Stay Away from Western Asset, Stick with TIPS

Includes: TIP, WIW
by: David Neubert

Inflation protected fund? Think again. Michael Katz from finds Western Asset/Claymore U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities Fund (NYSE:WIW) ($11.57) changing the nature of its inflation protected securities fund to allow it to hold 40% junk bonds.

You thought you were buying a portfolio of inflation-linked TIPS but here they go and change the fund on you. Maybe you bought the $797 million Western Asset/Claymore U.S. Treasury Inflation Protected Securities Fund 2 at a 10% discount to its Net Asset Value (which is about where it is trading now), only to get the strategy changed on you. I owned this fund for myself and one of my friends a couple of years ago. I sold it out in favor of the index fund related ETF, iShares Lehman TIPS Bond (NYSEARCA:TIP) ($97.96) over a year ago because of the huge fee differential. I'm glad I did and I'll be sure fees aren't the only reason to stay away from closed-end funds managed by Western Asset Management. Of course, there is always a discount to net asset value that a closed-end fund can offer me to make me buy at some point.

Disclosure: I bought WIW in January of 2006 and sold it in May and October of that same year. I own TIP for myself, my mother, and a couple friends. Currently it should make the fixed income cornerstone of any inflation fearful investor.