not invest in the Reserve Primary fund. But with markets imploding, Post says, "It became almost a daily request: 'What are our exposures? What should we be worried about?'"
To answer those questions, Post and his colleagues began the very manual process of gathering data from Qualcomm's money fund providers regarding their holdings. It wasn't easy. Managers of funds were often reluctant to furnish the data needed to determine Qualcomm's exposures.