Displaying items by tag: ETFs
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.
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.
Over the last couple of years, there has been an increase in the number of actively managed funds that offer exposure to more niche areas such as collateralized loan obligations, asset-backed securities, commercial mortgage-backed securities, and agency mortgage-backed securities. The latest entrant in this space is the Janus Henderson Securitized Income ETF (JHG).
The ETF seeks to generate high income by providing exposure to “the most attractive opportunities on a risk-adjusted basis” across the market for securitized debt. The firm believes that investors can meet their income and duration goals in this sector with lower levels of credit risk. Many of these assets have less sensitivity to interest rates unlike many parts of the fixed income market. According to Paul Olmstead, the senior manager research analyst for fixed income at Morningstar Research Services, “This is a part of the market that does require active management and specialized expertise as there’s a complexity component.”
These funds have also outperformed amid the increase in volatility over the last couple of years. Three years ago, Janus Henderson launched the Janus Henderson AAA CLO ETF (JAAA) which currently has $4.6 billion in assets. In a validation of its premise, the fund delivered a total return of 6.9% YTD and 0.5% in 2022. To compare with a benchmark, the iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) has a total return of -0.8% YTD and was down 13% in 2022.
Finsum: Many active fixed income funds are being launched with a specialized focus on a particular niche. These funds have outperformed amid the volatility in the fixed income market.
Fixed income ETFs are in demand especially with interest rates over 5% and a cloudy economic outlook with risks like a recession and fears of another surge in inflation. Within the fixed income universe, investors can express their views through duration positioning while still taking advantage of income opportunities.
Many ETFs allow investors to focus on specific parts of the yield curve. The most well-known examples are several Treasury ETFs which range from ultra short-term to 20+ years. Lately, issuers have launched ETFs for single-year strategies for further optimization.
However, many market participants believe that even more duration-targeting ETFs need to be launched given the disparity of views and volatility that is endemic to a higher rate and inflation environment. While there is an abundance of options in the US, there are less options in the UK and EU.
As the fixed income ETF market grows, duration-focused ETFs will continue to be a major area of growth especially as more institutional investors are embracing the asset class and driving demand for these products. Many are also of the opinion that higher rates will lead to an environment of increased volatility, shorter cycles, and faster moves. Additionally, these options will be even more imperative for allocators who are investing in shorter timeframes.
Finsum: The fixed income ETF market is growing rapidly. Along with inflows and an increase in volatility, several ETFs have been launched that are focused on a specific part of the curve.
First Trust Advisors is launching its 16th taxable fixed income ETF with the First Trust Core Investment Grade ETF (FTCB). The fund has an expense ratio of 0.55% and will look for the maximum possible long-term return by investing all of its funds in investment-grade securities, comprising Treasuries, TIPS, mortgage-backed securities, asset-backed securities, US corporate debt, non-US fixed income securities, municipal bonds, and CMOs.
The fund’s portfolio managers are Jim Snyder, Jeremiah Charles, Todd Larson, Owen Aronson, Nathan Simons, and Scott Skowronski. Its core philosophy is to analyze fundamentals to identify opportunities and risks while seeking alpha through sector allocation and duration management. Decisions are made through a defined and repeatable process which includes scenario analysis and stress testing.
They see upside for FTCB given that yields and credit spreads are at attractive levels. First Trust also believes FTCB will outperform in an economic downturn due to lower credit risk. It also believes the fund is well suited for the current market environment where risk management has been crucial, and active strategies have outperformed. According to First Trust ETF strategist Ryan Issakainen, the fund should “produce better risk-adjusted returns than passive benchmarks.”
Finsum: First Trust is launching a new active fixed income ETF, the First Trust Core Investment Grade ETF which looks to outperform passive benchmarks, maximize long-term returns, and minimize credit risk.