Post-Lehman, money market risks remain

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Lehman Brothers became the face of the financial crisis when it collapsed on Sept. 15, 2008, but the underlying ugliness was the near-implosion of the multitrillion-dollar money market industry.

On Sept. 16, the Reserve Primary Fund suffered the ultimate peril for its line of business—the "breaking of the buck," or the violation of the underlying premise that a dollar put in a money market was safe from harm, whatever the turbulence of the global financial waters.

A day later, Putnam Funds said it was shuttering its $15 billion institutional Putnam Prime Money Market fund, sending chills that a run on the banks would be next.

That run never happened, as regulators expanded insurance on bank deposits and the panic abated.

But a lingering question from the crisis' darkest days is whether such an event could happen again and trigger far more widespread panic than it did during those dark days.