Parameters for the Research and Analysis Report
Short-term investment returns: money market instruments
Part of your responsibilities as a junior financial analyst is researching and identifying potential shortterm liquid investment options for your firm. These investment vehicles are at times used by the firm during periods when their cash inflows exceed projections. The firm, at times, uses excess cash to purchase short-term debt instruments providing a low, but safe marginal return on invested capital.
Your Director, who reports to the firm’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) has come to you seeking your recommendation on short-term investment options for the upcoming year. The Director has asked for recommendations and a report illustrating your optimal analysis for investing $2.5m of excess cash.
Current background info: We have a potential impending compound money market problem: The U.S. is issuing more debt, in part due to the recent tax cuts. Simultaneously, the Fed, China, Japan and to a lesser degree Russia have been reducing their holdings of U.S. Debt. Therefore, if the U.S. Treasury Department can’t get entities to their positions holding U.S. debt, then the pressure to increase interest rates to make newly issued securities attractive increases. Increased interest rates at the Treasury means securities prices fall with cascading impacts.
Therefore, the current interest rate environment is one where rates are expected to increase.
Parameters for the research and analysis report are as follows:
1. Investments selections are primarily short term (one year or less), but will consider U.S. Treasury Bills of shorter duration as well as TIPS.
2. A minimum of 3 short term debt money market security types are to be recommended. They may include Federal money market bills, U.S. Savings Bonds, CDs, U.S. Treasury Notes, Treasury Bills, and TIPS.
a. Note: money market investments of the range of two to five years are acceptable.
b. However, no more than 40% of the portfolio can be invested in a security of with duration of greater than 12 months.
3. A recommendation on the optimal allocation of $2.5 m across the investment portfolio is required.
4. Current (as of the date of this assignment) rates and investments are to be used.
The analysis report to be presented to the Director is to include:
1. Your concise statement and recommendation of the specific short-term investment options that meets the firm’s criteria.
2. A detailed summary of the investment asset and the parameters you will use in which to base your recommendation.
3. A detailed description of the upside and downside risk of each investment. The latter is of particular importance as the firm may decide to manage excess cash in one or more vehicles for longer than one year.
4. Source identifier for all investment selections
a. Example: website URL
5. A spreadsheet (embedded into the report) illustrating the following:
a. Asset category/classification
b. Specific money market instrument identifier
i. Example: U.S. Treasury CUSIP
6. EAR for each investment
7. YTM for each investment
a. If held to maturity
b. If sold at the end of 12 months
8. Total return for investment portfolio if held to maturity
9. Spreadsheet model is to include all cell-base