On Wednesday, the Reserve Fund group's giant Primary Fund—owned by Bruce Bent, the man who invented the business—got stuck with $785 million in worthless commercial paper from the failed investment bank Lehman Brothers. The fund "broke the buck," meaning that each dollar dropped in value to 97 cents. Redemptions were frozen for seven days, but not before $27.3 billion—more than 40 percent of Primary's assets—flew out the door, according to Peter Crane, publisher of Money Fund Intelligence. The Primary Fund didn't return calls.
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