Investment Memo

The Rise

For most of the last two years, fixed income investors have strived to understand a future with higher interest rates. Or more accurately, to understand the journey to higher rates. For many, the seemingly endless quest to stress test their portfolio holdings under various rising rate assumptions, so called “scenario analysis,” has stirred debate about their own future as investors dedicated to the notion of holding securities with fixed rates of return as part of their overall portfolio. While prudent and useful, the wide variety of variables, assumptions and inputs necessary for these exercises along with the shortcomings of many scenario models has resulted in largely inconclusive findings. Far more difficult to achieve is gaining a clear consensus of how fiduciaries will react to negative returns on one of the most conservative portions of their portfolios. With many “risk on” investments reaching new highs on a weekly basis, it is particularly important and timely for investors to revisit their expectations for the performance of their fixed income allocations in the face of rising rates. This is especially true now as the potential for prudent reallocations to these commitments will be a topic for many investment boards and their advisors as they meet to review annual performance of their investment portfolios.