The Benefits of a Diversified Bond Portfolio

See how the year-to-year movement of the bond markets demonstrate the importance of maintaining a diversified portfolio.

Bond investors can choose from a broad, global array of sectors, each of which offers a distinct risk/return profile.

What this chart shows
This “quilt” chart ranks the annual returns of a wide range of bond sectors, from best to worst, over the last decade. Performance has varied widely, with no single sector dominating year after year.

What it means for investors
Maintaining a diversified bond portfolio can help investors prepare for shifts in the economy and interest rates, allowing them to capture opportunities while also minimizing the risks of overconcentration.

Related Videos

Reset All


Data as of 30 September 2016. • T-bills represented by the Citigroup 3-Month T-Bill Index, an index of 3-month Treasury bills. Short Treasuries represented by the BofA Merrill Lynch 1–3 Year Treasury Index, an index consisting of U.S. Treasury obligations having maturities from 1 to 2.99 years. High yield represented by the BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield BB-B Rated Index, an unmanaged market index composed of various fixed income securities rated BB and B. Mortgages represented by the Barclays Mortgage Backed Securities Index, which is composed of mortgage-backed pass-through securities of Ginnie Mae (GNMA), Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC). Investment grade corporate bonds represented by the Barclays U.S. Credit Index, which tracks publicly issued, fixed rate, non-convertible investment grade corporate debt. n BAGG, the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index, represents the domestic investment grade fixed rate, taxable bond market. Intermediate Treasuries represented by the Barclays Intermediate Treasury Index, which is composed of Treasury bonds with maturities between 1 and 9.9 years. Foreign (hedged) represented by the J.P. Morgan GBI Global ex. U.S. Index Hedged in USD, an unmanaged index representative of the total return performance in U.S. dollars of major non-U.S. bond markets. Municipals represented by the Barclays Municipal Index, which tracks investment grade tax-exempt fixed rate municipal bonds with maturities greater than 2 years. Long Treasuries represented by the Barclays Long-Term Treasury Index, which is composed of Treasury bonds with maturities greater than 10 years. Emerging markets represented by the J.P. Morgan Emerging Markets Bond Index Global, which tracks total return for U.S. dollar-denominated debt instruments issued by selected emerging market countries. U.S. TIPS represented by the Barclays U.S. TIPS Index, an index made up of U.S. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities. Global (unhedged) represented by the J.P. Morgan GBI Global Unhedged Index, an unmanaged market index representative of the total return performance in U.S. dollars on an unhedged basis of major world bond markets. Bank Loans represented by Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) Leveraged Loan Index, which tracks the performance of senior floating rate bank loans. It is not possible to invest directly in an unmanaged index.

A word about risk: 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 is 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. Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) are ILBs issued by the U.S. government. Bank loans are often less liquid than other types of debt instruments and general market and financial conditions may affect the prepayment of bank loans, as such the prepayments cannot be predicted with accuracy. There is no assurance that the liquidation of any collateral from a secured bank loan would satisfy the borrower’s obligation, or that such collateral could be liquidated. Income from municipal bonds may be subject to state and local taxes and at times the alternative minimum tax. Mortgage- and asset-backed securities may be sensitive to changes in interest rates, subject to early repayment risk, and while generally supported by a government, government-agency or private guarantor, there is no assurance that the guarantor will meet its obligations. Diversification does not ensure against loss.

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. No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without written permission. PIMCO is a trademark of Allianz Asset Management of America L.P. in the United States and throughout the world. PIMCO Investments LLC, distributor, 1633 Broadway, New York, NY 10019 is a company of PIMCO. © 2016 PIMCO