The BBH Intermediate Municipal Bond Fund Class I (“the Fund”) had a total return of -0.88% in April, compared to the return of -0.71% for the benchmark Bloomberg Barclays 1-15 Year Municipal Index.
The ongoing COVID-19 crisis continued to weigh on the Municipal bond market in April as investors responded to the sharp drop in U.S. economic activity. Unlike taxable corporate bonds, which significantly outperformed Treasuries, municipal bonds continued to lag. The yield ratio between municipals and Treasuries increased markedly during the month to 317%, 234%, and 179% for the 5, 10, and 30-year terms, respectively. Federal support for municipals is widely viewed as weaker than that for corporates and a potential Federal aid package for states has become increasingly politicized. Moreover, comments related to enabling states to file for bankruptcy have logically stoked fear. Lastly, mutual funds were hit with additional outflows of roughly $2 billion, which contributed additional pressure.
We are pleased to note that there were $65 million of inflows to the Fund in April. The timing was fortuitous given the much wider spreads in the Municipal sector, and we were active during the month investing this new capital. Considering the unprecedented credit challenges, our purchases emphasized securities that are closely related to states or the federal government. Examples of these included School District issues, State Housing Authority bonds, and the General Obligation bonds of states such as California. Apart from these securities, we also added Northshore University Health System bonds from a new issuance that offered wide spreads despite their very strong balance sheet.
Periods of elevated market volatility often help generate attractive opportunities and we have added our fair share over the past couple of months. As in the past, heavy forced selling and new issue concessions have allowed us to purchase high-quality bonds at much wider spreads than they should have. We remain cognizant of the credit challenges before us and will remain selective and patient in evaluating new opportunities. Owning a collection of durable credits1 that will weather this storm remains our highest priority.
1 Obligations such as bonds, notes, loans, leases, and other forms of indebtedness, except for Cash and Cash Equivalents, issued by obligors other than the U.S. Government and its agencies, totaled at the level of the ultimate obligor or guarantor of the Obligation.
This material is not authorized for distribution unless accompanied or preceded by a current Fund prospectus.
Opinions, forecasts, and discussions about investment strategies represent the author’s views as of the date of this commentary and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes, and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and are not intended to be, and should not be interpreted as recommendations.
Purchase and sale information provided should not be considered as a recommendation to purchase or sell a particular security and that there is no assurance, as of the date of publication, that the securities purchased remain in a fund's portfolio or that securities sold have not been repurchased.
There is no assurance that this investment objective will be achieved.
Diversification does not eliminate the risk of experiencing investment losses.
Investors in the Fund should be able to withstand short-term fluctuations in the fixed income markets in return for potentially higher returns over the long term. The value of portfolios changes every day and can be affected by changes in interest rates, general market conditions and other political, social and economic developments.
Investing in the bond market is subject to certain risks including market, interest-rate, issuer, credit, maturity, call and inflation risk; investments may be worth more or less than the original cost when redeemed.
Income from municipal bonds may be subject to state and local taxes and at times the alternative minimum tax.
The Fund also invests in derivative instruments, investments whose values depend on the performance of the underlying security, assets, interest rate, index or currency and entail potentially higher volatility and risk of loss compared to traditional stock or bond investments.
As the Fund's exposure in any one municipal revenue sector backed by revenues from similar types of projects increases, the Fund will also become more sensitive to adverse economic, business or political developments relevant to these projects.
Asset allocation decisions, particularly large redemptions, made by an investment adviser whose discretionary clients make up a large percentage of the Fund's shareholders may adversely impact remaining Fund shareholders.
For more complete information, visit www.bbhfunds.com for a current Fund prospectus. You should consider the fund's investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before you invest. Information about these and other important subjects is in the fund's prospectus, which you should read carefully before investing.
Shares of the Fund are distributed by ALPS Distributors, Inc. and is located at 1290 Broadway, Suite 1000, Denver, CO 80203.
Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. ("BBH"), a New York limited partnership, was founded in 1818 and provides investment advice to registered mutual funds through a separately identifiable department (the "SID"). The SID is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. BBH acts as the Fund Administrator and is located at 140 Broadway, New York, NY 10005.
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Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The Morningstar Rating™ for funds, or "star rating", is calculated for managed products (including mutual funds, variable annuity and variable life subaccounts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, and separate accounts) with at least a three-year history. Exchange-traded funds and open-ended mutual funds are considered a single population for comparative purposes. It is calculated based on a Morningstar Risk-Adjusted Return measure that accounts for variation in a managed product's monthly excess performance, placing more emphasis on downward variations and rewarding consistent performance. The top 10% of products in each product category receive 5 stars, the next 22.5% receive 4 stars, the next 35% receive 3 stars, the next 22.5% receive 2 stars, and the bottom 10% receive 1 star. The Overall Morningstar Rating for a managed product is derived from a weighted average of the performance figures associated with its three-, five-, and 10-year (if applicable) Morningstar Rating metrics. The weights are: 100% three-year rating for 36-59 months of total returns, 60% five-year rating/40% three-year rating for 60-119 months of total returns, and 50% 10-year rating/30% five-year rating/20% three-year rating for 120 or more months of total returns. While the 10-year overall star rating formula seems to give the most weight to the 10-year period, the most recent three-year period actually has the greatest impact because it is included in all three rating periods. The BBH Intermediate Municipal Bond Fund was rated against the following numbers of Muni National Interm category funds over the following time periods: 247 funds in the last three years and 216 funds in the last five years. With respect to these Muni National Interm category funds, the BBH Intermediate Municipal Bond Fund (Class I & Class N), received an Overall Morningstar Rating of 5 stars and 4 stars, respectively. Class I three- and five years periods received ratings of 5 stars and 5 stars, respectively. Class N three- and five-year periods received ratings of 5 stars and 4 stars, respectively.
Not FDIC Insured No Bank Guarantee May Lose Money
IM-07967-2020-05-18 BBH002968 Exp. Date 07/31/2020