With a strong recovery in fixed income over the past couple of months, fixed income fund managers are looking to generate inflows from the nearly $6 trillion that is sitting in money market funds. Some portions will certainly move into fixed income especially if interest rates start to move lower, and investors look to move further out on the curve to take advantage of still attractive yields.
Due to this, active fixed income funds delivered their biggest monthly returns in decades, leading to a surge of inflows. Recent economic data and chatter from FOMC officials have also been supportive of the asset class.
The challenge for managers is the explosion in active fixed income funds over the last few years, leading to price wars for market share and consolidation. Many are from the largest asset managers like Vanguard, State Street, and Blackrock, which have very low costs. Funds that aren’t able to sufficiently attract inflows over this period will only face more difficulties in the future in remaining viable.
According to Rich Kushel, the head of Blackrock’s portfolio management group, “We are in a winner-takes-a-lot moment. If you’re truly adding real alpha, there will always be a place for you in this industry. For the folks who haven’t, you might as well buy [the benchmark].”
Finsum: There is nearly $6 trillion on the sidelines. Some of this will move into fixed income especially if rates start dropping. There will be intense competition among active funds to be a recipient of these inflows.