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Ian C. Carroll

Ian C. Carroll
As head of corporate credit research, Mr. Carroll brings a broad perspective from 20 years of experience. He joined the organization in 2017 from CalPERS Global Fixed Income, where he was a senior analyst on the corporate credit research team and has held senior credit positions at Rabobank, N.A. and Standard & Poor’s. Mr. Carroll has a bachelor’s degree from Fordham University and a certificate in finance from UC Berkeley. He is a CFA charterholder.
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Recent Posts

A New Risk: Lower Pension Funding Raises Debt Levels

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on Sep 22, 2020 5:03:09 PM
  • As bond yields dropped dramatically, so did the funding levels at traditional defined
    benefit pension plans.
  • Lower pension plan funding increases the already elevated levels of debt and provides
    yet another headwind for credit quality.
  • If a company increases its pension plan contributions, this will lower the cash flow
    available to bondholders and capital expenditures, and weaken balance sheets.
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Topics: Investment Strategy

Is What's Good For Equity, Good for Credit?

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on Jul 23, 2020 1:14:49 PM

  • The fact that both equity and credit indices are rallying simultaneously may lead people to believe that the same things are good for equity and credit investors.
  • Equity and credit investors have different motivations, but the Federal Reserve's market manipulations have made credit investors mimic equity investors in their risk taking.
  • Yet, with credit spreads wide, we feel the signals given by the bond market have a greater value than those from the equity market
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The Fed Put Is Necessary For Markets To Function

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on May 28, 2020 11:38:18 AM

  • The Fed Put is the belief that the Fed will rescue the market
  • The Fed has two main tools in its toolbox: cut interest rates and buy securities
  • The Fed's recent moves were necessary to help stabilize markets and the economy
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It's The Liquidity, Stupid.

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on Mar 24, 2020 4:59:21 PM

Over the past few weeks the bond market has been on a rollercoaster of such velocity that it's leaving investors with whiplash.

The Federal Reserve's two interest-rate cuts, totaling 150 basis points, was a useless and desperate attempt to boost the economy and the market. That it barely registered shows the Fed's impotence. Making money cheaper doesn't help if there's no demand. The problem is people aren't leaving their homes. But it doesn’t hurt either, and could speed the recovery when it comes.

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After all the Sturm and Drang, Brexit Will End Up a Non-Event

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on Dec 2, 2019 6:50:08 PM

As portfolio managers trying to make money in a world of economic uncertainty, we are constantly scanning the horizon for the biggest issues that can sway or shock global markets. When the Brexit referendum passed in 2016, it certainly shocked the market, sending haven assets such as US Treasurys into rally mode.

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Topics: Investment Strategy, Brexit

ESG Is Not Just a Buzzword at Aware

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on Sep 26, 2019 1:44:59 PM

One of Wall Street's newest strategies is to invest according to Environmental, Social and Governance issues, better known as ESG. It's a way to invest according to a certain ethical philosophy.

"Environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria are a set of standards for a company’s operations that socially conscious investors use to screen potential investments. Environmental criteria consider how a company performs as a steward of nature. Social criteria examine how it manages relationships with employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities where it operates. Governance deals with a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights," according to Investopedia.

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Topics: Investment Strategy

Corporate Bonds Shrug off Mid East Tensions

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on Aug 19, 2019 3:48:18 PM

As managers of bond portfolios, we need to make educated, informed decisions about which sectors offer the best value. Today, one of our favorite sectors in the corporate bond market is the oil industry. The fundamentals have strengthened after years of efficiency improvements and we have confidence in the names we invest in. A series of scary headlines coming out of the Middle East have not changed our view.

Last month, Britain seized an Iranian vessel, then in a single day Iran responded by seizing two British oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz. These events came on the heels of the U.S. imposing sanctions against Iran in November.

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Are Triple B-Rated Corporate Bonds the New As?

Posted by Ian C. Carroll on May 31, 2019 2:22:00 PM

In its May Financial Stability Report, the Federal Reserve said rising sales of risky corporate debt is a top vulnerability facing the US financial system.

However, instead of being scared by the Fed report or the accompanying headlines, we've dug a little deeper and see that, at least in the investment grade universe, there is a good balance between value to be had in the market now.

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Topics: Investment Strategy


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