Many fixed income investors are watching global economic developments (government bond yields at dramatic lows, the Federal Reserve poised to start hiking rates later this year) and evaluating ways to manage the risk that a rising rate environment could erode their bond allocations.

We would argue that this fear of duration is often misplaced, especially over the longer term, as investors tend to get rewarded for taking duration risk, even if rates go up (please see the February 2015 Viewpoint,The Case for Duration in the Long Run”). But for clients who do want to take duration risk, we broadly speaking see three strategies, each with a different risk and return profile:

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The Author

Jeroen van Bezooijen

Product Manager, EMEA Client Solutions and Analytics

Berdibek Ahmedov

Product Strategist, Global and Real Return


Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results. All investments contain risk and may lose value. Investing in the bond market is subject to risks, including market, interest rate, issuer, credit, inflation risk, and liquidity risk. The value of most bonds and bond strategies are impacted by changes in interest rates. Bonds and bond strategies with longer durations tend to be more sensitive and volatile than those with shorter durations; bond prices generally fall as interest rates rise, and the current low interest rate environment increases this risk. Current reductions in bond counterparty capacity may contribute to decreased market liquidity and increased price volatility. Bond investments may be worth more or less than the original cost when redeemed. Investing in foreign-denominated and/or -domiciled securities may involve heightened risk due to currency fluctuations, and economic and political risks, which may be enhanced in emerging markets. High yield, lower-rated securities involve greater risk than higher-rated securities; portfolios that invest in them may be subject to greater levels of credit and liquidity risk than portfolios that do not. Inflation-linked bonds (ILBs) issued by a government are fixed income securities whose principal value is periodically adjusted according to the rate of inflation; ILBs decline in value when real interest rates rise. Derivatives may involve certain costs and risks, such as liquidity, interest rate, market, credit, management and the risk that a position could not be closed when most advantageous. Investing in derivatives could lose more than the amount invested. Diversification does not ensure against loss. There is no guarantee that these investment strategies will work under all market conditions or are suitable for all investors and each investor should evaluate their ability to invest long-term, especially during periods of downturn in the market. Investors should consult their investment professional prior to making an investment decision.

The PIMCO Model used as a representation of EM Low Duration Debt is a basket of emerging market securities that mature in or around 2018.  This model was created by PIMCO as a benchmark for EM portfolios managed in a similar strategy. The model does not represent the portfolio characteristics or performance of an actual account. Security selection is based on PIMCO proprietary research and is created with the benefit of hindsight. No representation is being made that any account, product, or strategy will or is likely to achieve profits, losses, or results similar to those shown.

Hypothetical and simulated examples have many inherent limitations and are generally prepared with the benefit of hindsight. There are frequently sharp differences between simulated results and the actual results. There are numerous factors related to the markets in general or the implementation of any specific investment strategy, which cannot be fully accounted for in the preparation of simulated results and all of which can adversely affect actual results. No guarantee is being made that the stated results will be achieved.

Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index represents securities that are SEC-registered, taxable, and dollar denominated. The index covers the U.S. investment grade fixed rate bond market, with index components for government and corporate securities, mortgage pass-through securities, and asset-backed securities. These major sectors are subdivided into more specific indices that are calculated and reported on a regular basis. The Barclays Global Aggregate Credit Index is the credit component of the Barclays Aggregate Index.  The Barclays Aggregate Index is a subset of the Global Aggregate Index, and contains investment grade credit securities from the U.S. Aggregate, Pan-European Aggregate, Asian-Pacific Aggregate, Eurodollar, 144A and Euro-Yen indices.  The Barclays Global Aggregate Index covers the most liquid portion of the global investment grade fixed-rate bond-market, including government, credit and collateralized securities.  The liquidity constraint for all securities in the index is $300 million.  Barclays Global Aggregate Credit 1-5 Year Index is a sub-set of the Barclays Global Aggregate Credit Index. The index is denominated in U.S. dollars. The Barclays World Government Inflation-Linked All Maturities Bond Index measures the performance of the major government inflation-linked bond markets. The index is designed to include only those markets in which a global government linker fund is likely to invest. This makes investability a key criterion for inclusion in the index. Markets currently included in the index (in the order of age) are, the UK (1981), Australia (1985), Canada (1991), Sweden (1994), U.S. (1997), France (1998) and Italy (2003). The Barclays World Government Inflation Linked Bond 1-5yr Index is a sub-set of the Barclays World Government Inflation-Linked All Maturities Bond Index. The BofA Merrill Lynch Global High Yield BB-B Rated 2% Constrained Index tracks the performance of below investment grade bonds of below investment grade bonds of corporate issuers domiciled in countries having an investment grade foreign currency long term debt rating (based on a composite of Moody's, S&P, and Fitch). The index includes bonds denominated in U.S. dollars, Canadian dollars, sterling, euro (or euro legacy currency), but excludes all multicurrency denominated bonds. Bonds must be rated below investment grade but at least B3 based on a composite of Moody's, S&P, and Fitch. Qualifying bonds are capitalization-weighted provided the total allocation to an individual issuer (defined by Bloomberg tickers) does not exceed 2%. Issuers that exceed the limit are reduced to 2% and the face value of each of their bonds is adjusted on a pro-rata basis. Similarly, the face value of bonds of all other issuers that fall below the 2% cap are increased on a pro-rata basis. The index is re-balanced on the last calendar day of the month. The inception date of the index is December 31, 1997. The BofA Merrill Lynch 0-5 Year US High Yield Constrained Index tracks the performance of short-term U.S. dollar denominated below investment grade corporate debt issued in the U.S. domestic market with less than five years remaining term to final maturity, a fixed coupon schedule and a minimum amount outstanding of $100 million, issued publicly. Allocations to an individual issuer will not exceed 2%. The JPMorgan Emerging Markets Bond Index Global is an unmanaged index which tracks the total return of U.S.-dollar-denominated debt instruments issued by emerging market sovereign and quasi-sovereign entities: Brady Bonds, loans, Eurobonds, and local market instruments. It is not possible to invest directly in an unmanaged index.

This material contains the opinions of the author but not necessarily those of PIMCO and such opinions are subject to change without notice. This material has been distributed for informational purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. PIMCO and YOUR GLOBAL INVESTMENT AUTHORITY are trademarks or registered trademarks of Allianz Asset Management of America L.P. and Pacific Investment Management Company LLC, respectively, in the United States and throughout the world. ©2015, PIMCO.