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Three principles for bond investors
10/22/2018 6:23:37 AM
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By Fund Library News Wire  | Tuesday, October 02, 2018


 



By Aubrey Basdeo and Rachel Siu, BlackRock Canada

A little over a year ago, the Bank of Canada (the Bank) surprised markets with a rate hike in July 2017, kicking off its rate normalization path. Yields, particularly on the front-end of the curve, have moved higher: The 2-year Government of Canada yield has risen by nearly 100 basis points, to 2.06% (as at Aug. 31, 2018), leaving investors wondering what to do with their bond portfolios.

Against this changed market landscape, we believe there are three things fixed-income investors should focus on to help navigate a rising rate environment.

1. Diversify away from domestic exposure

Moreover, Canadian bonds represent just 3% of the global fixed income market.* Investors who stay local are in effect leaving 97% of the alpha opportunity, such as global credit (including investment grade, high yield, loans, and emerging markets) and non-domestic inflation protection, on the table. In this challenging bond environment, it’s more important than ever for investors to seek diversification and source global opportunities.

Many Canadian investors tend to prefer domestic bonds, which offer limited breadth and diversification. Exposures in Canadian fixed income are concentrated in investment grade bonds, primarily from federal and provincial governments and corporations within financial, energy and infrastructure industries.

2. Be active to adapt to the changing market landscape

For many bond investors, the knee-jerk reaction to rising rates is to simply reduce duration. Instead, we believe it’s worth looking at the balance between interest rate and credit risks across their entire fixed-income allocation. By actively adjusting exposures and taking advantage of the global opportunity set, a nimble investor can add high yield or emerging markets exposures for potential income to help offset rising domestic interest rates.

3. Remember what your fixed income investment is for

Too often investors are tempted to act if their investments are falling in price, as might be the case for bonds when rates start to rise. However, investors should not forget the purpose of their bond allocation: whether it’s to meet income needs or as a diversifier against equity risk (or both), a diversified bond investment plays a crucial role in a well-balanced portfolio.

*Bloomberg, as of 8/31/2018

Aubrey Basdeo, Managing Director, Head of Canadian Fixed Income, BlackRock, is a member of the Product Strategy Team within BlackRock’s Model-Based Fixed Income Portfolio Management Group. He leads the product strategy effort in Canada for both the Institutional and iShares businesses.

Rachel Siu is a Director and is a member of the Product Strategy team within BlackRock’s Global Fixed Income group. Rachel is a regular contributor to the blog in Canada.

Notes and Disclaimer

© 2018 BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part by any means without prior written permission is prohibited. This article first appeared in the BlackRock Blog on the BlackRock Canada website. Used with permission

Important information

This material is not intended to be relied upon as a forecast, research or investment advice, and is not a recommendation, offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities or to adopt any investment strategy. The opinions expressed are as of the date indicated and may change as subsequent conditions vary. The information and opinions contained in this post are derived from proprietary and nonproprietary sources deemed by BlackRock to be reliable, are not necessarily all-inclusive and are not guaranteed as to accuracy. As such, no warranty of accuracy or reliability is given and no responsibility arising in any other way for errors and omissions (including responsibility to any person by reason of negligence) is accepted by BlackRock, its officers, employees or agents. This post may contain “forward-looking” information that is not purely historical in nature. Such information may include, among other things, projections and forecasts. There is no guarantee that any of these views will come to pass. Reliance upon information in this post is at the sole discretion of the reader.

© 2018 BlackRock Asset Management Canada Limited. All rights reserved. iSHARES and BLACKROCK are registered trademarks of BlackRock, Inc., or its subsidiaries in the United States and elsewhere. Used with permission.

ICR0918C-607116-1884741

 
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