The Western Asset Municipal Bond Ladders seek to deliver tax-free income opportunities while preserving capital and reducing interest rate risk by investing in laddered municipal bonds. The strategy invests in a diversified portfolio of credit-monitored investment-grade municipal securities with equally weighted maturities from 1-15 years.
The strategy seeks to maintain a competitive level of tax-free income while preserving principal by investing — and reinvesting — in a well-diversified portfolio of investment-grade municipal bonds with laddered maturities.
- Laddered portfolios may offer advantages over self-managed portfolios in creating a stable stream of income
- Ladders represent a disciplined approach that allows investors to manage changes in interest rates
- Credit monitoring may enhance income by providing opportunities to allocate across the full range of investment-grade securities
- A diversified set of municipal bonds with staggered maturities and coupon stream may provide continued opportunities for reinvestment
- Team unites groups of specialists dedicated to different market sectors
- Each group of specialists draws on its distinctive expertise in the bottom-up analysis of its respective sector, to efficiently implement and monitor the portfolios
In-depth bond research
- Looks across sectors and issues to select attractive income opportunities and ensure diversification when reinvesting cash flows
Overseen by a fixed income leader
- A highly regarded proprietary credit research team that selects and monitors
- Over four decades of municipal bond trading, with access to the full inventory of municipal offerings and the ability to purchase quality securities
- Exclusive focus on fixed income management
- Long tenure in managing separately managed accounts in taxable and tax-exempt markets
Diversification does not guarantee a profit or protect against a loss.
Identify term structure of ladder
- Purchase municipal bonds maturing at regular intervals from 1-15 years (Other options may be available.)
- Hold securities to maturity and reinvest back out at longest maturity rung of ladder
- Manage reinvestment risk by staggering maturities and coupon streams across a diverse mix of sectors and issuers
Identify attractive sectors and industries
Sector and issue decision
- Employ in-depth research to uncover yield opportunities across the investment-grade rating spectrum
- Winnow portfolio candidates using proprietary credit analysis
Build portfolio from credit-monitored approved list
- Monitor credits constantly, despite intent to hold all securities until maturity
- Reexamine whether a particular investment should continue to be held when the issuer’s ability to pay the coupon or repay upon maturity is in doubt
The investment process may change over time. The characteristics set forth above are intended as a general illustration of some of the criteria the strategy team considers in selecting securities for client portfolios.
Why invest in a municipal bond ladder?
- Help minimize impact of rising rates by allowing municipal bonds to roll down curve until maturity
- May provide greater income from investing at potentially higher rates
- May benefit from owning well-diversified portfolio of individual bonds, and ongoing professional credit monitoring
meet your manager
One of the world’s leading global fixed income managers. Founded in 1971, the firm is known for team management and proprietary research, supported by robust risk management and a long-term fundamental value approach.
Meet Your Managers
Western Asset Team Approach
Team unites groups of specialists dedicated to different market sectors
Each group of sector specialists utilizes their expertise in bottom-up analysis of each portfolio sector
What I Should Know
All investments involve risk, including loss of principal and there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be met. Fixed income securities are subject to interest rate and credit risk, which is a possibility that the issuer of a security will be unable to make interest payments and repay the principal on its debt. As interest rates rise, the price of fixed income securities falls. Fixed income securities are subject to illiquidity risk, which is the risk that securities may be difficult to sell at certain prices when no market participants are willing to purchase the securities at such prices. For tax-exempt securities, certain investors may be subject to the Federal Alternative Minimum Tax, and state and local taxes may apply. Capital gains, if any, are fully taxable. State-specific and state-biased portfolios within this Portfolio focus on individual states and are more vulnerable to losses caused by adverse developments in those states than are national portfolios, which diversify investments across multiple states.
A general rise in interest rates may lead to increased portfolio volatility.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Management and performance of individual accounts may vary for reasons that include the existence of different implementation practices and model requirements in different investment programs.
Pure Gross performance shown does not reflect the deduction of investment management fees and certain transaction costs, which will reduce portfolio performance. Net performance includes the deduction of a 3% annual wrap fee for equity and balanced portfolios and a 1.5% annual wrap fee for fixed income portfolios. These deducted fees amounts are the maximum anticipated wrap fees. Actual fees may vary. For fee schedules, contact your financial professional or, if you enter into an agreement directly with Legg Mason Private Portfolio Group, LLC ("LMPPG"), refer to LMPPG's Form ADV disclosure document. Returns reflect the reinvestment of dividends and other earnings.
An investor cannot invest directly in an index. Unmanaged index returns do not reflect any fees, expenses or sales charges.
Please see GIPS® endnotes for important additional information regarding the portfolio performance shown and for effects of fees.
