Position for Tapering with US ESG Investment Grade Credit
Confidence that the Federal Reserve can manage the tapering of asset purchases, with little market disruption, should make investors more comfortable taking on duration risk. The stability and yield pick-up provided by US investment grade credit look like a better way to position versus government bonds. Investor positioning and preferences, better long-term performance and lower volatility also suggests a focus on ESG.
Jackson Hole Sends Positive Message – What Comes Next for Fixed Income Markets?
The US Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole Economic Symposium marked the big event of the summer, an opportunity for the Fed to set the direction of monetary policy into 2022. The fairly dovish message was what markets wanted to hear. And for bond investors, the combination of the view that both growth and inflation have peaked and that the Fed will carefully manage the wind-down of its policy stimulus, thus avoiding a “Taper Tantrum,” may see the appetite for duration risk increase.
That said, the bond market is known for posting positive performances over the summer only for there to be a change of direction in September.1 Indeed, one investment theme in our latest Bond Compass highlights this reversal as a risk factor for several fixed income strategies, most notably government bonds. The more negative performance from fixed income is often related to government supply, with the end to the holiday season seeing governments pushing to achieve their funding targets by year-end. From this perspective, we should observe a lower impact on corporate bonds for three reasons:
•While there will be a reopening of the primary issuance pipeline for corporates, the buoyant economic conditions, low interest rates and strong investor appetite for corporate paper during the early part of 2021 points to many companies having gotten well ahead of their funding needs for the year. Therefore, issuance pressures in the credit space could remain more muted.
•Tapering of asset purchases will not directly affect US credit as the Fed is no longer buying (it is actually selling down its credit holdings). Reduced buying will create more of a flow restriction on government bonds and MBS. On this front European credit may be more vulnerable to the ECB scaling back its purchases.
•US growth could be at or close to the peak but it should remain strong for the foreseeable future, with the Bloomberg consensus for GDP to rise 4.3% in 2022.2 This should provide a solid backdrop for corporate profits.
The economics may be supportive of spreads remaining tight but, for those concerned that there could still be some sort of a taper correction, focusing on investment grade paper can help to limit the risks of a blow-out in spreads. Even in the full-blown Taper Tantrum of 2013, US investment grade paper moved around 25bp wider versus US Treasuries, against a move of over 100bp for high yield.3
Get with the Flow: Investors Focus on ESG
US investment grade credit offers a yield-to-worst of just under 2%, which represents a pick-up versus US Treasuries of around 85bp4. In addition to the appeal of carry, the flow data in the Q3 Bond Compass suggested that investors were underweight US investment grade credit coming into the quarter, hinting that the period into the end of the year could see some rebuilding of positions. This trend already looks like it could be underway, with US investment grade corporate ETFs showing significant inflows in August 2021 (see chart).
US Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETFs: AUM and Flows, Monthly Evolution (in USD mn)
There is plenty of evidence to suggest that these flows will move toward ESG-compliant assets, not least from the survey of fixed income investors conducted by State Street Global Advisors in partnership with Longitude Research, a Financial Times company. The results are outlined in the publication Fixed Income: Preparing for the Big Shift, where the preference to reorient toward ESG fixed income assets is clear. Some 61% of respondents said that they are prioritising integration of ESG factors within their fixed income portfolios over the next three years. Investment grade corporate bonds were seen as a key segment for this integration, with 39% of investors suggesting this is a priority, only topped by high yield.
The investor survey also suggests that the most frequently integrated approach is currently best-in-class (49%), which fits well with the State Street Global Advisors approach of using an index that first screens for the usual ESG flags5 before optimising the index to maximise the R-Factor®, the State Street ESG score, at the same time as pushing the characteristics of the ESG index toward those of the parent index. In this way, those investors returning to US investment grade credit can keep their portfolio characteristics close to the benchmark while at the same time improving their ESG profile.
A part of this move to ESG is being driven by the direction of regulatory drift but there is also a growing acceptance that a best-in-class approach can deliver higher returns and lower volatility over the longer term. This is a theme we investigated in US Investment Grade Credit: Stability Through ESG and demonstrated the stabilising effect of ESG assets even during the market disruptions of March 2020 driven by the pandemic.
For Europe-based investors concerned that the USD may slide, which is entirely possible if the Federal Reserve manages the tapering of purchases without scaring the market, then hedging out currency risk is also something to consider.
