Perspectives Blog

Credit alternatives in government-backed debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 23, 2014

One way investors may boost yields without taking on undue credit risk is through U.S. government agency debt. While many investors associate U.S. agency debt with very low yields, other types of agency debt can offer significant spreads to Treasuries with a modest decline in liquidity. We have been increasing our allocation to the agency market in core portfolios as a way to reduce credit risk while maintaining competitive yields. By Carl W….

Trouble in paradise: Q&A about Puerto Rico bonds

Chad Farrington, CFA, Head of Municipal Bond Credit Research and Senior Portfolio Manager | January 2, 2014

Why has Puerto Rico become such an issue now? Should investors be concerned with a downgrade or default? Is Puerto Rico a systemic risk for the municipal market? Historically, Puerto Rico (PR) bonds’ high yield and triple tax exemption (federal, state and local) had been a big lure for many institutional investors, such as mutual funds. PR debt exposure in municipal bond funds, namely single-state municipal bond funds, proved advantageous for sh…

Half-time report on the U.S. consumer

Marie M. Schofield, CFA, Chief Economist and Senior Portfolio Manager | July 28, 2014

U.S. consumers have taken a more cautious attitude toward debt and been more selective about using it for discretionary purchases. With consumers using credit cards less and using debit cards much more, the supports for higher discretionary spending are keyed off income and wages and also employment. With low debt use and income growth holding back consumption and demand, households will require stronger job growth and real wage gains to accele…

From tactical to core – The case for emerging market debt

Columbia Management, Investment Team | June 2, 2014

For many investors, emerging market debt could be viewed as a core-portfolio holding rather than a short-term tactical investment. 2013’s re-pricing created value in terms of higher yields, a more dedicated investor base and a better relative value argument. Flexibility across the full spectrum of EMD investment opportunities is extremely important, as emerging markets are not homogenous. By Patrick McConnell, Director, Fixed Income Product Ma…

A primer on preferred securities

Carl Pappo, Head of Core Fixed Income | March 10, 2014

…including the structures, the motivation of issuers and investors and why we think preferred securities make sense in the current market environment. What is a preferred security? Preferred securities carry attributes of both debt and equity securities. Preferred securities rank higher in the capital structure relative to common equity, as they have a priority claim on dividend payments and a higher claim on assets in a bankruptcy. Preferred secu…

Puerto Rico’s double-downgrade

Michael Taylor, Senior Municipal Analyst | February 10, 2014

What’s behind the downgrade of Puerto Rico’s credit ratings by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s? The double-downgrade puts pressure on Puerto Rico to shore up its finances in the coming weeks A future default or debt restructuring could rattle investor confidence and impact all municipal market issuers On February 4, Standard & Poor’s lowered its long-term credit rating on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s (PR) general obligat…

Puerto Rico’s credit challenges intensify

Columbia Management Municipal Investment Team, | July 23, 2014

Puerto Rico’s new debt restructuring law led to a Moody’s downgrade. Our assessment of the relative strength of Puerto Rico’s general obligation bonds remains unchanged, as they are not covered by the new law. While we believe that the constitutionality of the new law will be heavily contested, the implications of a voluntary default to revenue bond creditors would be material. In late June, Puerto Rico signed a law that makes it easier…