December 2014: Fixed Income Funds

The December 2014 Advisor Monitor Report examines firms’ fixed income-related resources, including both advisor-only sales resources and educational material ready for investors to view.

Asset managers have long offered bond funds. News of abrupt management changes at one of the largest bond providers and a looming interest rate hike have garnered a heightened interest in fixed income funds. Investors expect advisors to present adequate investment information, and to address any and all questions or concerns that may arise pertaining to fixed income funds. All 19 advisor firms in our coverage group address fixed income investing topics, strategies and product information to some extent. Specifically, this report looks at the following criteria:

  • Promotion and Presentation of Content
  • Educational Resources
  • Thought Leadership and Commentary

Most firms (nearly 57%) promote their fixed income resources directly on the advisor site homepage. Commentaries related to fed policy, interest rates and bond investing strategies, are most commonly advertised on the homepage. Some firms also promote their respective bond funds. Beyond commentaries promoted on the homepage, these text-based resources are firms’ most common method of disseminating fixed income information, whether timely topics (e.g., potential interest rate hikes in early 2015) or general investing information.

Fixed income resources are also popular on specific areas of the advisor site, including dedicated sections or microsites, offered by seven firms. Topics on these sections or sites generally focus on broad investing strategies or common issues affecting bond markets (e.g., inflation). Two firms, however, dedicate their respective sections to promoting bond funds.

Fixed income resources available only to advisors or client-ready materials that address bonds are common to 80% of firms in this report. These firms cover a range of topics, from specific products to investing ideas, through downloadable PDF documents, guides, brochures and seminars. Some of the most comprehensive fixed income resources available to advisors are provided within firms’ literature sections.

We discovered the following key findings in our analysis:

  • Seven firms provide microsites or dedicated sections as a way of promoting fixed income resources.
  • White papers that address fixed income investing strategies and risks are also quite common, found in over one third (37%) of advisor sites that we reviewed.
  • Nearly 80% of advisor sites that we reviewed offer some resources – PDF guides, seminars, etc. – that cover a range of bond market topics.
  • Only five firms allow users to filter for commentaries by “fixed income” or related topic.
  • Seven firms issue regular publications (either monthly or quarterly) that focus on the fixed income space, bond market specific bond sectors.