Performance Source: Legg Mason
Hypothetical growth of dollars: For illustrative purposes only. Assumes no withdrawals or contributions. The performance results shown were calculated assuming reinvestment of dividends and income and take into account both realized and unrealized capital gains and losses.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION: Separately Managed Accounts (SMAs) are investment services provided by Legg Mason Private Portfolio Group, LLC (LMPPG), a federally registered investment adviser. Client portfolios are managed based on investment instructions or advice provided by one or more of the following Legg Mason-affiliated sub-advisers: Western Asset Management Company, LLC. Management is implemented by LMPPG, the designated sub-adviser or, in the case of certain programs, the program sponsor or its designee.
Professional money management may not be suitable for all investors. Factual information relating to the securities discussed was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but there can be no guarantee as to its accuracy. It should not be assumed that investments made in the future will be profitable or will equal the performance of the securities discussed in the material.
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2Partial period return (April 1, 2015 to December 31, 2015).
Western Asset claims compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS®) and has prepared and presented this report in compliance with the GIPS standards. Western Asset has been independently verified for the periods from January 1, 1993 to December 31, 2018. The verification report is available upon request.
Verification assesses whether (1) the firm has complied with all the composite construction requirements of the GIPS standards on a firm-wide basis and (2) the firm’s policies and procedures are designed to calculate and present performance in compliance with the GIPS standards. The verification does not ensure the accuracy of any specific composite presentation.
For GIPS® purposes, the Firm is defined as Western Asset, a primarily fixed-income investment manager comprised of Western Asset Management Company, LLC; Western Asset Management Company Limited, authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority ("FCA"); Western Asset Management Company Pte. Ltd. Co. Reg. No. 200007692R, holder of the Capital Markets Services Licence for fund management and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore; Western Asset Management Company Ltd, a registered Financial Instruments Business operator and regulated by the Financial Services Agency of Japan; Western Asset Management Company Pty Ltd ABN 41 117 767 923, holder of the Australian Financial Services Licence 303160; and Western Asset Management Company Distribuidora de Títulos e Valores Mobiliários (DTVM) Limitada, authorised and regulated by Comissão de Valores Mobiliários and Banco Central do Brazil, with offices in Pasadena, New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo, Melbourne, São Paulo, Hong Kong, and Zürich. Each Western Asset company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Legg Mason, Inc. ("Legg Mason") but operates autonomously, and Western Asset, as a Firm, is held out to the public as a separate entity. Western Asset Management Company was founded in 1971.
The Firm is comprised of several entities as a result of various historical acquisitions made by Western Asset and their respective performance has been integrated into the Firm in line with the portability requirements set forth by GIPS.
Western Asset - Municipal Bond Ladders (1-15 Year) portfolios are discretionary fixed-income portfolios that seek to provide – to individual and taxable institutional investors - periodic income that is exempt from regular U.S. income tax through investment in a diversified portfolio of municipal securities with laddered maturities of 15 years or less. “Laddering” involves building a portfolio of municipal securities with staggered maturities so that a portion of the portfolio will mature periodically. Individual municipal securities are purchased with the intent to hold such security until maturity unless the Firm determines to sell such security due to credit concerns or the sale of such security is needed to fund a client withdrawal of funds. To maintain the ladder, money that comes in from maturing bonds is typically reinvested in bonds with longer maturities within the range of the ladder. The composite is comprised of accounts that are separately managed accounts (SMAs) managed in accordance with the strategy with an account minimum of US $250,000. The composite employs a 10% significant cash flow policy. The composite was created on April 1, 2015.
The composite is not measured against a benchmark as accounts that may comprise the composite are measured on an absolute return basis. There is no benchmark available that appropriately reflects the guidelines of all accounts within the composite.
1“Pure” gross returns are presented as supplemental information to the net returns. The current fee schedule is 1.50% on all assets. Net returns are calculated by deducting the anticipated maximum annual bundled fee applied on a monthly basis from the "pure" gross monthly return. The bundled fee includes all charges for trading costs, portfolio management, custody, and other administrative fees. Bundled fees may vary across different financial firms and across different accounts based upon account size and other factors. Returns and market values are expressed in USD.
Dispersion is calculated using the asset-weighted standard deviation of annual returns of those portfolios that were included in the composite for the entire year. Periods with five or fewer accounts are not statistically representative and are not presented. The three-year annualized ex-post standard deviation measures the variability of the composite and the benchmark returns over the preceding 36-month period. Standard deviation is not presented for periods where 36 monthly returns are not available for the composite or the benchmark.
Past investment results are not indicative of future investment results. Information contained herein is believed to be accurate, but cannot be guaranteed. Employees and/or clients of Western Asset may have a position in the securities mentioned.
Western Asset’s list of composite descriptions and policies for valuing portfolios, calculating performance, and preparing compliant presentations are available upon request. Please contact Michael Van Raaphorst at 212-601-6211 or Michael.VanRaaphorst@westernasset.com.