Bonds: Total Market

It looks like alternative asset classes are writing a story of their own.

Someone say Kurt Vonnegut’s name written all over them? After all, he always seems to have one trick or another up his literary sleeve.

Its been a never before seen year in the equity and fixed income markets, according to Global equities receded close to 20% as of June 30. Meantime, high quality fixed income jetted backwards by around 10%. Historically? Well, it was the darkest start to a year in the bond market since, get this, 1842. Just keeps getting better, eh? 

Well, it’s a different ballgame for those asset classes. During the year, the cocktail of real estate, real assets, hedge funds, private equity and private debt nudged aside both equities and fixed income.

Okay, sure, alternative asset classes have caught a little heat for their fees, minimums and illiquidity. This year, however? Well, they’ve larded on a great deal of value. The question: will this trend sustain itself?

A release of its findings earlier this month of its most current Selling Retail Investment Products through Intermediaries Report, based on 810 confidential interviews of U.S.-based financial advisors in September, found a three point jump in the use of alternatives, according to It was 39% in Q4 of 2021 to 42% in June of this year.

JPMorgan Asset Management recently announced the upcoming launch of three new fixed-income BetaBuilders ETFs. The funds, which will launch in February, will provide exposure to the aggregate, investment-grade corporate, and high-yield corporate bond markets. All three will be converted from three existing actively managed ETFs. The JPMorgan BetaBuilders US Aggregate Bond ETF (BBAG) will be created from the $1.2 billion JPMorgan US Aggregate Bond ETF (JAGG). The fund, which will come with an expense ratio of 0.03%, will track the Bloomberg US Aggregate Bond Index and invest in Treasury, government-related, corporate, and securitized fixed-rate bonds from issuers worldwide. The JPMorgan BetaBuilders USD Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF (BBCB) will be converted from the $40 million JPMorgan Corporate Bond Research Enhanced ETF (JIGB). BBCB will track the Bloomberg US Corporate Bond Index, consisting of investment-grade bonds from corporate issuers worldwide. The ETF has an expense ratio of 0.09%. The final ETF, the JPMorgan BetaBuilders USD High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BBHY), will be created from the $400m JPMorgan High Yield Research Enhanced ETF (JPHY). BBHY will track the ICE BofA US High Yield Total Return Index, covering sub-investment-grade, corporate bonds issued in the US market. The fund has a slightly higher expense ratio of 0.15%

Finsum:JPMorgan adds to its suite of BetaBuilders ETFs with the upcoming launch of aggregate, investment-grade corporate, and high-yield corporate bond ETFs.

There is no doubt that government bond and corporate debt markets have taken a beating this year due to inflation and rising interest rates. But that may change next year if two fixed-income strategists are correct. On Tuesday, Gurpreet Gill, macro strategist, global fixed income at Goldman Sachs Asset Management said that “The year ahead is shaping up as the most promising for fixed income in over a decade.” While speaking at the Edelman Smithfield Investor Summit in London, Gill noted that valuations in fixed-income markets were looking more appealing than they were a year ago. This included emerging markets and corporate bonds. She stated, "We think it makes sense to be in high-quality short-duration assets, in agency mortgage-backed securities markets in the U.S." Gill isn’t alone in those thoughts. Sara Devereux, global head of Vanguard Fixed Income Group, said last Friday that “The recent debt rally brought the chance to reduce credit exposure and buy mortgage agency securities based on valuations, setting up what promises to be a bond picker’s paradise in the new year.”

Finsum:Two fixed-income strategists expect next year to be a great year for bond pickers due to lower valuations.

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