Meeting Your Fixed-Income Goals

The most common goals for fixed-income investors are stability, generating income and diversifying their equity exposures. Our research suggests that they can achieve all three goals more efficiently if they don’t remain wedded to their traditional approaches and benchmarks.

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The Importance of Being Active

The financial crisis of the last four years has damaged the financial conditions of cities and states—and municipal bond insurers. In our view, this has increased the value of research and undermined individual investors’ classic approach to municipal bonds: laddering. My colleague Guy Davidson explains why, below and in the Reuters muniland blog.

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The Tyranny of Bond Benchmarks

With interest rates at historic lows and the number of risk-free assets in the world shrinking, sovereign bonds are becoming an increasingly risky and complex asset class. In this environment, tethering portfolios to benchmark bond indices is fraught with problems.

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High-Yield Bonds: Are ETFs the Best Vehicle?

High-yield exchange-traded funds (ETFs) have been growing like gangbusters in recent months, despite continued weak performance relative to the indices that they track. While these instruments make sense for investors who make rapid, tactical trades into and out of the asset class, we think they’re a poor choice for those seeking to gain long-term exposure [...]

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Rolling for Return

Today’s low interest rates and the uncertainty around the timing of future increases have convinced some bond investors to invest in shorter-term bonds and cash. But yield is just one of several sources of bond returns that investors can pursue, as my colleague Terry Hults explains below.

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High-Yield Bonds: Equity-Like Returns with Lower Risk

On the surface, high-yield bonds look a lot like their relatives in the fixed income world. But in some key respects, high-yield debt acts a lot more like equities than like other bonds. This has some often unappreciated implications for portfolio construction.

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US Housing Finance: Our Vision for a Privately Led System

There’s a growing consensus today that the US government’s huge footprint in the $10.5 trillion mortgage market needs to shrink, with the private sector taking the lead. But there is less agreement on how the transition to a new system should take place. Here’s our perspective as investors in the mortgage market on what is [...]

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US Housing Finance: Let’s Put Quality Before Quantity

The US government’s housing finance policies in recent decades can be summarized by one simple phrase: quantity over quality. The implicit goal was to increase the quantity of housing finance by keeping mortgage rates low and promoting wider home ownership. For several decades, the system worked. But if we view the long-term stability of home [...]

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US Housing Finance: Is Government Involvement Necessary?

A debate is raging about whether the US government’s significant role in housing finance is sustainable. In future articles, I will explain in detail why we believe the private sector needs to play a greater role in the future of housing finance. But for now, let’s take a step back and ask a key question. [...]

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Do “Risk-Free Assets” Still Exist?

The current sovereign-debt crisis in Europe is raising long-term questions about some of the bedrocks of finance and investment theory. Namely, are the concepts of a “risk-free rate” and “risk-free assets” still meaningful when the creditworthiness of so many developed countries is under threat?

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