Perspectives Blog

Should your income be fixed?

David King, CFA, Senior Portfolio Manager | December 16, 2013

Investors need to rethink the role of fixed income in building portfolios How to provide an adequate rate of return with an acceptable level of risk Benefits of a non-fixed, income-oriented strategy in today’s environment Peanut butter and jelly. Bacon and eggs. Scotch and soda. In the investment industry, the words “fixed” and “income” seem as inseparable as our favorite food and beverage combinations. Something which has served millions of p…

Opportunity in lower-quality municipals

Columbia Management, Investment Team | August 15, 2013

Recently enacted higher tax rates — and the threat of even higher rates — enhance the attractiveness of tax-exempt income, especially versus other income-producing securities. Lower quality, shorter maturity investment-grade municipal bonds may provide similar yields as longer maturity bonds, but with lower interest-rate risk and volatility. Independent and well-resourced credit research is a critical tool in lower-quality municipal bond invest…

Maximizing workplace retirement plans to reduce or eliminate the net investment income tax

Abram Claude, Vice President, Columbia Management Learning Center | September 25, 2013

The net investment income tax (NIIT) is a new, permanent tax that is effective beginning in 2013. Investors’ workplace retirement plans, such as 401(k) plans, may offer several opportunities to reduce exposure to the tax. The Columbia Management Learning Center is dedicating a series of blog articles to this important and timely “Navigating the New Tax Regime” topic. Many higher-income investors with taxable investments encountered a new tax b…

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…

Fixed income strategies – The pros and cons of generating returns with negative duration

Columbia Management, Investment Team | July 14, 2014

Unconstrained multi-sector bond funds have become very popular due to their flexibility to invest tactically across sectors and manage interest rate sensitivity. While it may be useful for a fixed income manager to employ a negative duration strategy, getting the timing right can be very challenging. With interest rates defying expectations so far in 2014, investors need to ask what should be at the core of their fixed income portfolio. By Kri…

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

Why invest in long-term muni bonds? Why investors should focus on tax-free income and total return Many investors fled the muni market in 2013, as $60 billion in mutual fund redemptions attests. Particularly hard hit were longer-maturity funds, likely due to investors anticipating higher interest rates and the negative impact that would have on fixed-income investments, especially longer bonds. While such concerns appear rational, is avoiding…

Gut check: The outlook on fixed income

Colin J. Lundgren, CFA, Head of U.S. Fixed Income | February 24, 2014

…generate coupon-like returns, which is better than last year but nothing to brag about. Do we prefer high-yield bonds or bank loans? High-yield bonds. High-yield bonds and bank loans were the only two winning sectors in fixed income in 2013 with returns of 7% and 5%, respectively. We are comfortable holding our current positions in high yield and bank loans, but not adding. Corporate fundamentals remain strong, which is supportive of both asset c…