Displaying items by tag: active management

BlackRock has created two actively managed ETFs: the BlackRock Long-Term U.S. Equity ETF (BELT) and the BlackRock High Yield ETF (BRHY), focusing on ‘high-conviction’ stocks and below-investment-grade bonds, respectively. 


This introduction responds to the growing investor interest in active ETFs, which seek to outperform market benchmarks. Managed by the same professionals who handle similar mutual funds at BlackRock, these ETFs add to the firm's expanding lineup of active products.


Despite their higher fees compared to passive index funds, active ETFs like these are gaining traction among investors willing to pay more for potential market-beating returns. BlackRock's active ETF assets in the U.S. have now reached $25 billion, highlighting a significant trend in the asset management industry.

Finsum: Its critical to consider timing when picking between active and passive ETFs and the potential sources of volatility. 

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 09 May 2024 13:06

This Is THE Active Bond Moment

In the past few years, the bond market has experienced increased turbulence as the U.S. Federal Reserve embarked on an unprecedented tightening cycle, successfully driving down inflation from 9.1% in June 2022 to 3.4% by the close of 2023. Despite the Fed's efforts to maintain stability since July 2023, fixed-income markets remain volatile, particularly in the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield. Throughout 2023, bond yields underwent significant fluctuations, reflecting market instability despite ending the year close to where it began.


Looking forward, uncertainties persist regarding economic growth and interest-rate policies, emphasizing the need for active management within fixed income. Prioritizing high-quality investments remains crucial amid mixed economic indicators and narrowing high-yield spreads, suggesting a prudent approach to portfolio diversification. 


Furthermore, strategies involving duration positioning and sector rotation offer opportunities for active managers to capitalize on shifting market dynamics, highlighting the importance of adaptability and responsiveness in navigating bond markets.

Finsum: Fund managers can lean into historical analysis and precedent in volatility and factor selection could lead to more robust returns for active management.

Published in Bonds: Total Market

Last year, assets in passive mutual funds and ETFs overtook assets in active mutual funds and ETFs. This is remarkable considering that passive funds accounted for 31% of total assets in 2015. The trend has been gaining steam since 2008 due to the strong performance of market-cap, weighted indices, and a greater preference for lower fees. 

In 2023, only 47% of active managers outperformed their passive benchmarks. Over the last decade, only 12% of active managers have survived and outperformed their benchmarks. Due to this, it’s not surprising to see that passive strategies are being adopted in separately managed and unified accounts. Currently, it accounts for 32% of assets in these accounts and is forecast to grow at a 12% rate over the next 4 years, faster than growth in ETFs and mutual funds. 

Direct indexing is a customizable, passive investing strategy. It’s designed to track a benchmark but allows for customization for tax purposes or to align investments with a client’s values. According to research, direct indexing can add between 85 and 110 basis points to a portfolio’s after-tax returns. 

Direct indexing also allows advisors to offer clients more personalization while retaining the benefits of passive investing. Already, asset managers and custodians are responding by offering direct indexing solutions at scale to advisors. 


Finsum: Passive strategies have overtaken actively managed strategies in terms of their share of assets. Direct indexing is one factor, as it is a way for advisors to retain the benefits of investing in an index with greater customization and tax efficiency

Published in Wealth Management

State Street is bullish on fixed income. It believes that institutions should take advantage of attractive yields and that macro conditions are improving, albeit in an uneven fashion. Investors can achieve their diversification, return, and income goals without compromising on credit quality.

Many pensions have been able to close or shrink their funding gaps due to higher yields from Treasuries and investment-grade corporate debt. At current valuations, bonds are able to more effectively function as a hedge against weaker economic growth and serve as an effective hedge against equities. 

State Street sees the economy in a sideways period for rates and inflation. Therefore, it recommends that investors get long duration and see a more favorable environment eventually emerging for borrowers. It forecasts that inflation and Fed rates will end the year lower, providing a tailwind for fixed income.

In terms of active vs. passive strategies for fixed income, State Street takes a nuanced approach. It believes that in certain sectors, capable active managers have proven to add value. But this alpha has been shown to erode over time.

State Street has built a systematic approach towards fixed income which uses a rules-based approach. It weighs factors like value, sentiment, and momentum. It sees considerable benefits to increased electronic trading for fixed income, which has resulted in more data and liquidity. 

Finsum: State Street is bullish on fixed income due to attractive yields and an improving macro environment. In terms of active vs. passive fixed income, it takes a nuanced view.  

Published in Bonds: Total Market

Stringer Asset Management shared some thoughts on fixed income, monetary policy, and the economy. The firm notes that while inflation has remained stubbornly above the Fed’s desired levels, it will move closer to the Fed’s target over time. One factor is that the M2 money supply is starting to decline, which is a leading indicator of inflation. Another is that fiscal stimulus effects are finally waning.

Thus, Stringer still sees rate cuts later this year, although it’s difficult to predict the timing and number of cuts, creating a challenging environment for bond investors. During this period of uncertainty, it favors active strategies to help reduce risk and capitalize on inefficiencies. Active managers are also better equipped to navigate a more dynamic environment full of risks, such as the upcoming election and a tenuous geopolitical situation.

Stringer recommends that investors diversify their holdings across the yield curve and credit risk factors. It favors a balance of riskier credit with Treasuries. This is because the firm expects the bond market to remain static until the Fed actually cuts. It’s also relatively optimistic for the economy given that household balance sheets are in good shape, corporate earnings remain strong, and the unemployment rate remains low. These conditions are conducive to a favorable environment for high-yield debt. 

Finsum: Stringer Asset Management believes that fixed income investors should pursue an active approach given various uncertainties around the economy, inflation, and monetary policy in addition to geopolitical risks.

Published in Bonds: Total Market
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