NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Since the financial crisis, investors have been fleeing money-market funds. Assets in the funds total $2.6 trillion, down from $3.8 trillion in 2008, according to the Investment Company Institute. Puny interest rates have caused the exodus. According to Crane Data, the average money market yields 0.05%.Some of the money has flowed to intermediate-term exchange-traded funds. A favorite choice is iShares iBoxx $ Investment Grade Corporate (LQD), which has recorded $7 billion in inflows this year, according to IndexUniverse.com. The iShares fund yields 3.8%, but it comes with certain risks.
To outpace money markets, the PIMCO fund holds some securities with longer maturities. While money-market portfolios must have average maturities of 60 days, the ETF has some securities with maturities of more than five years. An actively managed portfolio, the PIMCO fund can seek to outdo its benchmark by shifting duration. Recently portfolio manager Jerome Schneider has kept his duration longer than the benchmark figure. PIMCO says the Federal Reserve will continue keeping rates low, reducing the danger that rates might spike. With rates staying muted, the PIMCO strategy has worked lately. During the past year, the fund returned 2.36%, outdoing the average ultrashort bond fund by a percentage point, according to Morningstar. Schneider has freedom to range widely, sometimes looking offshore to buy securities from emerging markets and throughout the developed world. The fund has 3% of assets in the emerging markets and 6% in the U.K. So far shareholders have faced only limited volatility. The ETF began trading in late 2009 with an initial share price of $100.00. In 2010, the price dipped to $99.96 and then began an upward trend. The shares recently traded at $101.49.