Mar 05, 2019
Equity investors aren’t the only ones who find it hard to resist the thundering herd heading for the exits when markets are volatile. Investors in fixed income products such as corporate and junk bonds may succumb to the same behavioral biases. We spoke to Irena Alagic, fixed income specialist with J.P. Morgan Private Bank, about how these behaviors manifest themselves in today’s bond markets, and the steps investors can take to help protect the wealth of their future selves. Here are some of the highlights:
Remember what you Hired Fixed Income to Do
One reason why investors may look to hold a mix of stocks and bonds is because bonds offer interest income from their coupon payments.
Some argue that fixed income has lost some of its diversification benefits—one reason may be that interest rates are low. But Alagic disagrees. A recent example of this potential for diversification was the performance of leading bond and equity indices in December 2018. The S&P 500 equities index’s monthly return in December was minus 9.18%1, while the Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregated Broad Fixed Income Index’s monthly return in the same period was 1.84%.2
“It’s important to own the appropriate amount of core (high quality, longer-dated) bonds as we get later in the economic cycle, so you can get that benefit if we have more volatility,” she says.
Think Before you Act
Like equities, some investors have a tendency to buy or sell bonds when market volatility is high rather than taking action based on their investment goals... This behavior is so prevalent that behaviorists like Private Bank’s Michael Liersch call it ‘recency bias’. Basically, people are inclined to take what’s happened recently and apply it to the future.
“It should all come back to the reason you bought that asset for your portfolio in the first place, and whether it’s still serving that purpose,” says Alagic.
Don’t Forget the Coupons
One feature of investing investors should take into account is the interest or ‘coupon’ payments they forgo if they sell their fixed income bonds.
“If circumstances have changed for the issuer, then it’s absolutely worth reevaluating whether you should buy or sell their bonds,” says Alagic. “But if you believe the issuer will pay you back and the price dislocation is temporary, then the coupon is ultimately what’s going to help cushion your total return experience.”
Re-evaluate your Riskiest Corporate Bond Holdings
Investors should scrutinize their lowest–rated bond holdings, and determine whether they are comfortable with the creditor protections they provide.
“At some point we are going to have a downturn in credit markets, which have a cycle that closely relates to the economic cycle. During a credit down turn, credit markets usually sell off, default activity picks up and the riskiest borrowers usually see reduced or eliminated access to capital markets,” says Alagic. “At that point, it’s really going to pay to know what you own. You can’t only rely on credit ratings. You really should take a very close look at parts of the market where underwriting standards have deteriorated.”
Reframe your Financial Decision Making
The key takeaway is to revisit what your investment goals are with your financial advisor, to determine if you should take action, or ride out the volatility. In our view, it would be prudent to focus on yourself and not the markets—research suggests that analyzing moment-to-moment market movements can actually diminish returns over the longer-term.
1. S&P Dow Jones Indices: S&P 500 Index, monthly return for December 2018. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. https://ycharts.com/indicators/sp_500_monthly_return. The S&P 500 is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large-cap U.S. equities. There is over $7.8 trillion benchmarked to the index, with index assets comprising approximately $2.2 trillion of this total. The index includes 500 leading companies and captures approximately 80% coverage of available market capitalization.
2. Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index monthly return, for December 2018. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. http://performance.morningstar.com/Perforance/index-c/performance-return.action?t=XIUSA000MC
The Bloomberg Barclays US Aggregate Bond Index is a broad-based flagship benchmark that measures the investment-grade, U.S. dollar-denominated, fixed-rate taxable bond market. The index includes Treasuries, government-related and corporate securities, Mortgage-Backed Securities (MBS), Asset-Backed-Securities (ABS) and Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities (CMBS). https://www.bbhub.io/indices/sites/2/2016/08/2017-02-08-Factsheet-US-Aggregate.pdf
INVESTMENT AND INSURANCE PRODUCTS ARE: • NOT FDIC INSURED • NOT INSURED BY ANY FEDERAL GOVERNMENT AGENCY • NOT A DEPOSIT OR OTHER OBLIGATION OF, OR GUARANTEED BY, JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A. OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES • SUBJECT TO INVESTMENT RISKS, INCLUDING POSSIBLE LOSS OF THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT INVESTED
This material is for information purposes only, and may inform you of certain products and services offered by J.P. Morgan’s wealth management businesses, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPM”). Please read all Important Information.