How to play these themes
Investors looking to access the themes described above can do so with SPDR ETFs. To learn more about these funds, and to view performance histories, please click on the links below:
1 Average returns for the Bloomberg US Treasury Index have been positive over the past five years for June, July and August, but negative in September. See the Q3 2021 SPDR Bond Compass for details. This information should not be considered a recommendation to invest in a particular sector or to buy or sell any security shown.
2 This forecast is based on certain analyses and assumptions. There is no guarantee that the forecast will be met.
3 Based on the moves in the option-adjusted spreads of the Bloomberg US Corporate Bond Index and the Bloomberg US Corporate High Yield Bond Index. Source: Bloomberg Finance L.P.
4 Yield and spread for the Bloomberg SASB US Corporate ESG ex Controversies index, as of 31 August 2021, Source: Bloomberg Finance L.P.
For Investors in Austria: The offering of SPDR ETFs by the Company has been notified to the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) in accordance with section 139 of the Austrian Investment Funds Act. Prospective investors may obtain the current sales Prospectus, the articles of incorporation, the KIID as well as the latest annual and semi-annual report free of charge from State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, Branch in Germany, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. T: +49 (0)89-55878-400.F: +49 (0)89-55878-440.
For Investors in Finland: The offering of funds by the Companies has been notified to the Financial Supervision Authority in accordance with Section 127 of the Act on Common Funds (29.1.1999/48) and by virtue of confirmation from the Financial Supervision Authority the Companies may publicly distribute their Shares in Finland. Certain information and documents that the Companies must publish in Ireland pursuant to applicable Irish law are translated into Finnish and are available for Finnish investors by contacting State Street Custodial Services (Ireland) Limited, 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2, Ireland.
For Investors in France: This document does not constitute an offer or request to purchase shares in the Company. Any subscription for shares shall be made in accordance with the terms and conditions specified in the complete Prospectus, the KIID, the addenda as well as the Company Supplements. These documents are available from the Company centralizing correspondent: State Street Banque S.A., Coeur Défense - Tour A - La Défense 4 33e étage 100, Esplanade du Général de Gaulle 92 932 Paris La Défense cedex France or on the French part of the site ssga.com/etfs. The Company is an undertaking for collective investment in transferable securities (UCITS) governed by Irish law and accredited by the Central Bank of Ireland as a UCITS in accordance with European Regulations. European Directive no. 2014/91/EU dated 23 July 2014 on UCITS, as amended, established common rules pursuant to the cross-border marketing of UCITS with which they duly comply. This common base does not exclude differentiated implementation. This is why a European UCITS can be sold in France even though its activity does not comply with rules identical to those governing the approval of this type of product in France.The offering of these compartments has been notified to the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF) in accordance with article L214-2-2 of the French Monetary and Financial Code.
For Investors in Germany: The offering of SPDR ETFs by the Companies has been notified to the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) in accordance with section 312 of the German Investment Act. Prospective investors may obtain the current sales Prospectuses, the articles of incorporation, the KIIDs as well as the latest annual and semi-annual report free of charge from State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, Branch in Germany, Brienner Strasse 59, D-80333 Munich. Telephone: +49 (0)89-55878-400. Facsimile: +49 (0)89-55878-440.
Ireland: State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered Number: 49934. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. F: +353 (0)1 776 3300.
Israel: No action has been taken or will be taken in Israel that would permit a public offering of the Securities or distribution of this sales brochure to the public in Israel. This sales brochure has not been approved by the Israel Securities Authority (the ‘ISA’).
Accordingly, the Securities shall only be sold in Israel to an investor of the type listed in the First Schedule to the Israeli Securities Law, 1978, which has confirmed in writing that it falls within one of the categories listed therein (accompanied by external confirmation where this is required under ISA guidelines), that it is aware of the implications of being considered such an investor and consents thereto, and further that the Securities are being purchased for its own account and not for the purpose of re-sale or distribution.
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Nothing in this sales brochure should be considered investment advice or investment marketing as defined in the Regulation of Investment Advice, Investment Marketing and Portfolio Management Law, 1995 (“the Investment Advice Law”). Investors are encouraged to seek competent investment advice from a locally licensed investment advisor prior to making any investment. State Street is not licensed under the Investment Advice Law, nor does it carry the insurance as required of a licensee thereunder.
