Ever since bond market liquidty became the topic du jour across Wall Street (just a few short years after it was first raised in these pages), analysts, pundits, and reporters alike have begun to question what might happen should investors who have piled into mutual funds and ETFs (especially fixed income products) suddenly decide to sell into illiquid secondary markets.
Some have suggested, for instance, that if corporate bond fund managers were suddenly inundated with a cascade of redemptions, the absence of dealer liquidity in the secondary market could create the conditions for a firesale.
The problem, as we’ve been keen to point out, is that when fund flows are one-way (i.e. everyone is selling), fund managers must either i) meet redemptions with cash, or ii) trade the underlying securities. Note that the latter option is so undesirable in illiquid markets (indeed, trading large blocks into illiquid markets poses a systemic risk), that some fund managers are now lining up emergency liquidity lines with banks so that they can at least meet an initial wave of selling with cash and avoid, for a time at least, sparring with illiquidity.
In his latest Investment Outlook, Bill Gross addresses the above, describes what events might trigger a retail exodus (thus tipping the first domino), and says investors should hold enough cash to ride out the storm without participating in a firesale caused by rising rates or some manner of exogenous shock.
Should that moment occur, a cold rather than a hot shower may be an investor’s reward and the view will be something less than “gorgeous”. So what to do? Hold an appropriate amount of cash so that panic selling for you is off the table. A wise investor from nearly a century ago – Bernard Baruch – counseled to “sell to the sleeping point”. Mimic Mr. Baruch and have a good night.
Full Story @ [Zero Hedge]