GENERAL RISKS & CONSIDERATIONS
Any views, strategies or products discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all individuals and are subject to risks. Investors may get back less than they invested, and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss. Nothing in this material should be relied upon in isolation for the purpose of making an investment decision. You are urged to consider carefully whether the services, products, asset classes (e.g. equities, fixed income, alternative investments, commodities, etc.) or strategies discussed are suitable to your needs. You must also consider the objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with an investment service, product or strategy prior to making an investment decision. For this and more complete information, including discussion of your goals/situation, contact your J.P. Morgan representative.
Certain information contained in this material is believed to be reliable; however, JPM does not represent or warrant its accuracy, reliability or completeness, or accept any liability for any loss or damage (whether direct or indirect) arising out of the use of all or any part of this material. No representation or warranty should be made with regard to any computations, graphs, tables, diagrams or commentary in this material, which are provided for illustration/reference purposes only. The views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed in this material constitute our judgment based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. JPM assumes no duty to update any information in this material in the event that such information changes. Views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed herein may differ from those expressed by other areas of JPM, views expressed for other purposes or in other contexts, and this material should not be regarded as a research report. Any projected results and risks are based solely on hypothetical examples cited, and actual results and risks will vary depending on specific circumstances. Forward-looking statements should not be considered as guarantees or predictions of future events.
Nothing in this document shall be construed as giving rise to any duty of care owed to, or advisory relationship with, you or any third party. Nothing in this document shall be regarded as an offer, solicitation, recommendation or advice (whether financial, accounting, legal, tax or other) given by J.P. Morgan and/or its officers or employees, irrespective of whether or not such communication was given at your request. J.P. Morgan and its affiliates and employees do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any financial transactions.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR INVESTMENTS AND POTENTIAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
Conflicts of interest will arise whenever JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. or any of its affiliates (together, “J.P. Morgan”) have an actual or perceived economic or other incentive in its management of our clients’ portfolios to act in a way that benefits J.P. Morgan. Conflicts will result, for example (to the extent the following activities are permitted in your account): (1) when J.P. Morgan invests in an investment product, such as a mutual fund, structured product, separately managed account or hedge fund issued or managed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. or an affiliate, such as J.P. Morgan Investment Management Inc.; (2) when a J.P. Morgan entity obtains services, including trade execution and trade clearing, from an affiliate; (3) when J.P. Morgan receives payment as a result of purchasing an investment product for a client’s account; or (4) when J.P. Morgan receives payment for providing services (including shareholder servicing, recordkeeping or custody) with respect to investment products purchased for a client’s portfolio. Other conflicts will result because of relationships that J.P. Morgan has with other clients or when J.P. Morgan acts for its own account.
Investment strategies are selected from both J.P. Morgan and third-party asset managers and are subject to a review process by our manager research teams. From this pool of strategies, our portfolio construction teams select those strategies we believe fit our asset allocation goals and forward looking views in order to meet the portfolio's investment objective.
As a general matter, we prefer J.P. Morgan managed strategies. We expect the proportion of J.P. Morgan managed strategies will be high (in fact, up to 100 percent) in strategies such as, for example, cash and high-quality fixed income, subject to applicable law and any account-specific considerations.
While our internally managed strategies generally align well with our forward-looking views, and we are familiar with the investment processes as well as the risk and compliance philosophy of the firm, it is important to note that J.P. Morgan receives more overall fees when internally managed strategies are included. We offer the option of choosing to exclude J.P. Morgan managed strategies (other than cash and liquidity products) in certain portfolios.
The Six Circles Funds are U.S.-registered mutual funds managed by J.P. Morgan and sub-advised by third parties. Although considered internally managed strategies, JPMC does not retain a fee for fund management or other fund services.
LEGAL ENTITY, BRAND & REGULATORY INFORMATION
In the United States, bank deposit accounts and related services, such as checking, savings and bank lending, are offered by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and its affiliates (collectively “JPMCB”) offer investment products, which may include bank-managed investment accounts and custody, as part of its trust and fiduciary services. Other investment products and services, such as brokerage and advisory accounts, are offered through J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (“JPMS”), a member of FINRA and SIPC. Annuities are made available through Chase Insurance Agency, Inc. (CIA), a licensed insurance agency, doing business as Chase Insurance Agency Services, Inc. in Florida. JPMCB, JPMS and CIA are affiliated companies under the common control of JPMorgan Chase & Co. Products not available in all states.
