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COVID-19

Our Response

 

Updated as of September 21, 2020 

We continue to aim to strike an appropriate balance between our commitment to the health and safety of all our employees, and our obligation as a firm and individuals to continue providing essential services to our clients. To that end, and in line with Federal, Provincial, and Municipal recommendations for businesses, we have implemented a Return To Work Plan that, with appropriate and reasonable safeguards to protect them, will see employees work on site and from home on a rotational basis. We have enacted standard health and safety measures such as: avoiding non-essential travel outside of Canada, maintaining physical distancing between workstations, frequent hand washing, and wearing  a  mask whenever physical distancing is not possible. In addition to these standard health and safety measures, we have enhanced the air filtrations system in our offices by adding air purifiers and high grade filters to our HVAC system to boost the air quality throughout the building. RPIA will endeavour to update these efforts as the pandemic evolves and new expert advice becomes available.

Market Conditions & Opportunities Ahead

COVID-19 has and will continue to reshape the global economic landscape. Six months on from the liquidity crisis of March 2020, investors are faced with a difficult challenge. Equity markets have rebounded strongly and valuations sit at elevated levels by historical standards. In contrast, fixed income securities provide a very low yield, with little margin of safety if interest rates rise. A 60/40 blend of equities and bonds may not deliver the return individuals and institutions are looking for.

We believe investors should be looking to credit strategies as a way of addressing this challenge. Credit is often referred to as “equity light” – a way of generating a reasonable return without the downside risk of equity investments. The performance of credit investments has been strong since March 2020. Looking forward, we continue to be excited by the opportunity to invest in corporate bonds at attractive levels. Uncertainty in the market generally leads to volatility, which we believe represents an opportunity for actively managed credit strategies.

Please contact a member of the Client Portfolio Management team if you would like to discuss our market views or strategies in more detail.

Market Insights

April 2022 Newsletter

Since the beginning of 2021, bond holdings have posted double-digit losses and weighed down portfolio performance.1 However, as is often the case in markets, with pain comes opportunity. Despite the potential for continued short-term volatility, we believe the time to increase bond allocations for intermediate and long-term investors is now.
Q1 2022 Market Commentary

During Q1 2022, bond markets suffered across the board as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, rising inflation expectations, and rising bond yields impacted prices negatively. We discuss the anticipated rate hikes by the US Federal Reserve, corporate fundamentals, and an example of how we generated gains through a relative value lens.
January 2022 Market Commentary

2022 began with plenty of market activity as monetary policy took center stage and Covid-19 continued to evolve. We believe the driver of recent volatility stems from changing expectations about monetary policy, including the pace and number of interest rate hikes and a greater chance of quantitative tightening in 2022/2023. Find out more about our views on recent market events in the market commentary linked below.
Q4 2021 Newsletter

2021 was an unpredictable but also transformative year in financial markets. We saw concerns around inflation, the emergence of new variants of the virus, and policies from governments and central banks that changed as often as the wind. Understanding 2021 helps us understand what to expect in 2022.
The best of both worlds - value through diversification

In this uncertain market environment, investors are reconsidering their portfolio mix as they try to identify where to obtain reasonable yield without sacrificing the stability of their capital. Diversifying your portfolio to include a SPAC arbitrage strategy could serve as a unique alternative to both fixed income and equity returns during uncertain times.
ESG Committee Q&A

Three members of our ESG Committee, Ozioma Nwankwo, Aaron Young, and Lubna Reda, participated in a Q&A to discuss the "S" in ESG, specifically when it comes to women in the workplace.
Q3 2021 Newsletter

Inflation can have a broad impact on an economy, whether it is driving consumer decisions or cutting corporate profit margins. Market participants are interested in how policy decisions can strike the right balance to address elevated inflation and the impact these decisions will have on bonds.
Q2 2021 Newsletter

In an environment of low yields and compressed credit spreads, there is considerable value in dynamically allocating capital across different geographical markets. Each of our portfolios has a significant component of corporate bonds issued outside of Canada, which gives us a wider menu of investments. In this article, we discuss some of the opportunities we are taking advantage of in our strategies.
Q1 2021 Newsletter

During the first quarter of this year, the “main event” was an increase in long-term interest rates and a steepening of yield curves. We are cautious with A-rated corporate bonds given the incentives for management to sacrifice this rating. We continue to balance defensive investments with exposure to areas of the market where credit spreads have not fully re-traced to pre-COVID levels.
February 2021 Newsletter

Warren Buffett commented "Bonds are Dead" in his annual Berkshire Hathaway newsletter. We do not believe "Bonds are Dead" but the traditional approach to bonds must adapt to new investor needs.
Opportunity in the travel sector during COVID-19

The travel sector was arguably the hardest hit sector by COVID-19, and as an online travel agency (OTA), Expedia’s business was severely impacted. Here is an update on one of our high conviction positions – Expedia – as the company returns to the debt markets, this time to repurchase debt and issue it.
January 2021 Newsletter

Having a disciplined and selective approach is very important as global credit markets continue to adapt and evolve. One question remains - how will corporations manage all the liquidity they raised last year?
Q4 2020 Market Commentary

Corporations are better positioned to deal with this round of COVID-lockdowns.  But what will they do with all the cash they have stockpiled as economies start to re-open?
November 2020 Market Commentary

Positive news from three pharmaceutical companies on vaccine treatments drove market sentiment through most of November. Investors are focusing on the “light at the end of the tunnel” despite the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
October 2020 Market Commentary

A Biden victory and new vaccine information have given the corporate bond market a boost, but what does it mean for credit longer term?
Q3 2020 Quarterly Commentary

September was a welcome reminder of the valuable role credit can play in dampening portfolio volatility. Despite a strong market during the summer, elevated dispersion means plenty of attractive opportunities in global corporate bonds.
August 2020 Newsletter

Financial markets ended the summer on a high note but are pricing volatility ahead. We are focused on the November election and the implications across sectors and issuers we own in the portfolios – with a focus on balancing exposures for a Trump or Biden win.
July 2020 Newsletter

Financial markets continued to recover with strong performance in corporate bonds. The focus continues to be conservative core positioning with selective exposure to areas of the market where the Federal Reserve is not an active participant
Q2 2020 Newsletter

After markets delivered better returns in Q2, we review how our portfolios re-positioned against a different market backdrop. We also highlight two sectors where we are seeing interesting opportunities: aircraft leasing and real estate.
May 2020 Newsletter

Positive performance continued in May as markets looked past short-term pain to the gradual re-opening of the economy. While there are many roads on the path to recovery, we continue to think a Federal Reserve backstop, income and further spread compression make credit an ideal asset class versus equities.

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