This sales brochure does not constitute an offer to sell or solicitation of an offer to buy any securities other than the Securities offered hereby, nor does it constitute an offer to sell to or solicitation of an offer to buy from any person or persons in any state or other jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation would be unlawful, or in which the person making such offer or solicitation is not qualified to do so, or to a person or persons to whom it is unlawful to make such offer or solicitation.
Italy: State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, Italy Branch (“State Street Global Advisors Italy”) is a branch of State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited, registered in Ireland with company number 49934, authorised and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland, and whose registered office is at 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. State Street Global Advisors Italy is registered in Italy with company number 11871450968 - REA: 2628603 and VAT number 11871450968, and its office is located at Via Ferrante Aporti, 10 - 20125 Milan, Italy. T: +39 02 32066 100. F: +39 02 32066 155.
For Investors in Luxemburg: The Companies have been notified to the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier in Luxembourg in order to market its shares for sale to the public in Luxembourg and the Companies are notified Undertakings in Collective Investment for Transferable Securities (UCITS).
Netherlands: This communication is directed at qualified investors within the meaning of Section 2:72 of the Dutch Financial Markets Supervision Act (Wet op het financieel toezicht) as amended. The products and services to which this communication relates are only available to such persons and persons of any other description should not rely on this communication. Distribution of this document does not trigger a licence requirement for the Companies or SSGA in the Netherlands and consequently no prudential and conduct of business supervision will be exercised over the Companies or SSGA by the Dutch Central Bank (De Nederlandsche Bank N.V.) and the Dutch Authority for the Financial Markets (Stichting Autoriteit Financiële Markten). The Companies have completed their notification to the Authority Financial Markets in the Netherlands in order to market their shares for sale to the public in the Netherlands and the Companies are, accordingly, investment institutions (beleggingsinstellingen) according to Section 2:72 Dutch Financial Markets Supervision Act of Investment Institutions.
Norway: The offering of SPDR ETFs by the Companies has been notified to the Financial Supervisory Authority of Norway (Finanstilsynet) in accordance with applicable Norwegian Securities Funds legislation. By virtue of a confirmation letter from the Financial Supervisory Authority dated 28 March 2013 (16 October 2013 for umbrella II) the Companies may market and sell their shares in Norway.
For Investors in Spain: State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs Europe I and II plc have been authorised for public distribution in Spain and are registered with the Spanish Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores) under no.1244 and no.1242. Before investing, investors may obtain a copy of the Prospectus and Key Investor Information Documents, the Marketing Memoranda, the fund rules or instruments of incorporation as well as the annual and semi-annual reports of State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs Europe I and II plc from Cecabank, S.A. Alcalá 27, 28014 Madrid (Spain) who is the Spanish Representative, Paying Agent and distributor in Spain or at spdrs.com. The authorised Spanish distributor of State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs is available on the website of the Securities Market Commission (Comisión Nacional del Mercado de Valores).
Switzerland: The collective investment schemes referred to herein are collective investment schemes under Irish law. Prospective investors may obtain the current sales prospectus, the articles of incorporation, the KIID as well as the latest annual and semi-annual reports free of charge from the Swiss Representative and Paying Agent, State Street Bank International GmbH, Munich, Zurich Branch, Beethovenstrasse 19, 8027 Zurich as well as from the main distributor in Switzerland, State Street Global Advisors AG, Beethovenstrasse 19, 8027 Zurich. Before investing please read the prospectus and the KIID, copies of which can be obtained from the Swiss representative, or at ssga.com.
United Kingdom: The Funds have been registered for distribution in the UK pursuant to the UK’s temporary permissions regime under regulation 62 of the Collective Investment Schemes (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. The Funds are directed at 'professional clients' in the UK (as defined in rules made under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000) who are deemed both knowledgeable and experienced in matters relating to investments. The products and services to which this communication relates are only available to such persons and persons of any other description should not rely on this communication. Many of the protections provided by the UK regulatory system do not apply to the operation of the Funds, and compensation will not be available under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme.
This document has been issued by State Street Global Advisors Europe Limited (“SSGAEL”), regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. Registered office address 78 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2. Registered number 145221. T: +353 (0)1 776 3000. Fax: +353 (0)1 776 3300. Web: ssga.com.
SPDR ETFs is the exchange traded funds (“ETF”) platform of State Street Global Advisors and is comprised of funds that have been authorised by Central Bank of Ireland as open-ended UCITS investment companies.
