Investment Income CPD Course  

Understanding current trends in income

  • To understand what is driving trends in the sovereign debt market.
  • To be able to explain differences in spreads between types of bonds.
  • To understand how managers are finding opportunities in fixed income and equity income.
Understanding current trends in income


If income is a requirement in a client's portfolio, then it is vital to understand what is driving the trends in income at the moment.

In the past, bonds have been relied upon, both by portfolio managers and advisers, to deliver the income asked for by clients. 

But the central banks' pursuit of accommodative monetary policy has distorted fixed income markets since the financial crisis, prompting investors, in many cases, to look further afield for yield.

Now the developed markets are entering a period of rising interest rates and inflation, income from traditional asset classes faces a further set of challenges.

Equity income is an ever popular asset class, long favoured by advisers' clients and a common allocation in an investment portfolio.

Carl Stick, manager of the Rathbone Income fund, says in theory he should be able to find income anywhere.

"However, the issue is the quality of this income, and this is determined by the sustainability and predictability of the underlying earnings, and the price that we are willing to pay for these qualities," he acknowledges. 

"We have long expressed this as a balance between business and financial risk on one side of the equation, and price risk on the other. It is this tension which informs, at any one time, our tactical positioning.

"At the start of 2018, this equation is very finely balanced, as central banks worldwide commence a journey away from the very accommodating policies of the years succeeding the Global Financial Crisis. This cusp of ‘something different’ has profound implications for investors in all assets classes."

The articles in this guide will look at the global sovereign debt market and what is driving opportunities in this market, and will consider how to understand the spreads between corporate, high yield and sovereigns. Where are equity income managers finding income and where are fixed income managers finding income and how do these strategies typically differ in exposure?

Finally, the guide will cover how to use alternative income streams within an income portfolio and some of the risks of doing so. 

This special report is worth an indicative 60 minutes of CPD.

The following have contributed to this special report: Andrew Jackson, head of fixed income at Hermes Investment Management; Jordan Sriharan, head of fund research and senior portfolio manager at Thomas Miller Investment; Bryn Jones, manager of the Rathbone Ethical Bond fund and assistant manager Noelle Cazalis; Matthew Yeates, investment manager at Seven Investment Management; Peter Elston, chief investment officer at Seneca Investment Managers; Richard Turnill, global chief investment strategist at BlackRock; Chris Iggo, chief investment officer, fixed income at Axa Investment Managers; Darius McDermott, managing director at FundCalibre; Nancy Curtin, chief investment officer at Close Brothers Asset Management; Hannah Strasser, managing director at Sky Harbor Capital Management; Anthony Rayner, co-manager of the Miton Cautious Monthly Income fund; Andrew Morgan, portfolio manager of Alpha:r2 at Walker Crips; Carl Stick, manager of the Rathbone Income fund; Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell; Jamie Richard, partner at Foresight Group; Investment Association; AJ Bell; Foresight Group.

Ellie Duncan is deputy content plus editor at FTAdviser

In this special report


Please answer the six multiple choice questions below in order to bank your CPD. Multiple attempts are available until all questions are correctly answered.

  1. According to Mr Sriharan, low inflation in the post-crisis period has done what?

  2. Mr Jackson suggests that any recent volatility in the bond markets has done what?

  3. Mr McDermott says if the spread is wide, you are being compensated for what?

  4. Ms Strasser thinks lower quality high-yield remains in a position to do what?

  5. What does Mr Morgan believe has been a clear trend over the past decade?

  6. Advisers are becoming increasingly familiar with what, according to Mr Richard?

Nearly There…

You have successfully answered all the questions correctly, well done!

You should now know…

  • To understand what is driving trends in the sovereign debt market.
  • To be able to explain differences in spreads between types of bonds.
  • To understand how managers are finding opportunities in fixed income and equity income.

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