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

 

Newsletter

Sign up to receive UBP’s latest news & investment insights directly in your inbox

Click and enter your email address to subscribe

Responsible Investment

Value creation through responsible investment

Learn more about our Responsible Investment expertise

Watch the video

Most read

UBP in the press 17.04.2018

Surge in Earnings in 2017

Le Temps (16.04.2018) - Why did Geneva’s private banks see such a large increase in earnings and assets under management last year? We spoke to UBP boss Guy de Picciotto about the trends that shaped 2017 and that will influence the future.

UBP in the press 16.04.2018

Asset TV Masterclass: Alternative Investments

With the correlation benefits of equities and bonds waning, investors are increasingly on the hunt for assets that act as true diversifiers. Olivier Marion, Head of Business Development & Senior Investment Specialist Alternative Investments at UBP, recently participated in an Asset TV Masterclass making the case for alternative investments.

UBP in the press 12.04.2018

Consolidation spells opportunity for UBP

The Business Times (02.04.2018) - The Swiss family-owned private bank is always on the lookout for opportunities to grow, and believes its investments in Asia have paid off.

Further reading

UBP in the press 17.04.2018

Surge in Earnings in 2017

Le Temps (16.04.2018) - Why did Geneva’s private banks see such a large increase in earnings and assets under management last year? We spoke to UBP boss Guy de Picciotto about the trends that shaped 2017 and that will influence the future.

UBP in the press 16.04.2018

Asset TV Masterclass: Alternative Investments

With the correlation benefits of equities and bonds waning, investors are increasingly on the hunt for assets that act as true diversifiers. Olivier Marion, Head of Business Development & Senior Investment Specialist Alternative Investments at UBP, recently participated in an Asset TV Masterclass making the case for alternative investments.

UBP in the press 12.04.2018

Consolidation spells opportunity for UBP

The Business Times (02.04.2018) - The Swiss family-owned private bank is always on the lookout for opportunities to grow, and believes its investments in Asia have paid off.