Van Eck Global's Market Vectors exchange traded fund division launched the first "fallen angels" corporate debt ETF Wednesday.
According to a press release, the Market Vectors Fallen Angel High Yield Bond ETF (ANGL) is designed to follow the U.S. dollar denominated Fallen Angels segment of the corporate high-yield bond market, which makes up 15% of all U.S. dollar denominated high-yield bonds.
Bonds considered as Fallen Angels were originally given an investment grade ratings between AAA and BBB-, but have since been designated non-investment grade, speculative grade or junk status as the issuing company fell on hard times. This is not to be confused with other junk bonds that originally came with a speculative, non-investment grade rating upon issuance.
ANGL tries to reflect the performance of the BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. Fallen Angel High Yield Index, which includes below investment-grade corporate bonds that were rated investment grade at the time of issuance but have since been demoted.
The new fund holds non-investment grade Fallen Angel securities, with ratings of BB 72.2%, B 19.3%, CCC 7.6%, CC 0.8% and C 0.1%.
Sector allocations include: basic industry 11.4%, autos 6.3%, industrial services 5.8%, media 3.1%, capital goods 1.7%, consumer non-cyclical 0.5%, telecom 13.8%, healthcare 1.8%, consumer cyclical 6.8%, energy 8.7%, technology 1.0%, real estate 1.7%, banking 25.1%, financial services 5.4%, insurance 2.5% and utilities 4.3%.
The ETF has an average yield to worst of 7.48%, an average modified duration of 5.49 years and an average coupon rate of 6.79%. The fund holds 396 securities and has an expense ratio of 0.40%.
Fallen Angel include prominent American brands like Ford (F), JC Penney (JCP) and The New York Times Company (NYT). These issuers typically have better debt profiles, more financing flexibility and are larger or more established than original high-yield issuers. Additionally, Fallen Angels occupy the top end of the high-yield market, and according to Moody's, may be considered for debt upgrades in the future.
"Although they were downgraded from investment grade status, many Fallen Angel issuers still retain a capital structure similar to investment grade issuers, which may enable Fallen Angel issuers to enjoy greater financing flexibility than original issue high yield issuers," Fran Rodilosso, Fixed Income Portfolio Manager at Van Eck, said in the pres release.
"Many investors overlook Fallen Angels, but historical data shows that in six of the past nine years ending 2011, the U.S. dollar denominated Fallen Angels, as represented by The BofA Merrill Lynch U.S. Fallen Angel High Yield Index, have outperformed general U.S. dollar denominated corporate high yield bonds, as represented by The Barclays Capital high Yield Very Liquid Index," Rodilosso added.
Max Chen contributed to this article.