Bonds: Total Market
Direct and custom indexing are all the rage right now and many companies are racing to provide lower fees and smaller minimums. The most advantageous part of direct indexing is its goldilocks solution when it comes to fees, but particularly the active/passive debate mashup. The most talked-about advantage to custom indexing is tax-loss harvesting in the portfolio, but there could be a larger advantage: sectoral macro factors. The Fed is quickly planning on hiking rates which will adversely affect technology stocks, with a custom index you can add/drop targeted sectors that are facing financial headwinds due to policy changes.
FINSUM: This is a nice way to leverage the tailored portfolio that you can get from custom indexing.
New survey data is out regarding how investors are utilizing fixed income ETFs and how they are represented in a portfolio. In 2021 Fixed income represented about 18% of global ETF assets under management, and many investors plan on increasing their use going forward. The number one purpose for fixed income ETFs was for liquidity management as 83% of surveyors use them in this way. However, transition management, derivative complementarity, and tactical adjustments were also highly cited reasons for their use. Many draw on fixed income ETFs for liquidity purposes, and this is particularly evident in the bid-ask spreads. Relative to their underlying securities ETF spreads for HYG were 48x smiler than the underlying assets.
FINSUM: It's clear investors aren’t terribly worried about lower yields and rising interest rates, these ETFs are giving freedom and flexibility in investors’ portfolios.
Inflation is picking up as PCE and CPI numbers are setting decade-long records, and the Fed is rapidly trying to regain control. The American people are beginning to show signs of angst as 65% of American’s say that Biden’s admin has not put enough attention on handling inflation and almost 60% say the same thing about the economy. This comes a swathe of low approval rating numbers come in where he has fallen almost 20 percentage points all the way down to the low 40’s. Overall about half of Americans say they feel frustrated and disappointed in the Biden admin. Biden’s focus has been on a series of regulatory and economic-centered packages, and many American’s don’t feel he is focusing on the issues they ‘don’t care about’.
FINSUM: Biden should stop pushing for another big fiscal package immediately if he has any hopes of reigning in inflation in 2022.
hroughout 2021 one of the biggest worries for investors, business owners, and policy makers has been the return of inflation. Long dormant, inflation has surged as markets and economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic ... [Read More]
Timing is everything in the market, and investors have a lot of reasons to be cautious in the bond market. A confluence of factors is making it likely that bond yields might jump up in 2022, particularly on longer-duration government debt. This is concerning as bond yields and prices move in the opposite directions so jumping on long-term debt right now could be deadly. For instance, the latest treasury yield rise sent an equivalent of an 800-point Dow Jones plunge in the iShares 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TLT). This is potentially scary as the markets are expecting three 25 basis points hikes from the Fed this year and inflation could also send bond yields rising. Most funds would see between a 1-3% hit on a 30-basis point yield spike.
Finsum: It’s critical to time the market but you might just stay away from long-term bonds, and stay on the shorter end of the duration.
The active ETF market is full of bonds as nearly 2/3rds of all active funds are in fixed income. Everyone is searching for a beta advantage in this market, and real estate could be the play. Index tracking fixed income isn’t cutting it because of the low yield environment, and treasuries taking up too much space. Investors are shortening the duration to mitigate the interest rate risks as inflation is baring down as well. Funds like DigitalBridge Fundamental US Real Estate, are managed fixed-income products that give exposure to fixed-income and REITs. Most investors hold bond funds for precaution but real estate does a better job of providing uncorrelated returns. DBRIX just hit a three-year anniversary in a growing market segment.
FINSUM: Shortening duration has been a no brainer for those with bond exposure but adding some real estate to the fixed income could really distinguish an active FI opportunity.