Displaying items by tag: risk

Friday, 12 April 2024 04:58

BMO Bullish on Structured Outcome ETFs

The ETF market continues to grow and mature by providing new funds for investors to reach their financial goals. BMO Global Asset Management sees more growth in the coming year, driven by more targeted funds that appeal to more sophisticated investors.

It sees the ETF market continuing to evolve and innovate in order to meet the growing demand for more sophisticated products in an ETF wrapper. It sees ETFs becoming the primary way for investors to get exposure to themes, trends, and investment opportunities. Further, there is intense competition among issuers to continue bringing new products onto the market, especially given first-mover advantages.

BMO is particularly bullish on structured outcome ETFs, which were created to help investors manage risk. It believes that investors in equity funds and short-term bond funds are exposed to volatility given the outperformance of megacap, technology stocks over the past year and uncertainty around the Fed’s rate cuts.

Structured outcome ETFs are one way that clients can remain invested while capping downside risk. Among these, buffer ETFs, which use options that protect against downside risk and cap upside potential, are becoming increasingly popular among advisors and investors. Notably, this type of protection was at one time only available to high net worth investors.

Finsum: BMO Asset Management conducted an overview of the ETF industry. It notes the constant innovation in the space, with the latest growth area being structured outcome ETFs, which are particularly useful in terms of reducing portfolio risk.   


Published in Alternatives

Many investors may be looking to diversify their portfolios given recent gains in equities. While there are many options, leveraged index annuities can reduce portfolio risk while still offering some growth potential.  

Leveraged index annuities are typically bought upfront with a single payment. The interest earned on these products is not taxable until it is withdrawn, which also makes them an effective vehicle for saving.  

These annuities are leveraged to a major market index like the S&P 500. Interest is earned when the underlying index appreciates; however, there is no loss of principal in the event that the index suffers losses. 

The tradeoff is that interest earned on the annuity is capped depending on the terms of the annuity agreement. For instance, the maximum earnable rate of interest could be set at 12%. This means that in a year like 2023, when the S&P 500 was up 24%, the annuity owner’s earned interest would be capped at 12%. On the other hand, the annuity owner would have seen no loss of principal when the S&P 500 was down 19% in the previous year.  

This combination makes leveraged index annuities ideal for investors who want to diversify and de-risk their portfolios while still growing their wealth.

Finsum: Leveraged index annuities are a way for investors to reduce risk and increase diversification while still allowing for appreciation. 

Published in Alternatives
Thursday, 28 March 2024 06:21

Blackrock: Bitcoin A Good Portfolio Diversifier

Robert Mitchnick, Blackrock’s digital asset lead, believes that bitcoin is more like ‘digital gold’ rather than a ‘risk-on’ asset, despite its strong correlation to equities in recent years. Throughout bitcoin’s existence, there has been a constant debate about its true nature. Some argue that bitcoin is like gold given that there is a fixed supply, which means that it should provide protection against inflation. 

While this may be true in theory, in reality, bitcoin has largely moved in the same direction as equities, which undermines the argument that it offers diversification. In 2022, bitcoin tumbled as the world dealt with the highest levels of inflation in decades. Notably, equities were also down 25% in 2022. In the following year, as equity markets made new highs, bitcoin also followed and made new highs as well. 

Despite this relationship, Mitchnik believes that historically, bitcoin has demonstrated very little correlation to stocks. He attributes the recent rally to excitement around the launch of bitcoin ETFs in the US. In terms of allocation, he recommends between 1 and 3% for investors to provide diversification and differentiated returns. The argument about bitcoin’s nature is germane for investors who want to understand whether it will make their portfolio more risky or more diversified. 

Finsum: There are two camps when it comes to bitcoin. One sees bitcoin as an asset that is closely correlated to equities; while the other believes that bitcoin is more like gold and can help diversify portfolios.

Published in Alternatives
Thursday, 28 March 2024 06:18

Who Should Utilize Buffer ETFs

Investors grappling with market uncertainty are exploring ways to manage risk effectively while staying invested; utilizing buffer strategies, which employ options to provide targeted downside protection, offers a solution by mitigating losses during market downturns while limiting upside potential.


 Accessing buffer strategies through ETFs simplifies the process, avoiding the complexities of managing options directly or the expense of structured notes. Buffer ETFs, managed by experienced professionals and offering intraday liquidity at a low expense ratio, present an accessible option for investors. 


Designed for long-term strategic allocation, these ETFs can be utilized by investors looking to reduce equity drawdown risk, seeking moderate growth, or exploring outcome-oriented strategies within their portfolios, thereby providing a flexible approach to risk management in uncertain markets.

Finsum: Buffer strategies seem to make the most sense when there is overall upside but potential for volatility, similar to our current macro landscape.


Published in Bonds: Total Market
Wednesday, 20 March 2024 04:53

Private Credit Opportunities Expanding

Apollo Global Management Inc. has launched a new private credit fund, initially offering no fees for the first year and halving fees for the subsequent year, with investments coming from Mubadala Investment Co. and other institutional investors. 


Structured as a business development company, it diverges from the norm by providing fee breaks, unlike many similar vehicles catering to retail and high net worth investors. Contributions from Mubadala and Apollo's affiliate amount to over $290 million, while the fund's assets total over $790 million, predominantly acquired through leverage. 


Named Middle Market Apollo Institutional Private Lending, the fund is an extension of the collaboration between Apollo and Mubadala, established in 2020, focusing on investments in US middle market companies, with a target allocation of 70% to 80% in loans. The fund's filing also stipulates a provision where Apollo would redistribute cash from sales or loan repayments to investors if it fails to double its investment commitments to $900 million within five years.

Finsum: Private credit could provide an uncorrelated return as macro uncertainty permeates markets.

Published in Bonds: Total Market
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