Skip directly to Accessibility Notice
  • Guided Allocation

    Happily Clipping Coupons

    David Schassler, Portfolio Manager
    January 27, 2020
     

    The VanEck Vectors® Municipal Allocation ETF (MAAX) tactically allocates among VanEck municipal bond ETFs based on interest rate and credit opportunities to seek capital appreciation plus tax-exempt income. It uses a data-driven, rules-based process that leverages technical and macroeconomic indicators to guide credit and duration exposure, seeking to avoid market risks when appropriate. The expanded PDF version of this commentary can be downloaded here. 

    Overview

    2019 was a strong year for MAAX. It was launched on May 15, 2019 and, as of December 31, it returned 3.49% vs. 3.15% for its benchmark over the short time since its inception. In December, intermediate-term investment grade and short-term high-yield bonds were the best performing positions. In contrast, the bottom performing positions were in longer duration bonds in both investment-grade and high-yield bonds.


    Average Annual Total Returns (%) as of December 31, 2019
      1 Mo YTD 1 Yr Life
    (05/15/19)
    MAAX (NAV) 0.03 -- -- 3.49
    MAAX (Share Price) 0.06 -- -- 3.57
    Bloomberg Barclays 0.31 7.54 7.54 3.15

    Average Annual Total Returns (%) as of December 31, 2019
      1 Mo YTD 1 Yr Life
    (05/15/19)
    MAAX (NAV) 0.03 -- -- 3.49
    MAAX (Share Price) 0.06 -- -- 3.57
    Bloomberg Barclays 0.31 7.54 7.54 3.15



    Returns less than a year are not annualized. Expenses: Gross 0.38%; Net 0.38%. Van Eck Associates Corporation (the “Adviser”) will pay all expenses of the Fund, except for the fee payment under the investment management agreement, acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, offering costs, trading expenses, taxes and extraordinary expenses. Expenses are based on estimated amounts for the current fiscal year. Cap excludes acquired fund fees and expenses, interest expense, trading expenses, taxes and extraordinary expenses.
    The table presents past performance which is no guarantee of future results and which may be lower or higher than current performance. Returns reflect temporary contractual fee waivers and/or expense reim¬bursements. Had the ETF incurred all expenses and fees, investment re¬turns would have been reduced. Investment returns and ETF share values will fluctuate so that investors’ shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. ETF returns assume that distributions have been reinvested in the Fund at “Net Asset Value” (NAV). NAV is determined at the close of each business day, and represents the dollar value of one share of the fund; it is calculated by taking the total assets of the fund, subtracting total liabilities, and dividing by the total number of shares outstanding. The NAV is not necessarily the same as the ETF’s intraday trading value. VanEck Vectors ETF investors should not expect to buy or sell shares at NAV.

    Muni Risk Factors

    Overall, the model indicates a period of low risk in the municipal fixed income market. It does this by measuring risk with credit and duration risk using stability in price levels, volatility and historical relationships.

    Risk is scored from 0 to 100. A score below 50 of lower implies that risk is low and a score of 50 or higher implies that risk is high. The current credit risk score is 0. Therefore, MAAX will maintain its overweight credit positioning.

    Credit Total Risk Score

    Credit Total Risk Score

    The duration risk score, at 25, remains elevated in January. A risk score of 50 is the critical level for the model to exit long dated bonds but it is not there yet.

    Duration Total Risk Score

    Duration Total Risk Score

    The chart below shows synchronized rate increases across key global 10-YR yields.  This is putting downward pressure on bond prices.

    Global 10-Year Government Yields

    Global 10-Year Government Yields
    Source: Bloomberg.

    However, without additional confirmation from differentiated indicators, MAAX will maintain its positioning in long duration bonds. Duration risk has been elevated for a couple of months now.  While MAAX’s longer duration bonds underperformed on a relative basis, they were still able to generate a positive total return for the month.

    To conclude, in the meantime, MAAX will remain overweight both credit and duration risk. We will continue to monitor the risks, especially the duration risks, and adjust exposures as necessary. Until then, we will happily clip coupons.


    IMPORTANT DISCLOSURES

    This content is published in the United States for residents of specified countries. Investors are subject to securities and tax regulations within their applicable jurisdictions that are not addressed on this content. Nothing in this content should be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell shares of any investment in any jurisdiction where the offer or solicitation would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction, nor is it intended as investment, tax, financial, or legal advice. Investors should seek such professional advice for their particular situation and jurisdiction.

    An investment in the Funds may be subject to risks which include, fund of funds risk, high portfolio turnover, model and data risks, management, operational, authorized participant concentration and absence of prior active market risks, trading issues, market, fund shares trading, premium/discount and liquidity of fund shares and non-diversified risks. The funds may be subject to following risks as a result of investing in Exchange Traded Products including municipal securities, credit, high yield securities, tax, interest rate, call, state concentration and sector concentration risks. Municipal bonds may be less liquid than taxable bonds. There is no guarantee that a Funds’ income will be exempt from federal, state or local income taxes, and changes in those tax rates or in alternative minimum tax (AMT) rates or in the tax treatment of municipal bonds may make them less attractive as investments and cause them to lose value. Capital gains, if any, are subject to capital gains tax. A portion of the dividends you receive may be subject to AMT. For a more complete description of these and other risks, please refer to each Fund’s prospectus.

    Bloomberg Barclays Municipal Bond Index is considered representative of the broad market for investment grade, tax-exempt municipal bonds with a maturity of at least one year.

    The VanEck Vectors ETFs are not sponsored by, endorsed, sold or promoted by Bloomberg or Barclays and neither Bloomberg nor Barclays makes any representation regarding the advisability of investing in them. The only relationship to the Adviser with respect to the VanEck Vectors ETFs is the licensing of certain trademarks and trade names of Bloomberg and Barclays and the BLOOMBERG BARCLAYS INDICES that are determined, composed and calculated by Bloomberg without regard to the Adviser or any investor in the VanEck Vectors ETFs.

    Fund shares are not individually redeemable and will be issued and redeemed at their NAV only through certain authorized broker-dealers in large, specified blocks of shares called "creation units" and otherwise can be bought and sold only through exchange trading. Shares may trade at a premium or discount to their NAV in the secondary market. You will incur brokerage expenses when trading Fund shares in the secondary market. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Returns for actual Fund investments may differ from what is shown because of differences in timing, the amount invested, and fees and expenses.

    Investing involves substantial risk and high volatility, including possible loss of principal. Bonds and bond funds will decrease in value as interest rates rise. An investor should consider the investment objective, risks, charges and expenses of the Fund carefully before investing. To obtain a prospectus and summary prospectus, which contains this and other information, call 800.826.2333 or visit vaneck.com. Please read the prospectus and summary prospectus carefully before investing.