In Luxembourg this material is issued by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A (JPMBL), with registered office at European Bank and Business Centre, 6 route de Treves, L-2633, Senningerberg, Luxembourg. R.C.S Luxembourg B10.958. Authorised and regulated by Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and jointly supervised by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the CSSF. J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A. is authorized as a credit institution in accordance with the Law of 5th April 1993. In the United Kingdom, this material is issued by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– London Branch. Prior to Brexit, (Brexit meaning that the UK leaves the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, or, if later, loses its ability to passport financial services between the UK and the remainder of the EEA), J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– London Branch is subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. In the event of Brexit, in the UK, J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– London Branch is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority, subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. In Spain, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A., Sucursal en España, with registered office at Paseo de la Castellana, 31, 28046 Madrid, Spain. J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A., Sucursal en España is registered under number 1516 within the administrative registry of the Bank of Spain and supervised by the Spanish Securities Market Commission (CNMV). In Germany, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A., Frankfurt Branch, registered office at Taunustor 1 (TaunusTurm), 60310 Frankfurt, Germany, jointly supervised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and the European Central Bank (ECB), and in certain areas also supervised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin). In Italy, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– Milan Branch, registered office at Via Cantena Adalberto 4, Milan 20121, Italy and regulated by Bank of Italy and the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB). In addition, this material may be distributed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMCB”), Paris branch, which is regulated by the French banking authorities Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution and Autorité des Marchés Financiers or by J.P. Morgan (Suisse) SA, which is regulated in Switzerland by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
In Hong Kong, this material is distributed by JPMCB, Hong Kong branch. JPMCB, Hong Kong branch is regulated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, we will cease to use your personal data for our marketing purposes without charge if you so request. In Singapore, this material is distributed by JPMCB, Singapore branch. JPMCB, Singapore branch is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Dealing and advisory services and discretionary investment management services are provided to you by JPMCB, Hong Kong/Singapore branch (as notified to you). Banking and custody services are provided to you by JPMCB Singapore Branch. The contents of this document have not been reviewed by any regulatory authority in Hong Kong, Singapore or any other jurisdictions. You are advised to exercise caution in relation to this document. If you are in any doubt about any of the contents of this document, you should obtain independent professional advice. For materials which constitute product advertisement under the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act, this advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore.
J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMCBNA) (ABN 43 074 112 011/AFS Licence No: 238367) is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Material provided by JPMCBNA in Australia is to “wholesale clients” only. For the purposes of this paragraph the term “wholesale client” has the meaning given in section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Please inform us if you are not a Wholesale Client now or if you cease to be a Wholesale Client at any time in the future.
JPMS is a registered foreign company (overseas) (ARBN 109293610) incorporated in Delaware, U.S.A. Under Australian financial services licensing requirements, carrying on a financial services business in Australia requires a financial service provider, such as J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMS), to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), unless an exemption applies. JPMS is exempt from the requirement to hold an AFSL under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) in respect of financial services it provides to you, and is regulated by the SEC, FINRA and CFTC under US laws, which differ from Australian laws. Material provided by JPMS in Australia is to “wholesale clients” only. The information provided in this material is not intended to be, and must not be, distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons in Australia. For the purposes of this paragraph the term “wholesale client” has the meaning given in section 761G of the Act. Please inform us immediately if you are not a Wholesale Client now or if you cease to be a Wholesale Client at any time in the future.
This material has not been prepared specifically for Australian investors. It:
With respect to countries in Latin America, the distribution of this material may be restricted in certain jurisdictions. Receipt of this material does not constitute an offer or solicitation to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it would be unlawful to make such offer or solicitation. To the extent this content makes reference to a fund, the Fund may not be publicly offered in any Latin American country, without previous registration of such fund’s securities in compliance with the laws of the corresponding jurisdiction. Public Offering of any security, including the shares of the Fund, without previous registration at Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission—CVM is completely prohibited. Some products or services contained in the materials might not be currently provided by the Brazilian and Mexican platforms.
References to “J.P. Morgan” are to JPM, its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide. “J.P. Morgan Private Bank” is the brand name for the private banking business conducted by JPM.
This material is intended for your personal use and should not be circulated to or used by any other person, or duplicated for non-personal use, without our permission. If you have any questions or no longer wish to receive these communications, please contact your J.P. Morgan representative.
© 2019 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All rights reserved.