Beyond Ladders

Often seen through the lens of active vs. laddered bond portfolios, the asset management industry has long been consumed by the active vs. passive debate. We believe active management has certain inherent advantages.

Review and
Outlook

March 2019

“While most of the economic picture remains solid, two concerning trends merit close attention…”

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February 2019

“We discussed California’s pending leadership transition in June 2018 (“California: Credit Reflections as a New Era Approaches”) and it is now upon us with Governor Newsom releasing his first budget proposal. The $209 billion spending plan reflects fiscal restraint with 3% projected revenue growth…but also includes an expansion of funding into several “one time” programs that could introduce recurring obligations…”

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January 2019

“With Congress unable to pass a bill with Trump’s desired $5.6B for a border wall, and with the President currently refusing to back down, some creativity may be required to pass a spending bill. . . Resolution (to the shutdown) is important to settling highly volatile markets, as the current impasse will shave 0.1% off of GDP every two weeks according to the Council of Economic Advisors, while also dampening appetite for risk assets…”

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December 2018

“With nominal yields rising, the 10-Yr AAA muni ended November at 2.51% vs. 1.98% at the beginning of 2018.  With increased 2019 issuance likely, we anticipate good opportunities to put assets to work.  We also see an environment conducive to moving up in credit quality…”

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Economic and
Market Commentary

02.25.2019

Beyond Ladders:
Attributes of Active Management

“In the tax-exempt markets, the debate is often seen through the lens of active vs. laddered bond strategies, particularly with separately managed accounts.  While there are merits to both approaches, and they appeal to different investor needs, we believe active management has certain inherent advantages…”

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01.17.2019

Opportunity Zones: An Overlooked Impetus for Municipal Credit Enhancement

“As capital flows into Opportunity Zones, we are actively looking for localities with the best prospects … Weeding through Opportunity Zone tracts early in their evolution offers our research team an ability to identify municipal issuers with overlooked future credit prospects…”

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11.20.2018

Special Tax Bonds:
Scrutinize Parents, Not Just Their Offspring

“Sometimes it’s prudent to dig more deeply, whether evaluating the risk of a child’s credit application, or a special purpose bond offering…Lending to the “child” without scrutiny of the “parent” is imprudent in our view…”

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06.30.2018

Duration Decision-Making:
Opportunities and Considerations

“Despite 10Yr Treasuries already more than doubling off their 2016 lows, many foresee continued upward pressure over time should the expansion remain intact. . . “

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Quarterly
Perspectives

Q4 2018

High Drama in Washington:
Policy Heroines or Unfolding Greek Tragedy?

“Outside of a cottage industry of Fed watchers, people do not wait with bated breath for Fed speeches and Policy Minutes releases. Accepting this reality, today’s policy drama may best be envisioned as a plot summary to a gritty film noir drama…”

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Q3 2018

A Long Winning Season Forges Ahead

“Hall of Fame catcher and noted baseball sage Yogi Berra famously quipped, ‘It ain’t over till it’s over.’ His aphorism is usually taken as a never-say-die rallying cry for underdogs and longshots, but it’s also good advice when you’re riding the highs of a winning streak…”

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Q2 2018

Reading Markets and Emotions

“While investment markets, unlike novels, have no natural beginning or end, we feel clear parallels can be drawn, most notably the importance of focusing on the broader narrative rather than whatever short-term story is currently in vogue. . . “

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Video Briefs

March 2019

Portfolio Transition Analysis: Facilitating Informed Decisions

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March 2019

Beyond Ladders: Attributes of Active Management

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