Yes, I have a bias when I write this blog, because I own part of an asset management company that specializes in Canadian High Yield bonds.
However, long before I became involved as a partner at High Rock, I was helping families build balanced and diversified portfolios and came to the realization that in a low return environment, this particular asset class could add an excellent stream of income and also (if the portfolio of high yield securities is well managed) be an important source of strong risk-adjusted returns.
Clearly, the chart shows that, in general, Canadian High Yield bonds represent a better investment than many other asset classes for the relatively low risk and reasonable return (but, as with any asset class, should be only part of a balanced strategy).
Why does it need to be well managed?
High Yield, by definition means that the debt rating agencies have rated these issues as lower than "investment grade", BB or lower (in the cast of most rating agencies), likely because there is increased risk associated with the particular company who has issued the bonds. In turn, the increased risk means that investors want higher yields as protection.
As a result, there is plenty of expertise and due diligence that is required:
Also, most of these issues are not available to individual (non-accredited) investors and are only available in a fund format.
The above table lays out the fact that Canadian High Yield is an asset class unto itself and can be utilized to broaden portfolio diversification.
Also important, this is an asset class that is not necessarily interest rate sensitive and when interest rates start to rise, it is because the economy is strong and that is favourable for the High Yield sector.
A strong economy will mean growth opportunities and the greater potential for a rating upgrade that can offer potential capital appreciation.
All in all, sound arguments for further diversifying a portfolio with Canadian High Yield bonds.
Scott Tomenson,CIM Managing Partner, Chief Investment Strategist