Stability

Target reliable returns, even in times of market volatility.

Life can be unpredictable, but your clients’ municipal portfolios don’t have to be. For investors seeking to maximize tax-exempt income while minimizing portfolio volatility, we can help limit price fluctuations in their portfolios by carefully structuring portfolios that are less sensitive to rising interest rates. With the Stability strategy, our municipal bond experts target investment returns that will hold steady, even if the market does not.

Read on to explore what kind of investor is interested in our Stability strategy as well as to see and compare how changes in interest rates will affect expected returns for both the market and for our Stability strategy, over the next 12 months. You’ll also find pertinent statistics, access to the Stability fact sheets, and answers to frequently asked questions about this strategy.

Investor Profile

Suitable for Clients Focused on Stable Returns

Stability Features

When Minimizing Volatility Is Crucial

Rest easy. Stability portfolios are structured to maximize tax-exempt income while maintaining low volatility. As such, investors in this strategy can expect overall positive returns if, over the course of 12 months, interest rates increase by 100 basis points (bps) and no more than a 1-percent decrease in portfolio value if interest rates decrease by 200 bps over the same period.

In order to adhere to this dual mandate, portfolio structures may vary from short- to intermediate-term average duration.

With low portfolio volatility and investment in well-known obligor-securities of the highest credit quality, Stability portfolios generally have little correlation to riskier asset classes such as equities.

Stability Key Statistics

Key Statistics
  Composite Benchmark
Quality
Average Credit Quality

Ready to Get Started?

If the Stability strategy objectives and performance data align with your client’s investment objectives, we invite you to take the next step and request a portfolio review, so our Advisory Services team can open a new account for your client as soon as possible:
OR
If the objectives of the Stability strategy do not match your municipal investment goals, please complete a quick questionnaire, which will allow us to help you find the strategy that is right for you:

Frequently Asked Questions

Have Questions? We Have Answers.


HOW SHOULD I EXPECT THIS STRATEGY TO PERFORM IF INTEREST RATES RISE TOMORROW?

Our Stability strategy focuses on maximizing yield while limiting downside risk in adverse interest rate environments. To achieve this objective, we manage the strategy to achieve the following interest-rate sensitivity mandates:

  • Positive annual total returns if interest rates rise by +100 basis points
  • Losses in a given year of no greater than -1.00% if interest rates rise by +200 basis points.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE THIS STRATEGY'S LOW VOLATILITY MANDATE IS MET?

On a daily basis, we determine the ideal mix of municipal bond structures that would maximize Stability portfolio yield while ensuring that our mandate — positive annual total returns if interest rates rise by +100 basis points and losses in a given year of no greater than -1.00% if interest rates rise by +200 basis points — is being met. Having then modeled the ideal low volatility portfolio, the investable universe for Stability portfolios is limited to the ideal mix of municipal bond structures identified each day, with portfolio managers targeting purchases within a specified yield range for each municipal bond structure.


HOW DO YOU SPECIFY THE TARGET YIELD RANGE FOR BONDS PURCHASED IN THIS STRATEGY?

In determining the target yield range for municipal bond structures purchased for Stability portfolios, we take into account the major components of each bond’s total return — namely, yield (i.e., income return) and the inverse relationship between interest rates and the bond value (i.e., price return). Having set a limit for allowable downside risk, we identify the lower and higher bounds of the target yield range by determining the lowest and highest possible yields that would still enable Stability portfolios to generate positive total annual returns if interest rates rise by +100 basis points and to minimize losses if interest rates rise by +200 basis points, so they are no greater than -1.00% in a given year.


WHAT IS THE CREDIT QUALITY OF OBLIGOR-SECURITIES HELD IN STABILITY PORTFOLIOS?

Because our aim is to provide steady returns and minimize volatility in this strategy, our credit research team takes great care to select only municipal bonds backed by well-known obligors with very high credit quality, so investors do not take on any undue credit risk. As part of their fundamental credit research process for bonds held in this strategy as well as in our other strategies, our credit research team analyzes all material risks that may indicate a borrower’s ability and willingness to repay a bond, including environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. The average credit quality of bonds managed under the Stability strategy has historically been AA/Aa2.


WHY DOES THE AVERAGE DURATION FOR THIS STRATEGY FLUCTUATE?

In order to minimize portfolio volatility and meet the aforementioned dual mandate in different interest rate environments, average duration for this strategy will fluctuate. In looking to minimize downside risk, we may invest in shorter-duration bonds at times when income return (yield) is too low to offset potential negative price return; at these times, Stability portfolios may have a lower average portfolio duration.

To see how our Stability portfolios are currently structured relative to our other strategies, including our laddered municipal bond portfolios, please compare our strategies.


HOW DO YOU MEASURE RELATIVE PERFORMANCE OF A STRATEGY WITH VARIABLE DURATION?

Whereas benchmark indices typically maintain a constant duration, the overall duration profile of the Stability strategy will vary depending on the interest rate environment. As a result of the Stability strategy’s flexible duration, we measure this strategy’s performance relative to both a short-term benchmark index (i.e., Merrill Lynch 1-2 Year U.S. Municipal Securities Index) and an intermediate-term benchmark index (i.e., Barclays 1-10 Year Muni Bond Index Blend (1-12)), which provide a range for comparison.


SHOULD I VIEW THIS STRATEGY AS A SOURCE OF QUICK LIQUIDITY?

While a consistently short-term municipal strategy might be viewed as a source of quick liquidity, this more dynamic strategy provides a fair degree of liquidity. Although this strategy is intended for “buy and hold” investors who own municipal bonds as long-term investments rather than for liquidity management, we recognize that you may at times wish or need to sell your municipal bonds prior to their stated maturity date. To ensure that your cash is accessible when you need it and at a price that prevents or minimizes loss, we focus on individual bond and overall portfolio structure, credit quality, and market perception of bond value.

If you are looking for a strategy that provides even greater liquidity, please see our liquidity management solutions.


READY TO GET STARTED?
To learn more about how we can customize portfolios to meet investors' specific investment objectives, please contact our Advisory Services team by calling (858) 436-2200 or by emailing AdvisoryServices@gurtin.com.