Investors Turn To Junk Bonds In Search For Yield

July 1, 2019

CNN reports that investors have begun to look beyond long-term government bonds for yield as speculation grows that the Federal Reserve will reduce interest rates later this month. Voya Financial Chief Investment Officer of Fixed Income Matt Toms believes investors looking for good opportunities should consider some high yield or junk bonds, especially those with B or BB ratings which have outperformed their peers in recent weeks. “These bonds satisfy both a need for yield as well as mitigate any investor apprehension about increasing credit risk,” Toms said.

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Voya’s Tim Kearney Discusses Market Drivers

June 27, 2019

Tim Kearney, Multi-Asset Market Strategist at Voya Investment Management, told Bloomberg Markets: Americas that trade and the Fed are driving his outlook right now. With regard to asset classes, he said: “We think that there’s going to be continuation of the trade discussions, and that will keep equity markets and risk assets with a little bit of a lift following into the Fed a month later.” 

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Voya’s Travis King Discusses AbbVie’s Bid For Allergan

June 25, 2019

Bloomberg reports “AbbVie Inc.’s $63 billion deal for Allergan Plc will take the company’s debt burden to a level that can rival some junk-rated companies.” Voya Investment Management’s Head of Investment-Grade Credit Travis King said, “Debt is cheap so it makes sense from their perspective, and rating agencies are giving them the OK to do that.”

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Voya’s Travis King Comments As Credit Buyers Double Down On BBB Bonds, High-Quality Junk

June 21, 2019

Bloomberg reported “as the Federal Reserve moves closer to expanding the money supply, corporate bond investors are snatching up notes and taking more risk – but not too much more.” Bloomberg said “prices on the lowest-rated investment-grade bonds are jumping, as are the highest-rated junk bonds. While high-yield investors are still favoring relatively safer securities, those that invest in high-grade are reaching for yield in the riskiest part of that market.” Travis King, head of Investment-Grade Credit at Voya Investment Management, said: “It’s been all buyers. Investors are going down the quality spectrum. That means the lower BBBs, the crossovers – stuff that trades wide.” King also “says he thinks the rally could continue, especially as more buyers from outside the U.S. step in.”

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Asset Managers Beginning To De-Risk As Recession Forecasts Grow

June 1, 2019

Voya Investment Management Managing Director and Head of Insurance Solutions John Simone was quoted throughout an A.M. Best article looking at how large asset managers and insurers are planning for a riskier future as the warning signs of an impending recession mount. As markets turn, Simone said, “The greatest risk to the industry is a ratings migration downward, creating the need for more risk-based capital backing investments.” Looking forward, Simone sees private assets as providing better returns than publics, saying, “We favor private assets over public because not only are we getting better yield, but we get better structure. And better structure is really important with where we are in the credit cycle. We like private placements, investment-grade quality private commercial mortgage loans extending into below-investment-grade commercial mortgage loans and lower quality private debt, where we see opportunity. We really want to be able to pounce there when the market turns.”

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Institutional Investors Look To Alternative Investments To Boost Returns

May 27, 2019

Pensions & Investments reports institutional asset owners such as insurance companies “continue to seek new sources of alpha in alternative investments.” As yields on core fixed income assets have fallen in recent years as interest rates decline, insurers have turned to real estate, hedge funds, and other alternative classes, though those teams are often outside the company’s traditional core of expertise. Voya Investment Management Head of Insurance Solutions John Simone said money managers are increasingly building teams to concentrate on the insurance market, saying, “The successful ones will build out a comprehensive solutions team focused on delivering in addition to alpha solutions globally (such as) insurance asset management advisory capabilities, specialized analytics/optimizations, dedicated relationship management and specialized reporting.” However, Simone cautioned that managers must realize the same solutions they are used to in the retirement plan sector will likely not apply to insurers, saying, “the barriers to entry are often higher than many think.”

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Reinhard: Few Signs Of Inflation On The Horizon

May 23, 2019

Voya Investment Management Head of Asset Allocation Barbara Reinhard was on CNBC discussing the recently-released Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting minutes. According to Reinhard, there is little threat of inflation despite a patient Fed. She said, “[I]t’s an accomodative turn from last year, and there’s a high hurdle for the Fed to cut interest rates at this point. That’s why the market has been pricing in a Fed cut at this point – about 40 basis points ... in our view, the signs of inflation just don’t seem to be there.” Reinhard cited the NFIB survey indicating inflation is not a major concern for small businesses, while pointing out that “the Fed has said they would like to see inflation run a little bit above their target to try to hit that target in the long term.”

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Unpacking The Hype, Concerns Around CLOs

May 14, 2019

Voya Financial’s Dave Goodson and Mohamed Basma write in Financial Advisor Magazine that collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) have been “cast as the villain most likely to bring the global economic system to its knees” in the next economic downturn, though Goodson and Basma argue that a better gauge of risk requires “a deep understanding of the different instruments used to gain corporate credit exposure.” 

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Fund Managers Turning Toward Collateralized Debt Obligations Despite Risks

May 2, 2019

Bloomberg reports hedge funds and asset managers “are resurrecting collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) that bundle risky bonds and loans into new, higher-rated securities.” Even though the assets “blew up during the financial crisis,” proponents argue that improved quality of underlying debt means CDOs should be well placed to weather the next economic downturn and drive profits in a down market. Not all investors are convinced CDOs will hold up during the next recession, however, with Voya Investment Management Head of Securitized Products David Goodson saying, “We’re not advocating adding them, generally speaking, in our general accounts. We’ve seen some things that we think are pushing the envelope.”

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