The October CPI report may have marked an inflection point for the Fed’s hiking cycle which is leading to inflows into fixed income ETFs. According to Andres Rincon, the Head of ETF Sales and Strategy at TD Securities, this is being driven by advisors, retail investors, and institutions with fixed income accounting for two-thirds of total ETF flows.
The short-end accounts for 40% of these flows as investors look to take advantage of high rates with increased demand for Treasuries, HISA ETFs, money market ETFs, and ultra short-term bond ETFs. However, the very long-end is also attracting interest to provide a hedge against a decline in rates and the overall market. Rincon also noted a surge in demand for fixed income products from TD’s direct indexing channel which had been absent during the period of zero percent rates.
Another trend that is supportive of fixed income ETF inflows is the conversion of popular mutual funds into ETF offerings. This is due to demand from institutions and advisors and advantages to the ETF structure in terms of liquidity and transparency. This is leading to more growth for the total ETF market as well.
Finsum: Andres Rincon, the Head of ETF Sales and Strategy at TD Securities, notes that fixed income ETFs are seeing significant inflows due to a variety of reasons.
Being a financial advisor certainly has its challenges due to the unique nature of the industry. One aspect of this is the difficulty of differentiating your offerings and services from your competitors especially when it comes to attracting new clients.
This means that an effective marketing strategy is essential to long-term success. It can help in building a solid pipeline of prospects and increasing your conversion rate. There are many well-trodden templates that advisors can follow such as building a website or a newsletter. However, your marketing strategy can be more creative and go beyond these generic ideas.
Additionally, it can result in more chances of success if it’s something you enjoy, can be consistent with, and reflect your personality which will lead to a more authentic connection with prospects.
Some of the more outside-of-the-box ideas include sharing ideas on online forums or message boards. Here, the key is not to make a hard sell but instead show your expertise. It can be valuable in building SEO visibility while creating a more genuine connection than other marketing channels.
Some other ideas to consider are direct mail marketing, hosting a client appreciation event, or sharing quizzes or polls on social media. The commonality of these marketing ideas is that you can experiment with different approaches, show off what makes you unique, and target your ideal clients.
Finsum: Marketing is more important for financial advisors than most industries given that it can be difficult to easily differentiate services and offerings. Here are some out-of-the-box ideas to consider.
Virtus Investment Partners recently launched a new actively managed fixed income ETF that primarily invests in high-quality, short-duration debt from multiple sectors. The Virtus Newfleet Short Duration Core Plus Bond ETF (SDCP) intends to provide high levels of returns and income while limiting variance in net asset value.
SDCP will also selectively invest in securities that are below investment-grade if yields are sufficiently attractive. It aims to achieve these goals through prudent risk management, a disciplined investment process, and finding opportunities in undervalued parts of the market. The fund will target securities with a duration between 1 and 3 years and will charge 35 basis points.
SDCP’s subadvisors is Newfleet Asset Management which has considerable expertise in all parts of the fixed income market including newer, more niche, and out-of-favor sectors. It believes active sector rotation and risk management are keys to portfolio construction.
Overall, SDCP’s launch is a continuation of a major theme in 2023 - the growth of fixed income ETFs. According to Todd Rosenbluth, the head of Research at VettaFI, fixed income ETFs comprise only 20% of the total market but account for 40% of inflows so far this year.
Finsum: Virtus is launching a new short-duration focused active fixed income ETF with Newfleet Asset Management as an advisor.
Homebuilder sentiment declined to 34 in November as mortgage rates rose for most of the month according to a survey by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB). Anything below 50 is indicative of poor sentiment, however there was some optimism that the recent decline in rates may lead to an improvement in conditions.
Higher rates have stifled demand and increased the cost of financing for homebuilders and developers. Another headwind has been low inventories, resulting in less transactions. Overall, the survey results declined from 56 in July to its current level. However, the survey does not reflect the recent decline in rates following the soft October CPI report.
All three components of the survey showed weakening with sales conditions falling 6 points to 40, sales expectations over the next 6 months dropping to 39 from 45, and buyer traffic declining from 26 to 21.
According to Robert Dietz, NAHB’s chief economist, “While builder sentiment was down again in November, recent macroeconomic data point to improving conditions for home construction in the coming months. In particular, the 10-year Treasury rate moved back to the 4.5% range for the first time since late September, which will help bring mortgage rates close to or below 7.5%.” He believes that a decline in rates, coupled with low inventories, could set the stage for a rebound in sentiment.
Finsum: November’s homebuilder sentiment survey report came out and showed a major decline. However, there is some optimism that the recent decline in rates could lead to a rebound in sentiment in the coming months.
Consumers are increasingly seeking greater personalization. According to a McKinsey report, "The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying," 71% of consumers stated that they expect personalized experiences. It stands to reason that this expectation would extend to their investment portfolios, which are arguably more consequential than everyday consumer purchases.
For financial advisors, this signals a shift towards accommodating clients who demand more than what mutual funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) can offer. Separately managed accounts (SMAs) are a viable solution to meet this demand for customization. SMAs allow investors to personalize their investment strategy to fit their unique objectives, risk appetite, and financial situations—something that generic investment vehicles cannot always match.
In addition, the expertise offered by investment managers in SMAs is invaluable. Their insights are critical for asset allocation, security selection, and risk management. As the trend towards customization grows, SMAs may well become a cornerstone of investment portfolios, offering the personal touch that today's investors increasingly expect.
Finsum: Separately Managed Accounts may emerge as the solution of choice to fulfill investors' growing preference for personalization.