Displaying items by tag: rates
Banking Crisis Roiling Agency Mortgage Bond Market
Concerns over the banking sector are currently making things rough in the $8 trillion agency mortgage bond market. Agency mortgage bonds are widely held by banks, bond funds, and insurers as they are backed by mortgage loans from government-controlled lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They are far less likely to default than most debt. They are also easy to buy and sell quickly, which is why they were Silicon Valley Bank’s biggest investment before its troubles. However, agency mortgage bonds are vulnerable to rising interest rates like all long-term bonds. This pushed their prices down last year and also saddled banks such as Silicon Valley Bank. In fact, the risk premium on a widely followed Bloomberg index of agency MBS hit its highest level since October last week, as climbing interest rates led to volatile global markets. According to bond fund managers, this certainly reflected fears that other regional banks might have to sell their holdings. When benchmark interest rates rise, bonds that were sold at times of lower rates lose value. For instance, prices of low-coupon agency mortgage bonds started dropping about a year ago, when the Fed raised interest rates to tame inflation and also indicated that it might start selling the mortgage bonds that it owned.
Finsum:With faltering banks such as Silicon Valley Bank holding large amounts of agency mortgage bonds, the turmoil in the banking industry is roiling the $8 trillion agency mortgage bond market.
Rising Rates Pushing Sales of Deferred Annuities Higher
While rising interest rates might make things difficult for life insurance company risk managers, they were great for individual fixed annuity sales in the fourth quarter of 2022. According to new issuer survey data from Wink, overall sales of all types of deferred contracts increased 30% between the fourth quarter of 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2022, to $79 billion. Sales of three types of products classified as fixed, traditional fixed annuities, non-variable indexed annuities, and multi-year guaranteed annuity (MYGA) contracts — climbed 102%, to $58 billion. Sheryl Moore, Wink’s CEO, told ThinkAdvisor that MYGA contracts in particular benefited both from increases in crediting rates and consumers’ fear of market volatility. She noted, “Eighteen percent of insurance companies offering MYGAs experienced at least triple-digit sales increases over the prior quarter.” In fact, MYGA contracts jumped 217% to $36 billion, non-variable indexed annuities rose 28% to $22 billion, and traditional fixed annuities increased 18% to $575 million. Wink based the latest annuity sales figures on data from 18 index-linked variable annuity issuers, 48 variable annuity issuers, 51 traditional fixed annuity issuers, and 85 multi-year guaranteed annuity (MYGA) issuers.
Finsum:According to new issuer survey data from Wink, rising interest rates helped sales of all types of deferred contracts rise 30% year over year in the fourth quarter of 2022, to $79 billion.
Practice – management -- makes perfect
As Yogi Berra likely would say: if it wasn’t a challenge, what kind of challenge would it be?
And if he didn’t say it, one too many fastballs must have ricocheted off his glove and against his noggin.
Point is, what with escalating interest rates, an unpredictable economy and relentless inflation starring you in the kisser, it takes work to manage and grow your financial management business, according to forbes.com.
Well, do abet your efforts, to prepare for the first quarter of the new year, 16 members of Forbes Finance Council dispense advice for business leaders.
A few tips:
- Focus on liquidity
- When calculating the cost base, make space for contingencies
- Build up Your forecast by customer
- Consider your insurance model
- When it comes to resiliency planning, pay attention
Business plans, marketing strategies, operational processes and business technology aside, your company’s financial side calls for considerable effort, according to ceoworld.com. Not only that, your company’s longevity and expansion seemingly leans on a solid system of financial management.
You can incorporate quality financial management practices without a hitch in a few ways, including by leveraging the most effective financial software and tools; regularly managing your accounting records and creating seamless billing processes. What’s more, you can establish financial goals that are clear and monitor business performance.
Investors Expecting More Market Volatility
Investors are bracing for more market volatility as traders buy up hedges at the fastest clip since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Cboe data, call options betting that the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX) will rise are the highest on an average day in February than at any time since March 2020. After not much movement for months, the VIX, which is also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, rose above 23 last week, its highest level since the first few trading days of the year. Readings below 20 usually signify complacency, while readings above 30 signal investors are looking for protection. The increased demand is due to two reasons. First, when stocks rebounded at the start of the year, investors jumped back into the market, restoring a need to hedge their portfolios. In addition, recent economic data increased the likelihood that the Fed will be forced to continue raising interest rates to slow inflation, stalling the stock rally. The S&P 500 saw three consecutive weeks of declines, which was capped by a hotter-than-expected reading on the personal consumption expenditures price index, the Fed’s preferred gauge of inflation. The CME Group Volatility Index, which tracks volatility in the Treasury market, also recently reached its highest levels in more than a month.
Finsum:Investors are bracing for more volatility in the market as call options betting that the VIX will rise are at their highest mark since the start of the COVID pandemic.
Pension Funds Eyeing $1 Trillion of Bond-Buying
After struggling under deficits for two decades, pension funds are now flooded with cash due to soaring interest rates. The surplus at corporate defined-benefit plans means managers can now reallocate to bonds, which are less volatile than stocks. This is called “derisking” in the industry. Mike Schumacher, head of macro strategy at Wells Fargo, said the following in an interview, “The pensions are in good shape. They can now essentially immunize — take out the equities, move into bonds, and try to have assets match liabilities.” That explains some of the rallying of the bond market over the last three or four weeks.” Last year’s stock and bond market losses actually helped some benefit plans, whose future costs are a function of interest rates. When rates rise, their liabilities shrink and their funded status improves. For instance, the largest 100 US corporate pension plans now have an average funding ratio of about 110%. According to the Milliman 100 Pension Funding index, that’s the highest level in more than two decades and great news for fund managers who had to deal with low-interest rates and were forced to chase returns in the equity market. Now managers can unwind that imbalance with most banks expecting them to use the extra cash on buying bonds and selling stocks to buy more bonds.
Finsum: Due to stock and bond losses and rising rates, pension fund managers now have a surplus of funds that they plan on allocating to bonds.