State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs Europe I & II plc issue SPDR ETFs, and is an open-ended investment company with variable capital having segregated liability between its sub-funds. The Company is organised as an Undertaking for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS) under the laws of Ireland and authorised as a UCITS by the Central Bank of Ireland.
All the index performance results referred to are provided exclusively for comparison purposes only. It should not be assumed that they represent the performance of any particular investment.
The information provided does not constitute investment advice as such term is defined under the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (2014/65/EU) or applicable Swiss regulation and it should not be relied on as such. It should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any investment. It does not take into account any investor's or potential investor’s particular investment objectives, strategies, tax status, risk appetite or investment horizon. If you require investment advice you should consult your tax and financial or other professional advisor.All information is from SSGA unless otherwise noted and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy is not guaranteed. There is no representation or warranty as to the current accuracy, reliability or completeness of, nor liability for, decisions based on such information and it should not be relied on as such.
ETFs trade like stocks, are subject to investment risk and will fluctuate in market value. The investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate in value, so that when shares are sold or redeemed, they may be worth more or less than when they were purchased. Although shares may be bought or sold on an exchange through any brokerage account, shares are not individually redeemable from the fund. Investors may acquire shares and tender them for redemption through the fund in large aggregations known as “creation units.” Please see the fund’s prospectus for more details.
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The views expressed in this material are the views of SPDR EMEA Strategy & Research through the period ending 2 September 2021 and are subject to change based on market and other conditions. This document contains certain statements that may be deemed forward-looking statements. Please note that any such statements are not guarantees of any future performance and actual results or developments may differ materially from those projected.
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.
Investing involves risk including the risk of loss of principal.
This information should not be considered a recommendation to invest in a particular sector or to buy or sell any security shown. It is not known whether the sectors or securities shown will be profitable in the future.
Bonds generally present less short-term risk and volatility than stocks, but contain interest rate risk (as interest rates raise, bond prices usually fall); issuer default risk; issuer credit risk; liquidity risk; and inflation risk. These effects are usually pronounced for longer-term securities. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to a substantial gain or loss.
International Government bonds and corporate bonds generally have more moderate short-term price fluctuations than stocks, but provide lower potential long-term returns.
Hedging involves taking offsetting positions intended to reduce the volatility of an asset. If the hedging position behaves differently than expected, the volatility of the strategy as a whole may increase and even exceed the volatility of the asset being hedged.
The returns on a portfolio of securities which exclude companies that do not meet the portfolio's specified ESG criteria may trail the returns on a portfolio of securities which include such companies. A portfolio's ESG criteria may result in the portfolio investing in industry sectors or securities which underperform the market as a whole.
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SPDR ETFs è la piattaforma di exchange traded fund ("ETF") di State Street Global Advisors ed include fondi autorizzati dalle Autorità Europee come fondi aperti d'investimento UCITS. Gli SPDR ETFs potrebbero non essere disponibili o adatti a lei.
Gli ETF sono negoziati come le azioni, sono soggette al rischio d'investimento, il loro valore di mercato fluttua e potrebbero essere negoziati a prezzi superiori od inferiori al loro valore patrimoniale netto. Le commissioni di intermediazione ed i costi dell'ETF ridurranno i rendimenti.
Variazioni sui tassi di cambio possono avere un effetto negativo sul valore, prezzo o rendita dell'investimento. Inoltre non ci sono garanzie che un ETF raggiungerà i suoi obiettivi d'investimento
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Informazioni relative al Messico
Le presenti informazioni non costituiscono e non sono da intendersi come la commercializzazione o l’offerta di titoli e, di conseguenza, non dovrebbero essere interpretate come tali. I Fondi indicati nella presente non sono stati e non saranno registrati ai sensi della legge messicana sul mercato dei valori mobiliari (Ley del Mercado de Valores) e non potranno essere oggetto di offerta pubblica o essere venduti negli Stati Messicani Uniti. La documentazione divulgativa relativa a uno qualsiasi dei suddetti Fondi non può essere distribuita pubblicamente in Messico e le azioni dei Fondi non possono essere scambiate in questo paese.
Si consiglia di procurarsi e leggere i Prospetti e i KIID relativi agli SPDR ETFs prima dell'investimento. Ulteriori informazioni e i prospetti aggiornati/KIID che descrivono le caratteristiche, i costi e i rischi degli SPDR ETFs sono disponibili per i residenti dei Paesi in cui gli SPDR ETFs sono autorizzati alla vendita sul sito spdrs.com o presso l'ufficio di SSGA locale.