Displaying items by tag: duration
For cautious-minded investors, active fixed income could be a much better option than cash. This is according to SPDR Exchange Traded Funds’ Managing Director and Head of Research, Matthew Bartolini, who notes that some of the major advantages of active fixed income are that it offers more flexibility, consistent performance, and can be more tax efficient. Overall, it can help portfolios generate income, dampen volatility, while still retaining exposure to upside opportunities.
Many advisors and investors are already aware of these benefits as active fixed income has taken a large portion of flows relative to its size compared to passive fixed income and equity ETFs. As Bartolini notes, “Active fixed income has been really a consistent engine of support within the active [ETF] construct — not only from flows but also returns.” Another factor in active fixed income’s growth is that it allows investors to take advantage of elevated yields.
Bartolini also believes that future returns will be appetizing for the asset class, although there will be some volatility to stomach. He also believes that cash is less desirable due to the reinvestment risk. His major focus is on constructing portfolios to generate income while properly balancing risk.
Finsum: Active fixed income is seeing major growth in terms of inflows. Here’s why the asset class is well-positioned for the current moment given the combination of elevated yields and an uncertain macro environment.
In a CNBC interview, Blackrock COI Rick Rieder shared some thoughts on Blackrock’s newest active fixed income fund, and why he believes that active fixed income offers several advantages for investors.
Active fixed income managers have the latitude to seek opportunities that are beyond what’s represented in the indices. As an example, he cites the Blackrock Flexible Income ETF (BINC) which has outperformed its peers since its inception in late May. Over this period, BINC is up 0.3%, while the iShares Core US Aggregate Bond ETF (AGG) is off by 4% and the iShares iBoxx $ High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (HYG) is down 0.2%.
BINC’s biggest allocation is to bonds outside of the US at 22% with US high yield debt and US investment grade debt accounting for 17% and 14%, respectively. According to Rieder, the stronger US dollar is leading to more attractive opportunities overseas.
Passive funds are unable to take advantage of these opportunities. Another advantage for active fixed income is that certain pockets of risk can be avoided as well. He cites this combination as why active fixed income has outperformed, since it leads to more yield and reduced volatility.
Finsum: Blackrock CIO Rick Rieder explained some of the structural advantages of active fixed income to identify opportunities and avoid pockets of weakness.
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.