There are two extremely difficult factors in the bond market currently the Fed is stepping on the pedal as quickly as ever and inflation is taking off to 40-year highs. Both of these put upward pressure on rates which move inversely with bond prices. However, some funds may prove more resilient or even move upward when rates rise. Rate hedge bond funds give investors an option exactly described, but they do come at a cost. One example is LQDH which is an interest hedged corporate fund, which has drastically outperformed its direct compliment, the unhedged LQD. However, these funds are for the extremely risk-averse investors.
Finsum: Rates may be stalling as noted by the recent 10-year dip which is a sign that bond prices might be undervalued currently.
The commodities super cycle is closing or at least halting as many prices such as oil, wheat, and copper have begun to fall. This could be in line with the Fed’s objectives as they have interred the most aggressive tightening in over two decades, but it could be a recession ‘red flag’ similar to the inverted yield curve we have been seeing. Construction and consumption slowing would affect commodities prices, especially those like copper with wide uses, these price declines could be signs of severe contractions in the economic growth. Experts believe this could make a soft landing even less likely if commodities have softened already, however, there is still some bullishness that oil could turn around yet again with Russia and Ukraine still in conflict.
Finsum: If commodities slow, but we continue to get excellent jobs reports like the most recent June report it looks more like the soft landing than a slipping recession.
Recent market volatility has many investors swept up like Dorthy in the Wizard of Oz with no place to turn to, but Direct Indexing could be the ruby red slippers to take you home or at least mitigate some losses. Direct indexing is where investors own the underlying asset of an index, with a core advantage of being able to add/drop individual equities from their holdings. In these highly volatile times when the stock market and particularly subsectors like tech/crypto have taken a beating, investors can drop stocks because of taste or taxes. Rather than being stuck with the whole distribution of gains or losses you can leverage the failure of an asset by selling it off and for tax-loss harvesting. This generates additional alpha that a mutual fund can’t match, and while ETFs are fairly tax-efficient direct indexing is even more so.
Finsum: A small antidote to the volatility could be realizing some losses for those stocks that might not rebound right away.
Model portfolios are becoming widely adopted in the financial services industry. Part of what is driving that adoption is the increasing fintech that supports the industry. For example, Parmenion 30% of which is owned by AssetCo, has been able to advance and grow its abilities under the partial acquisition. They have rapidly expanded their offerings in a way they felt bottled previously. They have poured resources and interest into advised models as part of their platform. The company has made it clear that models will be a growing part of their business moving forward. Their experience and track record will be the primary advantages as new competitors enter the industry.
Finsum: Weather its ESG, models, or custom indexing leveraging fintech platforms has reaped huge gains for traditional financial firms the last couple of years.
Fixed income ETF inflows have faltered over the last year, and new survey data could explain exactly why that has happened. According to the Global ETF Survey in 2022, nearly a third had absolutely no bond ETF exposure. Maybe you would expect investors to hold underlying bonds, but even still this is almost a 10% increase from the prior year's survey. Those surveyed cited a number of reasons as to why the demand has weakened considerably. Primarily it was the macro factors like inflation and rising interest rates which has made investing considerably more risky. However, well over a third of the investors polled said that it was the limited range of options that were available, and almost half said it was two difficult to discern strategy differences.
Finsum: Maybe fixed income needs to simplify the framework if they want to draw in more investors.
Anyone paying attention has seen financial firms, with the acquisition of fintech companies, race to offer direct indexing options at an increasingly low minimum because of technological innovations. Fidelity has lowered the bar once again by announcing that a $1 per stock investment could be the price of the ticket to one of the most coveted asset classes in Wallstreet. Traditionally, DI was exclusive to the ultra-wealthy because it wasn’t feasible to deliver at low minimums, but with the aid of a monthly fee Fidelity Solo FidFolios will be providing opportunities to many more investors. Their model portfolio selection will be core to the construction and offerings to investors as 13 base models will be available. These range from REITs and fintech all the way to AI and robotics.
Finsum: Could this be a world-beating financial marriage between models and direct indexing that paves the path toward accelerated growth?