While bonds are generally known for their stability, 2022 marked a deviance from the norm. The question for advisors is, how should they approach 2023? Mariam Kamshad, head of portfolio strategy for Goldman Sachs personal financial management, and Guido Petrelli, CEO, and founder of Merlin Investor spoke to SmartAsset to provide some guidance. First advisors should expect a return to the norm. Kamshad said 2022 was an unusually bad environment for bonds with the Federal Reserve raising rates to a 15-year high. She believes that's unlikely to repeat and expects both yields and capital gains returns to stabilize. Second, advisors should pay attention to inflation and government bonds. Kamshad believes that inflation is still the biggest issue in the economy and expects it to continue slowing in 2023, which would likely slow interest rates. Her team considers duration risk a better bet than credit risk. Kamshad's team also recommends investors consider government bonds. The team expects intermediate Treasurys to outperform cash. They also expect municipal bonds to pick back up. Petrelli recommends following the unemployment rate and the quit rate as they are “good metrics for the strength of the economy overall and a window into where bonds are headed.” He believes a potential recession is one of the biggest questions facing the bond market. In a recession, Petrelli expects investors to favor short-term bonds.
Finsum:According to two portfolio analysts, advisors should expect a return to the norm for bonds, but they should also keep an eye on inflation, government bonds, and the jobs report.
Oil stocks were some of the best investments last year as the energy sector gained 64.56%. Oil stocks could once again have another good year if oil prices rise as investors and firms expect them to. According to the latest Bloomberg MLIV Pulse survey, both professional and retail investors see higher oil prices over the next six months, with retail traders, in particular, even more bullish than professional investors. Investors are not alone in predicting a rise in oil prices. The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas recently surveyed 152 energy firms in Texas, Louisiana, and New Mexico. Based on the results of the survey, the industry is expecting marginally higher oil prices in 2023. When asked what they believe the price of WTI would be at the end of the year, the average answer was $84 per barrel. The spot price for WTI was $73.67 at the time of the survey. The are several reasons for companies and investors to be bullish on oil this year. Oil prices could rise on optimism that China reopens its economy after implementing severe COVID restrictions. In addition, both OPEC and the International Energy Agency (IEA) see the global oil market tightening in the second half of the year. With the supply of global oil below the demand, prices should rise.
Finsum:Both investors and energy firms expect the price of oil to rise based on China's reopening and OPEC and IEA’s view that the global oil market is tightening.
Based on the results of a Broadridge survey fielded between September 29th to October 10th, advisors with a marketing strategy brought on an average of 41 new clients, compared to 17 new clients for advisors without a strategy. The survey queried 401 advisors overseeing at least $10 million in client assets. The survey also revealed an increase in marketing, as advisors spent an average of $743 in marketing for each new client and added 23 new clients on average over the past 12 months. Those figures are both up from last year when the average advisor spent $719 per client and gained 21 new customers. Kevin Darlington, general manager, and head of Broadridge Advisor Solutions had this to say about the results, “Having a defined marketing strategy, that is the single biggest differentiator [for] how the advisors that are reaching their growth goals [are] doing it. They're much more confident in reaching their goals, they're acquiring clients, and they're just getting much better ROI on their marketing.” The survey underscores the benefits of a well-executed marketing strategy. Gordon Abel, chief marketing officer of Dynasty Financial Partners, told Financial Advisor IQ, that “Advisors also need to remember that a marketing plan requires careful thought and patience.” He added, “Building awareness means familiarizing potential clients with the advisor's brand and name. They need to understand who you are and what you do.”
Finsum:A recent study revealed that advisors who have a well-executed marketing strategy get 2.4 times more new clients than advisors who don’t.
Amid volatility that wreaked havoc on the market last year, hedge funds lost almost $125 billion worth of assets from performance losses, according to Hedge Fund Research (HFR) data. Investors also pulled their money from hedge funds last year, leading to a net outflow of $55 billion, the largest capital flight from hedge funds since 2016. This is a sharp reversal from 2021 when hedge funds saw $15 billion in net inflows. Volatility in the markets was triggered by high inflation, interest rate hikes, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Investors pulled $40.4 billion out of hedge funds that buy and sell stocks, a strategy that posted the worst performance for the year, losing $112.5 billion. Even macro funds that saw strong performance last year dealt with outflows. Institutional investors pulled $15 billion from these funds, according to HFR. In fact, the only hedge fund strategy that did see an increase in money was event-driven mergers and acquisition and credit funds that saw $4.3 billion in inflows. It was a tough year for performance overall for the hedge fund industry, as the HFRI 500 Fund Weighted Composite Index fell 4.2%. The index tracks many of the largest global hedge funds, marking the worst performance since 2018.
Finsum:The hedge fund industry lost $125 billion last year amid market volatility triggered by high inflation, interest rate hikes, and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
According to Vanguard, investors that allocated part of their portfolios to low-yielding municipal bonds at the beginning of last year should now be looking forward to the prospect of higher income, thanks to a rapid rise in rates. In a fixed-income report for the first quarter, the fund firm wrote, “Following a year with $119 billion of outflows from municipal funds and ETFs, we expect the tide to turn. For high-income taxable investors, we are expecting a municipal bond renaissance.” According to the report, muni bonds only offered yields of around 1% at the start of 2022, compared to yields that now exceed 3% before adjusting for tax benefits. Tax-equivalent yields are at 6% or even “meaningfully higher for residents in high-tax states who invest in corresponding state funds.” Vanguard said that this makes munis a “great value compared with other fixed income sectors and potentially even equities—especially with the odds of a recession increasing.” According to the Vanguard report, muni bonds also remain strong from a credit perspective, with attractive spreads over comparable U.S. Treasurys and corporate debt. In fact, municipal balance sheets are stronger now than they’ve been in two decades, leaving states well-prepared to navigate an economic slowdown.
Finsum:According to Vanguard, higher yields and solid balance sheets make muni bonds a highly attractive option for investors this year.