Bond funds cash holdings surge


Maybe more worried about having cash on hand to meet redemptions than beating their benchmark, bond fund managers have taken cash levels up to 7.6% of AUM at the end of March vs. 3% four years earlier.

Times have changed in fixed-income land - banks have cut thousands from trade desks and shrunk their books of inventory, making it harder for debt managers to exit positions and raising the chance of far more price volatility should there come a rush to sell.

Fund performance is being punished: The broad U.S. bond market up 3.2% this year - the best gains since 2010, according to BAML. Non-traditional bond funds - in which managers have flexibility to decide where to  invest - are ahead just 1.7%.

Broad bond ETFs: AGG, BOND, BND, BSV, BIV, BLV, SCHZ, LAG, BYLD, SAGG, ISTB, DI, ILTB, GBF, GVI, MINC, LDUR, FWDB, AGND, AGZD

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