1) Seix Market Insights Leveraged Loan and High Yield Executive Summary yy yy Leveraged loan and high yield fundamentals remain strong. yy George Goudelias Head of Leveraged Finance, Senior Portfolio Manager Macroeconomic issues led investors to flee risk. High yield fund closures don’t point to systemic issues. Vincent Flanagan, CFA Portfolio Manager and Senior High Yield Research Analyst - Media, Technology Michael Kirkpatrick Senior Portfolio Mananger, Senior High Yield Research Analyst - Gaming, Finance James FitzPatrick, CFA Portfolio Manager, Head of Leveraged Finance Trading 4Q15
2) Seix Market Insights Leveraged Loan and High Yield The fourth quarter of 2015 was one of the most difficult in recent memory for both leveraged loans and high yield bonds. Investor concerns about a range of issues—including China’s flagging economy, unrest in the Middle East and the continued slump in commodity prices—contributed to a sell-off across equity and fixed income markets. Leveraged loans Exhibit 1: Leveraged Loan Fund Flows Although issuance in the collateralized loan obligation market declined from last year’s record pace, 2015 closed with roughly $100 billion in issuance—the second-highest level on record. We expect issuance figures to continue to fall due to more stringent regulations on asset managers. 4.12 4 Billions ($) 2 0 -1.35 -1.65 -2.75 -6.17 -9.61 -2 -4 -6 -8 n Leveraged Loan n High Yield Bond -10 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 Source: Strategic Insight, data pulled 1/21/16 Investors sought out relatively safe areas of the financial markets, resulting in relatively poor performance in the high yield and leveraged loan markets. The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index declined 0.57% during the three months through December, while the Credit Suisse Leveraged Loan Index declined 1.96% and the Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Index fell 2.06%. Fundamentals in the leveraged loan market remain relatively strong: Corporate balance sheets are healthy and the default rate is well below historical averages. Default forecasts in the leveraged loan market are forecasted to be 2.0% in 2016 and 2.5% in 2017. Not including commodities-related loans, default forecasts in the leveraged loan market are around 1.5% for both 2016 and 2017. 1 Exhibit 2: Historical and Projected Default Rates 15 Par-Weighted Default Rates (%) 6 Leveraged loans suffered from investors’ relatively low tolerance for risk during the quarter. Continued weakness in the Energy and Metals and Mining sectors contributed to losses among leveraged loans, but had a greater negative impact on the high yield market, which has larger exposure to energy firms. n High Yield Bond n Leveraged Loan 12.8 12 10.3 9 6 4.5 3.9 3 0 3.0 2.3 1.8 0.8 0.4 0.2 2007 2008 2009 2010 1.7 0.4 2011 1.3 1.4 2012 Source: J.P.Morgan, data pulled 1/21/16 1 4Q15 Source: JPMorgan Securities 2.0 2.5 1.7 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.7 2013 2014 2015 2016E 2017E 0.7
3) From a valuations perspective, yields hovered around 7.4% at the end of the quarter with spreads near historic averages, suggesting that investors are being compensated well for the risk they are taking on. The Federal Reserve Bank’s December interest rate hike benefited the loan market, because floating rate loans can act as a hedge in a rising rate environment. High yield bonds The quarter presented both good news and bad news for high yield investors. On the negative side, high yield bonds suffered from investors’ aversion to higher-risk investments. What’s more, several high yield mutual funds shut their doors after facing liquidity problems amid mounting redemption requests from shareholders. Concerns about higher interest rates also fueled investors’ worries about the high yield market. These events led to a broad retreat among high yield bond investors. In December alone, the high yield market saw an outflow of $9 billion—the fourth-largest monthly outflow on record. The good news: The widespread volatility among high yield bonds has led to severe price dislocations in the market. The result is that there are considerable potential opportunities for experienced investors who can navigate the market’s complexities and avoid bonds with higher potential for default. We’re seeing potential opportunities among bonds issued by real estate investment trusts, finance and healthcare firms. And despite the problems in the Energy sector, we are seeing potential opportunities among select issuers that have been unfairly beaten down by investors. Outlook Concerns about these markets are valid in many cases, meaning that investors will need to perform careful due diligence to identify attractive investment opportunities. Fortunately, we don’t believe that the leveraged finance markets face any fundamental or structural issues that pose long-term problems. The high yield funds that were forced to shut down largely invested heavily in very low-quality issues, and are not indicative of a liquidity crunch in the market more broadly, in our opinion. Meanwhile, the broad selloffs in both the high yield and leveraged loan markets have helped uncover appealing potential opportunities for disciplined investors.
4) Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index is an unmanaged index of U.S. bonds, which includes reinvestment of any earnings and is widely used to measure the overall performance of the U.S. bond market. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Barclays U.S. Corporate High Yield Bond Index is an unmanaged market value-weighted index that covers the universe of fixed rate, non-investment grade debt. Investors cannot invest directly in an index. Collateralized loan obligations are securities backed by a pool of debt, often low-rated corporate loans. Credit Suisse Leveraged Loan Index is a market-weighted index that tracks the performance of institutional leveraged loans. Credit Spreads are the difference between the yields of sector types and/or maturity ranges. Credit Ratings noted herein are calculated based on S&P, Moody’s and Fitch ratings. Generally, ratings range from AAA, the highest quality rating, to D, the lowest, with BBB and above being called investment grade securities. BB and below are considered below investment grade securities. If the ratings from all three agencies are available, securities will be assigned the median rating based on the numerical equivalents. If the ratings are available from only two of the agencies, the more conservative of the ratings will be assigned to the security. If the rating is available from only one agency, then that rating will be used. Ratings do not apply to a fund or to a fund’s shares. Ratings are subject to change. Real Estate Investment Trust (REITS) is a type of security that invests in real estate through property or mortgages and often trades on major exchanges like a stock. Investment Risks: Bonds offer a relatively stable level of income, although bond prices will fluctuate providing the potential for principal gain or loss. Intermediate-term, higher-quality bonds generally offer less risk than longer-term bonds and a lower rate of return. Generally, a fund’s fixed income securities will decrease in value if interest rates rise and vice versa. Although a fund’s yield may be higher than that of fixed income funds that purchase higher-rated securities, the potentially higher yield is a function of the greater risk of that fund’s underlying securities. Floating rate loans are typically senior and secured, in contrast to other below-investment grade securities. However, there is no guarantee that the value of the collateral will not decline, causing a loan to be substantially unsecured. Loans generally are subject to restrictions on resale. Participation interests in loans, rather than direct ownership, may limit the ability of a fund to enforce its rights and may involve assuming additional credit risks. The views expressed by the funds’ managers are as of the quarter-end specified. This information is general in nature, provided as general guidance on the subject covered, and is not intended to be authoritative. It is subject to change without notice as market conditions change, and is not intended to predict the performance of any individual security, market sector, or RidgeWorth Fund. All information contained herein is believed to be correct, but accuracy cannot be guaranteed. Investors are advised to consult with their investment professional about their specific financial needs and goals before making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. ©2016 Seix Investment Advisors LLC. Seix Investment Advisors LLC is a registered investment adviser with the SEC and a member of the RidgeWorth Capital Management LLC network of investment firms. All third party marks are the property of their respective owners. RFRI-SEIXLL-1215