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Agenda  |  Speakers  |  Video

The Advantages of Closed-End Funds
Seeking Income, Finding Value

Seven firms presented at CEFA’s 10th Advisor Summit event, held at K&L Gates in Washington D.C. on May 11. Attendees of the event had the opportunity to network with industry peers, get timely information on the markets and hear ideas on how to incorporate CEFs and BDCs in client portfolios.

The speakers included portfolio managers and CEF experts, covering topics such as the role and benefits of CEFs for today’s investor, strategies for international diversification, expanding income opportunities for clients, and a closer look at BDCs.

Preferred Securities & Closed-End Funds
Doug Baker, Nuveen Asset Management 

Key Takeaways

The Role & Benefits of Closed-End Funds (CEFs) for Today's Investor
• CEFs are designed and built for income, provide access to a range of asset classes and strategies, and offer the opportunity for attractive total returns and active management.

• CEFs offer higher yield through: leverage (used by ¾ of CEFs), fully invested portfolios (fixed pool of securities), wide investible universe (incl. flexibility to hold less liquid investments), and trading discounts (yield relative to market price).

• Managed distributions can help offer smoother, higher cash flow and are unique to CEFs.

• Focus on total return when measuring a CEF’s performance history and reviewing client statements (include both the change in share price and any distributions received during the investment period).

Expand Income Opportunities for Your Clients

Convertible Securities

• Convertibles have provided equity like returns over time with only a portion of the risk, and have outperformed traditional fixed income asset classes.

• Convertible bonds have positive asymmetry versus equities and have historically benefited in a rising interest rate environment. Additionally, they can also benefit in times of rising volatility, when their embedded option increases in value.

• Convertibles have undergone a positive structural transformation but are still an overlooked asset class. CEFs face less liquidity restrictions versus open end funds and ETFs, and may benefit from investing in less liquid, higher returning investments

Preferred Securities
• Depending on the structure, preferred securities can be classified as debt or equity.

• Some of the potential advantages of preferred securities include: attractive yield, low correlation to other asset classes, primarily high-quality, investment-grade securities, and an inefficient market segment (at times, material differences exist between retail and institutional investor valuations of similar preferred securities).

• Since early 2007, the spread between preferred and hybrid securities and corporate bonds has been unusually wide, but despite the difference in yields, the average credit quality of the overall preferred market has been similar to the broad corporate bond market.

A Closer Look at Business Development Companies (BDCs)
• Because of Business Development Companies’ unique managerial structure, BDCs have a very hands-on approach to transactions. 

• As the market has seen reduced capital from traditional lenders like banks – driven by regulation and consolidation – BDCs have benefited, doubling on the marketplace since 2009.

• With approximately 2/3 of BDCs’ assets in floating rate investments and an estimated 60% of their debt liabilities at a fixed rate, BDCs are positioned to benefit from rising interest rates. 

CEF Strategies for International Diversification
• “Home bias” is still prevalent with investors today. Although non-U.S. equities comprised 51% of the global equity market, U.S. investors invested only 27% of their portfolios, on average, in international stocks.

• CEFs offer an efficient way for a long-term investor to pursue greater diversification and provide actively-managed exposure to certain countries and regions (versus investing in an individual stock or an ETF), with the potential to also buy at a discount.
• Because CEFs issue a fixed number of shares, managers can invest for the long term with a stable level of assets. This allows them to remain fully invested over market cycles and to take advantage of opportunities in less liquid securities and markets. 



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