Three Cities in Three Weeks: A Significant Trend in Municipal Bankruptcy?

On Tuesday, San Bernardino, California, became the third California city in three weeks to announce its intention to seek bankruptcy protection. Does this mark the beginning of a significant trend toward bankruptcy, particularly in California? My colleague Guy Davidson examines the patterns.

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LDI: More on Going Global in Bonds

For liability-driven investors, exposure to global bonds offers important benefits: a strong correlation to domestic debt, with greatly reduced volatility. However, these are not the only positives. Today, we’ll look at some other important benefits—such as greatly expanding the investable universe and offering a natural hedge against the tail risk of a domestic credit crisis—and [...]

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LDI: How Large an Allocation to Global Bonds?

Liability-driven investors can reap significant benefits from globalizing their long-duration bond portfolios, but how much should they sow? How large an allocation to nondomestic bonds is appropriate? Our research suggests that even a modest allocation can meaningfully improve an LDI portfolio’s risk-adjusted return potential.

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Stockton’s Bankruptcy: Not a Harbinger of Things to Come

The financial failure of Stockton, California, is a sad tale of inflated expectations and poor decision making, but it’s not a harbinger of things to come in the US municipal bond market. Stockton is a unique case, as my colleague Guy Davidson explains below.

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LDI: The Case for Going Global in Bonds

Despite compelling evidence in favor of global diversification, investors in many markets around the world continue to have a strong “home bias”—a preference for domestic over foreign assets. Nowhere is this tendency more apparent than in the ranks of liability-driven investors. But our research shows that LDI investors, too, can reap significant benefits from going [...]

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Don’t Be Caught Long: Strategies to Curb Interest-Rate Risk in the Municipal Market

A municipal portfolio full of bonds with maturities in the 20- to 30-year range is exposed today to the high risk of rising interest rates. As my colleague Wayne Godlin explains, now may be the right time to shorten your duration and lower your credit quality.

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What We’ve Learned from Municipal Distress

Is the municipal bond market on the verge of collapse? You might think so, given the blaring headlines about a few big disasters in the last year. But as my colleague Joe Rosenblum explains below, poor decision making, not systemic issues, has caused the most serious problems.

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Global Bonds: Avoiding Unintended Consequences

More and more, global bonds are being used as core portfolios for investors seeking an anchor to windward for their stock investments. While this is generally a good thing, some investors are discovering that the decision to go global can have unintended consequences: certain global bond portfolios have much higher volatility than is usually associated [...]

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“Bad Bank” Unlikely to Solve Spain’s Banking Problems

As Spain slips back into recession, the Spanish government has begun talks on ring-fencing the country’s bad property loans in one or more separate entities. While this may help, we doubt whether the move will be enough on its own to solve Spain’s problems, as our European banking analyst, Victoria Norman, discusses below. 

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Moving Beyond Municipals

Taxable US investors usually invest the fixed-income part of their portfolios in municipal bonds. But a tax-aware strategy with the flexibility to look for the highest after-tax return across sectors is likely to be more rewarding over time, as my colleague Terry Hults explains below.

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