Perspectives Blog

The new tax regime and stock compensation

Abram Claude, Vice President, Columbia Management Learning Center | October 30, 2013

For many employees in corporate America, a portion of compensation comes from one or more forms of stock option plans. Compensation income from stock incentives contributes to adjusted gross income, but not net investment income for purposes of calculating the new 3.8% tax on net investment income. The Columbia Management Learning Center is dedicating a series of blog articles to this important and timely “Navigating the New Tax Regime” topic….

Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water – The case for long muni bond funds

Catherine Stienstra, Senior Portfolio Manager | January 29, 2014

…lp investors keep more of what they earn, since the income may be exempt from local, state and/or federal income taxes. As tax rates move higher, investments that provide income exempt from taxes, such as municipal bonds, become more appealing. There was a significant increase in rates and steepening of the yield curve in 2013, as the yield on the 30-year AAA muni bond increased by 134 basis points, ending the year at 4.19%. While we expect rates…

The coming divide in state credit quality

Ty Schoback, Senior Municipal Analyst | June 3, 2014

…revenues typically exhibit greater economic sensitivity than local governments due to greater reliance on income taxes. Since the end of the Great Recession, states have seen above average annual tax revenue growth, largely driven by robust equity market gains that have generated strong capital gains taxes. A number of states have managed such growth with exceptional prudence – states we deem to be fiscal leaders – and are now in the…

Detroit bankruptcy — One year later

Ty Schoback, Senior Municipal Analyst | August 18, 2014

Ability is not the same as willingness to pay. Political pressures continue to influence the bankruptcy process, potentially to the detriment of bondholders and leaving politically-connected stakeholders more equal than others. Legal protections included in bond indentures may prove inadequate. The Unlimited-Tax G.O. (UTGO) bonds and the Limited-Tax G.O. (LTGO) bonds failed to deliver their expected resiliency and settlements are expected to le…

A port in the storm — Short muni funds can offer refuge in the face of rising rates

Catherine Stienstra, Senior Portfolio Manager | October 2, 2014

Short term munis may make sense in a rising rate environment. They provide attractive yields and investment flexibility vs. cash investments and interest rate protection vs. longer assets. Cash investments have come with considerable opportunity cost in recent years. Co-authored by James Dearborn, Head of Municipal Bond Investments 2014 has offered many investment surprises, perhaps none bigger than the downward move in yields across virtuall…

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…

Does it still pay to hold municipal bonds?

Anders Myhran, Municipal Portfolio Manager | July 29, 2014

Price is important but income should be a factor when considering an investment. Don’t get caught on the sideline, the opportunity cost could be detrimental. You must consider the short and long term when investing. Many investors say they don’t want to own bonds because interest rates are going up. They would have a point if yields were to shoot up tomorrow or next week. Since most bonds and bond funds include some degree of interest rate sen…