Displaying items by tag: fixed income

Wednesday, 12 June 2024 06:15

SMAs are the Vehicle To Capitalize on Rate Cycle

Locking in current rates can be beneficial before the Fed cuts interest rates. Holding bonds until maturity offers potential yield, though buying individual bonds can be complex so investors should prioritize vehicles like SMAs to achieve the goals with less complexity. 

 

Additionally, scalable solutions like individual bonds in SMAs or iBonds ETFs can be used to build bond ladders, providing steadier income. Amid high interest rates and an inverted yield curve, bonds may outperform cash, especially during a Fed pause. 

 

Advisors can enhance portfolios by adding longer maturity exposures. ETFs and SMAs help add income and stability to portfolios before the next rate cycle while simplifying the approach.


Finsum: There is something to locking in yields, but keep in mind bond prices will fall if the fed cuts rates but holding to term will be beneficial

Published in Wealth Management

The first five months of 2024 have featured above-average volatility for fixed income due to inflation continuing to run hot and increased uncertainty about the Fed’s next move. Despite these headwinds, institutional investors have been increasing their allocations to long-duration Treasuries and high-quality, corporate bonds.

One factor is that there is increasing confidence that inflation and the economy will cool in the second half of the year, following a string of soft data. As a result, allocators seem comfortable adding long-duration bonds to lock in yields at these levels. Many seem intent on front-running the rally in fixed income that would be triggered by the prospect of Fed dovishness. According to Gershon Distenfeld of AllianceBernstein, “History shows pretty consistently that yields rally hard starting three to four months before the Fed actually starts cutting.” 

For investors who believe in this thesis, Vanguard has three long-duration bond ETFs. The Vanguard Long-Term Bond ETF is composed of US government, investment-grade corporate, and investment-grade international bonds with maturities greater than 10 years. For those who prefer sticking solely to bonds, the Vanguard Long-Term Treasury ETF tracks the Bloomberg US Long Treasury Bond Index, which is composed of bonds with maturities greater than 10 years old. 

Many allocators are adding duration exposure via high-quality corporates given higher yields vs. Treasuries. These borrowers would also benefit from rate cuts, which would reduce financing costs and boost margins. The Vanguard Long-Term Corporate Bond ETF tracks the Bloomberg US 10+ Year Corporate Bond Index, which is comprised of US investment-grade, fixed-rate debt issued by industrial, financial, and utilities with maturities greater than 10 years. 


Finsum: Interest is starting to pick up in long-duration bonds following softer than expected economic and inflation data, which is leading to more optimism that the Fed will cut rates later this year.

Published in Bonds: Total Market

Traditionally, fixed income is where financial advisors look to reduce portfolio risk. This is no longer the case in the post-pandemic period, as the bond market has experienced major volatility, which is becoming the norm in a high-rate, high-inflation regime.

Given these conditions, investors may be better off with fixed index annuities (FIAs). Like bonds, FIAs produce income; however, a key difference is that FIAs guarantee an income stream for life as opposed to a fixed period. Another advantage of FIAs is that they have higher earnings potential than bonds, given that many are designed to earn interest based on the performance of an external index like the S&P 500. In contrast, fixed income has significantly underperformed over the last 5 years and failed to beat inflation.

Over long periods of time, costs matter when it comes to long-term investing. Most bond investments have fees that range between 0.5% and 2%. In contrast, FIAs tend to have much lower fees, on average. 

In terms of risk, FIA offers full protection of the principal investment. This means that it can be more effective than fixed income to hedge equities, especially in the current environment. Overall, FIAs can be more effective than fixed income, especially for investors who are in or nearing retirement. 


Finsum: Advisors should consider fixed indexed annuities (FIAs) as an alternative to fixed income, especially in the current environment. FIAs offer lower costs, more downside protection, and greater potential for appreciation.

Published in Alternatives

According to Lindsay Rosner, the managing director of multi-sector fixed income investments at Goldman Sachs, fixed income is presenting investors with an attractive opportunity to lock in high yields without compromising on quality. There are some challenges given divergences in central bank policy around the world and increasing uncertainty about the timing and direction of the Fed’s next move. Overall, the firm believes that the status quo of ‘higher for longer’ is likely to prevail.

A major factor is inflation, and the economy proving to be more resilient than expected. As a result, the market is now expecting two quarter-point rate cuts before the end of the year, compared to expectations of 150 basis points in cuts entering the year. The next Fed decision is on July 29. Prior to that meeting, there will be considerable amounts of inflation and labor market data, which could impact its thinking, although the current expectation is for it to hold rates steady.

With rates at these levels, there is increased risk that consumer spending is affected or that a higher cost of capital begins to impact corporate profitability and hiring. This risk increases the attractiveness of fixed income, especially as many investors are looking to rebalance given strong equity performance. Rosner sees opportunity in higher-quality areas such as investment-grade corporate bonds and structured products with AAA or AA ratings, especially given an impressive carry differential over Treasuries.


Finsum: Goldman Sachs sees opportunity in higher-quality segments of the fixed-income market. It believes investors should lock in yields at these levels, given the risk that high rates will eventually sour the economic outlook. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market

As one of the leading asset managers, BlackRock, shook the market his week when, through regulatory filings, it disclosed that its income funds are invested in its own Bitcoin ETFs. The two important funds were the Strategic Income Opportunities Fund (BSIIX) and Strategic Global Bond Fund (MAWIX),  which acquired $3.56 million and $485,000 worth of iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) respectively. 

 

These investments are a minor part of the $37.4 billion and $776.4 million portfolios of BSIIX and MAWIX, respectively. As of May 24, the iShares Bitcoin Trust held about $19.61 billion in Bitcoin, which trails the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC).  

 

Globally, spot Bitcoin ETFs hold over 1 million Bitcoin, valued at more than $68 billion, which is nearly 5.10% of Bitcoin's circulating supply of over 19.7 million BTC. Since their launch in January, over 600 investment firms, including major institutions like Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, and Wells Fargo, have invested in spot Bitcoin ETFs, with Millennium Management being the largest accumulator at $1.9 billion.


Finsum: While this fund cannibalism isn’t new, it’s definitely something to be aware of when looking at income funds. 

Published in Wealth Management
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