Returns on cash deposits are minimal and with no prospect of an increase in the European Central Bank [ECB] rates, they are likely to stay very low for a long time. Many investors would be happy with a return of 2% pa. However, cash returns are closer to zero.
Investing in bonds [the debt of governments or corporations] has traditionally been a popular and relatively safe way to invest. Sovereign or government debt is generally safer than debt issued by corporates.
Currently, the risk of investing in the debt of Eurozone countries is considered very low; consequently the reward for doing so is also very low. Investors in medium term Eurozone sovereign bonds are currently guaranteed negative returns on those bonds.
An alternative asset class is investment grade corporate bonds. These are corporations with an S & P rating of above BBB+. These bonds represent a higher risk than sovereign bonds and therefore you can expect a higher reward.
For retail investors, the best way to invest in such assets is through a fund.
You benefit from professional investment managers using their skill, experience and competence to select the bonds to buy and sell.
Because your funds are combined with those of other investors, you will benefit from greater diversification than what you could hope to achieve yourself and also manager fees are spread across the fund and tend to be cheaper than direct investments
These funds aim to provide investors with greater income potential relative to Sovereign bonds and cash, as well as more income and less volatility in returns when compared to equity indexes.
These funds have the ability to broadly diversify across industries, issuers and regions of the corporate bond sector and can seek to add value through investments in high quality U.S. government bonds, mortgages and foreign bonds.
Professional fund managers have access to extensive credit resources and research.
They employ a disciplined approach to credit research.
They utilise top-down, bottom-up and valuation screens to identify what they believe are the most attractive opportunities in global credit markets.