1. Newsroom
  2. How can investors obtain attractive yields in Swiss francs?
Menu
Insight 30.09.2016

How can investors obtain attractive yields in Swiss francs?

How can investors obtain attractive yields in Swiss francs?

Yields are currently negative not only on Swiss government bonds, but also on Swiss-franc investment-grade credit. However, negative yields do not have to be a disaster for Swiss-franc investors.


There are ways of improving prospective returns from a Swiss-franc bond portfolio, while maintaining an investment-grade risk profile and a moderate maturity. The first solution is the traditional method of hedging a euro- or dollar-denominated bond portfolio against exchange-rate risk. In the current environment, such hedging delivers higher yields for Swiss-franc investors without altering the investment’s economic risk (i.e. risk relating to the type of issuer, credit rating, maturity and exposure to interest rates). Using this method, a Swiss investor can take advantage of the positive yields available on investment-grade paper denominated in euros (+0.6%) and in dollars (+2.2%). Once hedged against exchange-rate risk, yields in Swiss francs are slightly positive. However, hedging costs are very high, for example 2.1% to hedge against movements in the US dollar/Swiss franc exchange rate. It is possible to make the solution more effective by using derivatives.

Avoid hedging costs

A second, more effective solution allows investors to avoid the cost of hedging against exchange-rate risk. It involves using standard, liquid derivative instruments. Using interest-rate futures and investment-grade CDS indexes, an investor can gain exposure to investment-grade credit bonds with a 5-year maturity that is economically similar to exposure resulting from buying traditional bonds, without the cost of currency hedging. The investment takes place directly in Swiss francs and the investor only has to pay the cost of liquidity in Swiss francs, i.e. 0.75% as opposed to 2.1% to hedge against USD/CHF movements (see illustration). Overall, this is a more attractive solution, enhancing returns from a Swiss-franc investment-grade credit portfolio.

Enhancing prospective returns by using derivatives

Currently, by using credit and interest-rate derivatives, investors can obtain a superior prospective return than through the traditional method of buying US-dollar bonds and hedging against exchange-rate risk, i.e. 1.6% versus 1.0% (carry and roll-down). This is the approach that Union Bancaire Privée currently favours regarding exposure to Swiss-franc investment-grade debt. The strategy has delivered a return of close to 3% since the start of the year.


DEBAT_Olivier_UBP_72dpi-0219.jpg

Olivier Debat
Senior Investment Specialist - Fixed Income Solutions

 

Expertise

Impact investing - Contributing to a more sustainable future

What are the key features of impact investing?

Read more

Most read

Insight 19.02.2020

Changes in consumption patterns

Despite being fast-moving and quite unpredictable, changes in consumption patterns are expected to reshape the economic landscape.

Insight 15.04.2020

The Case For Frontier Debt

Fixed-income frontier markets have seen significant growth in both importance and liquidity over the past decade. While still mainly thought of as part of global EM investments, frontier markets have “grown up” and deserve to be considered separately.

Insight 24.01.2020

Gaming - Game on!

Now more than ever, video gaming is at the heart of the entertainment industry.

Further reading

Insight 13.07.2020

Swiss Equities – Structural value creation

The resilience of the Swiss economy has once again been proved during the COVID-19 pandemic and is reflected by the Swiss equity market’s year-to-date outperformance.

Insight 06.07.2020

US Presidential Election Comes Into Focus

Spotlight - US President Trump’s re-election polls have fallen to their lowest levels since polling began for the 2020 Presidential contest raising the potential for a change in the presidency in 2021.

Insight 03.07.2020

COVID-19: UBP keeps you up to date

Since this coronavirus appeared, UBP has provided its clients with guidance and support as we all tackle this unprecedented global health crisis. We give you regular updates on everything from our own safety protocols and the recommendations issued by the authorities to our experts’ latest analysis on the effects of the pandemic on the world economy and financial markets.