Review: Managing Fixed Income Portfolios in a Rising Interest Rate Environment
What strategies can they use when the positive conditions for bonds start to change?
In this final talk of the autumn term, Andy Bevan of Fulcrum Asset Management talked us through his view of the fixed income market.
He explained that for basically his whole career, there have been benign conditions for bonds, primarily in terms of inflation and interest rates (both the levels and volatility). His view was that many "star" fixed income managers were possibly not that talented and had simply benefited from these conditions...
Andy then moved onto what the options are if and when those conditions start to change. What I took away from his presentation was that for managers who are constrained by benchmarks, life could get very difficult indeed. The cost of purchasing insurance (puts) will be prohibitive. However, for unconstrained managers who can go short as well as long, it should still be possible to make reasonable risk adjusted returns for investors.
Andy also shared some very interesting thoughts on careers. His view was that the conventional perception that sales and trading or work on the sell side was the most glamorous area of finance is no longer true. In fact there are many interesting and challenging jobs on the buy-side, and often research roles can be as fulfilling as front office roles. Note that this view is based on his experience in both the buy-side and sell-side, AND on the trading floor and in research and portfolio manager roles - so it is telling that he has come to these conclusions.
Thanks to Andy for a great talk, and for taking the time to mingle with students afterwards.