Articles Tagged with Junk Bonds

Brokers May Have Downplayed The Risks of Junk High-Yield Bond Funds

Shepherd Smith Edwards and Kantas (SSEK Law Firm at is offering free initial case consultations to investors of the following high-yield bond funds, also known as junk bond funds.

High-yield bond funds tend to have lower-quality bonds. Their portfolios usually include high-income debt securities in which at least 65% of bond assets are unrated or rated poorly at the BB level or lower. While junk-bond funds offer higher yields than other portfolios, they are also more vulnerable to the economy, credit risks, and other adverse events. 

Hundreds of Broker-Dealers May Have Sold Up to $2B of High-Yield Junk Bonds 

InvestmentNews reports that according to an industry insider, GWG Holdings may have issued up to $2B of high-yield junk bonds in recent years. While Emerson Equity is the managing broker-dealer for the GWG Issuer, there may have been hundreds of other broker-dealers that also sold L-Bonds to investors. 

In a January 15, 2022 filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), GWG disclosed that it hasn’t been able to issue $13.6M in principal payments and interest that it owes to L Bond investors. The Dallas-based alternative asset manager has a 30-day grace period to complete the payments or risk default. 

Investors Who Were Sold Telecommunication Company’s Bonds Grapple with Losses 

In its second sale in two months, Frontier Communications Corp. wants to sell $2.8B in junk bonds to help pay for its exit from bankruptcy. 

According to sources that spoke with Bloomberg, this includes new $1.8B first-lien bonds at an about 5.25% yield and another $1B of second-lien notes at a 7 – 7.25% yield. The new bonds, along with an increase to an existing term loan, are meant to allow Frontier to pay back debt it owes that will mature in 2024 and 2026.

Denver Investors May Be Facing Losses from High Yield Bonds  

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase in parts of the US, high-yield junk bonds have been underperforming. 

Not only that, but according to The Wall Street Journal, in early July the growing concern that there may be a bigger wave of pandemic cases coming caused junk bond yields to reach their highest levels in weeks as the high-risk debt “underperformed” in certain credit markets.

Nine Energy Service Bonds Expected to Deteriorate Further

Nine Energy Service, Inc. (NINE) recently announced that the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) found that the oilfield services company was once more in compliance with the stock exchange’s continued listing standard. 

The news comes less than two months after the NYSE notified the Houston-based company of its noncompliance with this standard after its common stock’s share price dropped to under $1/share over 30 trading days in a row. The $1/share price is the minimum closing price per share allowed for a stock to stay on the NYSE.

Reuters is reporting that the Securities and Exchange Commission is examining the possible liquidity risks involved in high-yield bond funds. The probe comes following the collapse of the Third Avenue’s Focused Credit Fund (TFCVX) in early December. That has been touted as the largest mutual fund failure since the financial crisis of 2007.

The fund failed because of its inability to meet so many investor redemption request following heavy losses in the junk bond market. When the fund couldn’t find more buyers, it ended up having to suspend the redemptions and liquidate.

Now, regulators want to look into the ways in which mutual funds deal with liquidity risks and how such disruptions can impact not just shareholders but also the wider market. Reuters said that last month the SEC notified mutual funds and exchange-traded funds that it wants information about how securities that are less liquid are priced and whether certain parties have questioned these prices.

In particular, reports the news agency, the Commission has specifically asked for daily internal illiquidity calculations from 8/31/15 to 12/15/15, the names of large fund shareholders, disclosures related to liquidity, redemption activity, portfolio composition quality for each fund, and the daily outflow and inflow of information. Fund mangers were reportedly given only 24 hours to provide a little over half of the information requested and another week to hand over the rest of the documents.

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In the wake of news that the junk bond fund Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund (TFCVX) is now blocking money redemption, investors have started to worry about similar investments. The inability of TFCVX to give investors their money back is raising concerns about liquidity in corporate bond markets, as well as questions about how problematic it can be when investors have high risk assets that no one wants to buy (a problem that was at the center of the 2008 financial crisis).

What are Junk Bonds?
So called “junk bonds” are bonds that have been rated below investment grade by the major rating agencies (i.e., below BBB by S&P). These bonds typically pay more than higher rated bonds, but they are high risk and can default or lose significant value in a short period. People tend to invest more money into junk bonds when the economy is doing well, and, as has been the case for a number of years, interest rates on more traditional bonds or fixed income investments are low. However, when junk bonds start defaulting or get further downgrades, investors are forced to realize significant losses, often in very short periods.

In the wake of Third Avenue Focused Credit Fund’s collapse, there are those who are worried that more funds, including hedge funds and mutual funds, may follow. For example, a hedge fund managed by Stone Lion Capital Partners also recently decided to suspend redemptions. You can read more about that here.

InvestmentNews recently put together a list of 10 credit funds that, according to Morningstar, have a high level of exposure to junk bonds:

· Federated High Yield Service (FHYTX)
· Waddell & Reed High-Income A (UNHIX)
· Osterweis Strategic Income (OSTIX)
· Fidelity Advisor High Income Advantage A (FAHDX)
· Ivy High Income C (WRHIX)
· Third Avenue Focused Credit Instl (TFCIX)
· Artisan High Income Advisor (APDFX)
· American Funds American High-Inc A (AHITX)
· Western Asset Short Duration High Inc B (SHICX)
· Northern Multi Manager Hi Yield Opp (NMHYX)
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Just days after the collapse of Third Avenue Management LLC’s junk bond fund the Focused Credit Fund (TFCVX), the company’s CEO David M. Barse is out, says the Wall Street Journal. The news comes following Barse’s announcement that redemptions to the high yield mutual fund’s investors would be frozen. The media outlet says that Barse was fired and is not allowed to reenter the building.

This week, the Massachusetts Securities Division issued a subpoena saying that it was probing the fund closure and liquidation strategy. Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin, says he wants to find out to what extent the state’s investors have been affected by this “unprecedented decision.” It was on December 9 that they were sent a letter announcing that the redemptions would be stopped and the assets that were left would be liquidated.
This is an unusual move for a mutual fund. Such funds typically have to abide by tight regulations that mandate that investors be provided liquidity daily.

The reasons for the changed policy are investor net withdrawals and heavy losses in the underlying investments. There is also speculation that the large position that the Focused Credit Fund had taken in what are known as Level 3 assets, which are securities that trade so infrequently it’s hard to know exact prices, were becoming an issue. It reportedly got to the point that Level 3 assets in the portfolios went from 15% of what was held to about 25%, which regulators typically consider too high.

The New York Times reports that the decision to prevent investors from getting their money back has caused concern among the market, which have been getting ready for the Federal Reserve’s anticipated interest rate increase. The fear is that the Focused Credit Fund’s demise is not an isolated incident, and other mutual funds holding a significant number of junk bonds, emerging market debt, and leveraged debt may find themselves in the same predicament.
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