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The views expressed are those of the authors at the time of writing. Other teams may hold different views and make different investment decisions. The value of your investment may become worth more or less than at the time of original investment. While any third-party data used is considered reliable, its accuracy is not guaranteed. For professional, institutional, or accredited investors only.
Today’s fixed income allocators face a variety of challenges: still-low interest rates, tight credit spreads, increased market fragility, and ever-present liquidity concerns. Growing investor liabilities and spending needs demand reliable fixed income diversification and a more consistent portfolio return profile.
We believe investors can benefit from having an “all-weather” credit portfolio composed of multiple building blocks.
We believe an outcome-oriented, “all-weather” credit (AWC) approach that encompasses public, private, and alternative credit investments may help allocators meet these challenges and navigate a wide range of economic and market environments, including unexpected cycles and bouts of volatility. In our view, such an approach to credit investing can enable investors to potentially earn attractive total returns during periods of tight spreads, while remaining positioned to take advantage of market dislocations, exogenous shocks, and shifts in the credit cycle — in short, a durable credit portfolio that is robust and resilient enough to “weather” the inevitable ups and downs of credit investing.
How to design and construct such a portfolio? By using the building blocks of diversified public credit, private credit, and long/short credit, we believe asset owners can most effectively capture the greatest risk premia1 in the most predictable fashion throughout the different stages of the credit cycle. This is important because credit investing, by definition, seeks to achieve total returns by harnessing risk and (at times) liquidity premia — spreads and returns that are higher, ideally meaningfully higher, than realized losses. These premia are dynamic by nature, moving through various credit sectors and frequently changing in scope and scale over time (Figure 1).
At the highest level, we suggest that allocators adhere to the following guiding principles when setting out to build an AWC portfolio:
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1A risk premium is the investment return an asset is expected to generate in excess of the risk free rate of return, as typically represented by US Treasury bills.