Displaying items by tag: bonds

Tuesday, 06 February 2024 05:45

Fixed Income ETF Flows Favoring Longer Duration

The era of high yields has led to a significant boost of inflows into fixed income ETFs. Last year, short duration bond ETFs were the biggest recipient of inflows, but this started to change at the end of last year. Inflation started to move closer to the Fed’s 2% target, and the market began to price in rate cuts in 2024.

So, investors have been moving further out in the curve into intermediate and longer-duration fixed income ETFs to lock in yields for a longer period of time. One example of this can be seen in BondBloxx ETFs.

For instance, the BondBloxx Bloomberg Ten Year Target Duration US Treasury ETF has seen $49 million of inflows YTD. This is more than 50% of net inflows over all of last year. In contrast, the BondBloxx Bloomberg Six Month Target Duration US Treasury ETF only has $17 million of net inflows YTD, while it had $904 million of inflows last year. 

BondBloxx has also seen similar flows from its 1 Year and 2 Year duration-focused Treasury ETFs. To appeal to fixed income investors seeking longer duration exposure, the firm recently launched 3 high-yield corporate bond ETFs with time frames of 1-5 years, 5-10 years, and more than 10 years. 

Finsum: Flows into fixed income ETFs remain strong in 2024, but one definite change is that investors are favoring intermediate and longer-duration ETFs in anticipation of the Fed cutting rates.    


Published in Bonds: Total Market
Thursday, 01 February 2024 04:19

Vanguard Launches 2 Municipal Bond ETFs

Vanguard is launching 2 new ETFs giving investors exposure to the municipal bond market. The Vanguard Intermediate-Term Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTEI) and the Vanguard California Tax-Exempt Bond ETF (VTEC) launched on the CBOE BZX Exchange and are designed to offer targeted exposure to certain segments of the muni market with an emphasis on quality and yield. 


Both also have low expense ratios of 0.08%, making them among the least costly within the muni fixed income category. The intermediate-focused, tax-exempt ETF is particularly timely given expectations that interest rates will decline in 2024 due to a dovish Fed and weakening economic outlook. Thus, many investors are looking to lock in yields at these levels by moving out from the short-end into the intermediate and longer-end of the curve. 


In addition to quality and generous yields, municipal bonds also have tax benefits. While VTEI is designed to appeal to a wider swathe of investors, VTEC is for investors who want exposure to California municipal debt. The yield generated from this ETF is tax exempt at the federal and state level for California residents while also prioritizing credit quality. 

Finsum: Vanguard is launching 2 intermediate-term, municipal bond ETFs that offer investors tax benefits in addition to income and quality.  


Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 25 January 2024 05:42

Dispersion in Fixed Income Performance in 2023

Taking a look back at the previous year can reveal some interesting lessons for fixed income investors. Overall, fixed income finished the year in the green as inflation finally started to ease. This led the Federal Reserve to pause interest rate hikes, and expectations are for it to start cutting rates sometime next year, resulting in the Bloomberg Aggregate US Bond ETF finishing up 5.5% last year. 


However, there was considerable variance in performance across the curve and within different sectors. The best-performing segment was CCC-rated corporate debt which finished the year up 20.1%. 


While the combination of low defaults and falling interest rates is a bullish combination for high-yield debt, this variance in performance also highlights the importance of selection. To this end, BondBloxx offers fixed income ETFs that target specific sectors and credit ratings. 


The BondBloxx CCC-Rated USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF offers exposure to CCC-rated corporate debt. The firm also offers high-yield fixed income ETFs that provide exposure to specific sectors such as consumer cyclicals, or telecom, media & technology. In total, BondBloxx has 20 different ETFs with a cumulative total of $2.5 billion in assets. It’s known for its innovation in providing more targeted investment vehicles. 

Finsum: 2023 saw fixed income performance that was in-line with historical averages. However, there was considerable dispersion within the asset class. For instance, CCC-rated corporate debt finished the year up more than 20%. 

Published in Wealth Management

According to a survey conducted of attendees at the VettaFi Income Strategy Symposium, 60% are looking to add fixed income ETF exposure from cash and/or equities. This aligns with the view of fund managers on the panel who also believe that the Federal Reserve is near the end of its hiking cycle. 


John Croke, Vanguard’s head of active fixed income product strategy, commented that this is a good time to invest in fixed income. He sees the economy heading for a mild recession in the middle of the year despite the better than expected, recent Q3 GDP figures. He agreed with attendees that the hiking cycle is in its final innings and believes that the Fed funds rate will be closer to 4% rather than 5%. 


For investors looking to up their fixed income exposure, he recommends an ETF such as the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (BND). BND offers exposure to a diversified basket of investment-grade, US debt. He also recommends the Vanguard Ultra-Short Bond ETF (VUSB) for investors looking to exchange cash for bonds. VUSB is composed of a diversified basket of high-quality and medium-quality bonds with an average maturity between 0 and 2 years. 

Finsum: According to a survey of attendees at the VettaFi Strategic Income Symposium, 60% of advisors are looking to increase their fixed income ETF allocation in 2024. 


Published in Wealth Management

There’s been an ongoing debate about passive strategies vs active strategies in equities and fixed income. While passive strategies have generally proven to outperform in equities, the same is not true for fixed income. In fixed income, active managers have outperformed. Over the last decade, the average active intermediate-term bond fund has outperformed its benchmark, 60% of the time. 


According to Guggenheim, this can be partially attributed to risk mitigation strategies which are not available in passive funds. Another factor is that the equity markets are much more efficiently priced than fixed income since there is more price discovery, publicly reported financials, and a smaller universe of securities. Equities are also dominated by market-cap, weighted indices.


Relative to equities, there is much less information about fixed income securities, less liquidity and price discovery, a larger market at $55 trillion vs $44 trillion, and many more securities especially when accounting for different durations and credit ratings. Additionally, less than half of fixed income securities are in the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index (Agg) benchmark. All of these factors mean that there are more opportunities to generate alpha by astute active managers. 

Finsum: There is an ongoing debate on whether active or passive is better for fixed income. Here’s why Guggenheim believes that active will outperform against passive. 


Published in Wealth Management
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