The Future State of Fixed Income Research Report

Our latest fixed income research highlights three trends that are shaping the future of fixed income: the growth of ESG, the continued move to indexing and the search for new sources of return.


ESG Tops the Agenda


Despite a compelling market backdrop, ESG — not managing the effects of inflation and rising rates — emerged as the top priority for institutional investors globally.

ESG Integration Emerges as a Top Priority to Be Addressed Through Fixed Income

Source: State Street Global Advisors. Percentage of respondents. Note: Respondents were allowed to select up to two answers. n=700.


Indexing Cements Its Place


Active continues to dominate fixed income, but it’s primacy is being eroded by investor needs, fee pressures, and a changing marketplace.

Now, over a third (37%) of investors say that more than 20% of their portfolio is now allocated to index and for the largest investors that proportion is even higher.

Investors Show Sustained Interest in Indexed Approaches to Fixed Income

Source: State Street Global Advisors. Percentage of respondents. Note: Fixed income index strategy is defined as ‘A portfolio of fixed income securities that seeks to track the performance of a market index, such as the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index. Index strategies may seek to precisely replicate a market index, or to build a representative sample of an index.’ Respondents were allowed to select one answer. n=643


New Sources, New Approaches


Systematic is Coming Investors appear to recognize that the evolution of fixed income trading toward greater digitalization may be reducing the active opportunity.

On the horizon, and perhaps ultimately threatening the traditional dominance of active approaches, investors are showing interest in new, data-driven approaches to fixed income via systematic strategies. Larger investors are particularly likely to express a strong appetite for systematic fixed income strategies.

Source: State Street Global Advisors. Question: How would you rate your institution’s appetite to use systematic strategies in the following fixed income segments over the next 12 months? Percentage of respondents selecting “very strong” or “somewhat strong.” Note: Respondents were allowed to select one answer for each sector. n=700

New Sources Under Consideration Investors are increasingly considering alternative sources of return. This is changing not only the outlook for traditional sectors but also adding liquidity risk and transforming the best approach calculus.

Reflecting market conditions, investors are seeking allocations that will help tackle inflation and more fully exploit available opportunities in their search for return.

Interest Is Especially Keen in Bank Loans and Inflation-Linked Bonds

Source: State Street Global Advisors. Percentage of respondents. Note: Respondents were allowed to select one answer for each sector. n=700


ETFs Proving Their Value


Because of the unique attributes of exchange traded funds (ETFs) — their agility, efficiency, and transparency — more investors are increasing their use of ETFs to position fixed income portfolios in the new investment reality.

ETFs continue to prove their value in multiple ways, from managing liquidity risk and driving efficiency to implementing precise allocations and facilitating the in-house management of fixed income exposures.

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About the Survey


State Street conducted a survey of 700 institutional investors in 2022. The global survey respondents came from pension funds, wealth managers, asset managers, endowments, foundations and sovereign wealth funds. Their responses confirmed that the evolution in fixed income investing is very real and, in fact, that institutional fixed income investing could be at a tipping point where “evolution” will become “revolution”.


Prior Survey


Our 2021 fixed income research revealed what was driving institutional investors across the globe to adopt new ways of fixed income investing.


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