One of the major benefits of direct indexing is that tax losses can be harvested during up and down years. This option is not available to clients who are invested in indices. This is because clients will own the actual components of an index in their account rather than an ETF or a mutual fund. With regular scans, losing positions can be sold to harvest tax losses which can then be used to offset gains in the future or other parts of the portfolio.
This is because some components of the index will be in the red even in up years. These positions are sold and then other stocks with similar factor scores are added to ensure the benchmark continues to be tracked.
According to Vanguard, “Because investors directly own the individual securities in their direct indexing portfolios, you can harvest losses for them even in years when the index is up. You can use these losses to offset your clients’ capital gains, and help them keep more of what their portfolios earn.” Overall, it believes that the strategy can add between 1% and 2% in annual returns in after-tax alpha for clients with large capital gains in addition to helping optimize short and long-term holding periods to minimize capital gains taxes.
Finsum: Direct indexing has several benefits for investors such as tax-loss harvesting. While many are familiar with its application during down years, less are aware that it can be used to add alpha even in up years.
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.
Equities and bonds moved higher following the October CPI report that came in much softer than expected. As a result, traders increased their bets that the Fed hiking cycle is over, while Fed fund futures showed an increase in the number of rate cuts expected in 2024. Further, odds of a hike at the December meeting went from 21% to 0%, and the market’s consensus for the Fed’s next move is now a 50-basis point cut in July of next year.
In terms of fixed income, the 2Y Treasury note fell by 20 basis points, while yields on the long end saw similar declines. The data is also supportive that the Fed can successfully achieve a ‘soft landing’ as the economy continues to expand, while it’s managed to make significant progress in terms of battling inflationary pressures. Many market participants didn’t think it would be possible for the Fed to successfully curb inflation without throwing the economy into a recession.
Some of the key takeaways from the report were core CPI hitting a 2-year low, while headline inflation was flat on a monthly basis and up 3.2% on annual basis. Some of the biggest contributors were weakness in energy prices, shelter costs moderating, and small declines in airfare prices and vehicle costs.
Finsum: Fixed income and equities soared higher following the October CPI report which came in much softer than expected.
The US Department of Labor is proposing a rule to close loopholes around the fiduciary standard. Specifically, they are looking at rollovers from 401(k) plans to IRAs; products not regulated by the SEC such as indexed annuities and commodities; and recommendations to employers on which funds to offer in 401(k) plans.
The SEC raised the bar for financial advice in 2019, applying the fiduciary standard to most types of investments. Yet, there are certain areas where the SEC doesn’t have jurisdiction. However, the Department of Labor does have regulatory authority over retirement accounts.
The fiduciary standard mandates that any investment recommendations need to be made in the best interest of clients and that any conflicts of interest should be disclosed. This has major implications given that nearly 6 million Americans rollover approximately $600 billion into IRAs every year, while 86 million Americans are putting money into their 401(k) plans. Indexed annuity sales were $79 billion in 2022 and expected to easily exceed this amount in 2023.
According to the administration, hidden costs and junk fees are denting households’ retirement savings by up to 20%. However, there is some pushback as critics contend that these rules will lead to more confusion, expenses for compliance, and eventually negatively affect retirement plans and retirees.
Finsum: The Biden Administration is looking to expand the fiduciary standard to cover areas that fall outside of the SEC’s jurisdiction such as commodities and fixed annuity products.
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.
Financial advisors can increase their chances of success of landing Generation Z clients by understanding their generational preferences. Many of these younger investors have an intuitive relationship with technology, so they are interested in digital solutions which will give them a more interactive experience. At the same time, they are also accustomed to having instant access to information.
Therefore, it’s prudent to have the right tech stack in place to facilitate this in addition to a comprehensive digital marketing and communication strategy. This includes social media, interactive content, and other tools to increase engagement. These can also be effective mediums for advisors to show their personality and knowledge to build a more authentic connection with prospects. A successful and repeatable strategy is to offer a free financial assessment which can be an effective lead-generation tool and more effective for younger investors than a phone call or face-to-face meeting.
Many in this generation are also enamored with newer asset classes like cryptocurrencies, so advisors should be able to engage on these topics. In terms of soft skills, advisors should cultivate an air of approachability, relevance, and empathy to increase their appeal.
Finsum: Gen Z is coming of age and will soon be entering their 30s. Here are some tips on how to appeal to this demographic.