Over the past 20 years, active fixed income (FI) managers have tended to deliver returns in excess of their benchmarks. This has generated a popular notion that active investing in fixed income markets is ‘easy.’ Our aim is to assess the veracity of that notion. Across a broad set of popular active FI categories, we find that passive exposures to traditional risk premia (especially exposure to credit risk) explain the majority of FI manager active returns. The resulting implication is that, contrary to popular belief, traditional discretionary active FI strategies offer little in the way of true alpha, and that traditional active FI strategies may significantly reduce the strategic diversification benefit of FI as an asset class.
The information contained herein is only as current as of the date indicated, and may be superseded by subsequent market events or for other reasons. The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of AQR Capital Management, LLC, its affiliates or its employees. This information is not intended to, and does not relate specifically to any investment strategy or product that AQR offers. It is being provided merely to provide a framework to assist in the implementation of an investor’s own analysis and an investor’s own view on the topic discussed herein. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.