Archive for the ‘MAPF’ Category

MAPF Performance : November, 2019

Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund’s Net Asset Value per Unit as of the close November 29, 2019, was $7.8207. Performance was adversely affected in November, 2019, as the assumption of DeemedRetraction was cancelled in the wake of the IAIS decision included in ICS 2.0. This was probably a major factor in recent underperformance of low-spread Insurance issues, in which the portfolio is overweighted.

On a brighter note, this cancellation of this assumption means that the preferred share universe has become much more homogeneous and I anticipate a higher level of trading in the future.

Returns to November 29, 2019
Period MAPF BMO-CM “50” Preferred Share Index TXPR*
Total Return
CPD – according to Blackrock
One Month +0.40% +1.07% +1.18% N/A
Three Months +3.53% +4.92% +4.76% N/A
One Year -9.34% -2.71% -0.62% -1.27%
Two Years (annualized) -8.28% -4.87% -3.56% N/A
Three Years (annualized) +2.64% +3.31% +3.05% +2.54%
Four Years (annualized) +3.79% +4.17% +3.69% N/A
Five Years (annualized) -1.54% -0.51% -0.85% -1.30%
Six Years (annualized) +0.38% +0.20% +0.19% N/A
Seven Years (annualized) +0.11% +0.36% +0.13% N/A
Eight Years (annualized) +1.59% +1.06% +0.84% N/A
Nine Years (annualized) +1.47% +1.61% +1.22% N/A
Ten Years (annualized) +3.06% +2.64% +2.06% +1.52%
Eleven Years (annualized) +9.04% +5.23% +4.58%  
Twelve Years (annualized) +6.89% +2.75% +2.11%  
Thirteen Years (annualized) +5.92% +2.00%    
Fourteen Years (annualized) +5.97% +2.17%    
Fifteen Years (annualized) +6.00% +2.34%    
Sixteen Years (annualized) +6.54% +2.57%    
Seventeen Years (annualized) +7.82% +2.87%    
Eighteen Years (annualized) +7.27% +2.85%    
MAPF returns assume reinvestment of distributions, and are shown after expenses but before fees.
The full name of the BMO-CM “50” index is the BMO Capital Markets “50” Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees.
“TXPR” is the S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees, but does assume reinvestment of dividends.
CPD Returns are for the NAV and are after all fees and expenses. Reinvestment of dividends is assumed.
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Income Fund (formerly Omega Preferred Equity) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are +1.47%, +4.97% and +0.17%, respectively, according to Globe & Mail / Fundata after all fees & expenses. Three year performance is +3.09%; five year is +0.07; ten year is +2.71%

Figures from Morningstar are no longer conveniently available.

Manulife Preferred Income Class Adv has been terminated by Manulife. The performance of this fund was last reported here in March, 2018.
Figures for Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF (HPR) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are +1.48%, +5.64% & -2.99%, respectively. Three year performance is +2.27%, five-year is -0.42%
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Fund (formerly Altamira Preferred Equity Fund) are +1.44%, +5.71% and -3.09% for one-, three- and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +2.44%; five-year is -0.47%.

Acccording to the fund’s fact sheet as of June 30, 2016, the fund’s inception date was October 30, 2015. I do not know how they justify this nonsensical statement, but will assume that prior performance is being suppressed in some perfectly legal manner that somebody at National considers ethical.

The last time Altamira Preferred Equity Fund’s performance was reported here was April, 2014; performance under the National Bank banner was first reported here May, 2014.

The figures for the NAV of BMO S&P/TSX Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF (ZPR) is -3.55% for the past twelve months. Two year performance is -5.39%, three year is +2.45%, five year is -2.84%.
Figures for Fiera Canadian Preferred Share Class Cg Series F, (formerly Natixis Canadian Preferred Share Class Series F) (formerly NexGen Canadian Preferred Share Tax Managed Fund) are +1.29%, +4.12% and -4.66% for one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -0.37%; five-year is -0.63%
Figures for BMO Preferred Share Fund (advisor series) according to BMO are +1.17%, +4.82% and -5.15% for the past one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -0.80%; five-year is -2.98%.
Figures for PowerShares Canadian Preferred Share Index Class, Series F (PPS) are -2.08% for the past twelve months. The three-year figure is +3.16%; five years is -0.46%
Figures for the First Asset Preferred Share Investment Trust (PSF.UN) are no longer available since the fund has merged with First Asset Preferred Share ETF (FPR).

Performance for the fund was last reported here in September, 2016; the first report of unavailability was in October, 2016.

Figures for Lysander-Slater Preferred Share Dividend Fund (Class F) according to the company are +1.46%, +5.77% and -3.66% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +0.72%.
Figures for the Desjardins Canadian Preferred Share Fund A Class (A Class), as reported by the company are +0.99%, +4.33% and -3.68% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Two year is -6.00% and three year performance is +1.13%.

MAPF returns assume reinvestment of dividends, and are shown after expenses but before fees. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund or any other fund. For more information, see the fund’s main page. The fund is available either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited.

The preferred share market continues to suffer, leaving a lot of room for outsized gains. The Seniority Spread (the interest-equivalent yield on reasonably liquid, investment-grade PerpetualDiscounts less the yield on long term corporate bonds) is extremely elevated (chart end-date 2019-11-08):

pl_191108_body_chart_1)
Click for Big

Note that the Seniority Spread was 370bp on November 27, a widening from the October 30 figure of 355bp. As a good practical example of the spreads between markets, consider that CIU issued a long-term bond in early September yielding 2.963%, about 411bp cheaper than the interest-equivalent figure of 7.07% for CIU.PR.A, which was then yielding about 5.44% as a dividend. Shaw Communications issued 30-year notes at 4.25% interest on December 5, when their FixedResets, SJR.PR.A, were yielding 6.59% dividends.

As has been noted, the increase in the Seniority Spread over the past year has been due not to an increase in yield (drop in prices) of Straight Preferreds over the year, but because the yield of the Straight Preferreds has remained relatively constant while the yield of long-term corporate bonds has dropped dramatically.

… and the relationship between five-year Canada yields and yields on investment-grade FixedResets is also well within what I consider ‘decoupled panic’ territory (chart end-date 2019-11-8):

pl_191108_body_chart_5
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In addition, I feel that the yield on five-year Canadas is unsustainably low (it should be the inflation rate plus an increment of … 1%? 1.5%? 2.0%?),and a return to sustainable levels is likely over the medium term.

It seems clear that many market players are, wittingly or not, using FixedResets to speculate on future moves in the Canada 5-Year yield. This is excellent news for those who take market action based on fundamentals and the long term characteristics of the market because nobody can consistently time the markets. The speculators will, over the long run and in aggregate, lose money, handing it over to more sober investors.

It should be noted that I have been unable to explain the very strong performance of Floor issues over the past year relative to their non-Floor counterparts. See the discussions on PrefBlog at LINK, LINK and LINK.

I believe the bear-market outperformance by the Floor issues is a behavioural phenomenon with very little basis in fundamentals. When interest rates in general move, FixedReset prices should not change much (to a first approximation), since in Fixed Income investing it is spreads that are important, not absolute yields. There should be some effect on Floor issues, which should move up slightly in price as yields go down since the ‘option’ to receive the floor rate will become more valuable. Adjustments due to this effect should be fairly small, however – and over the past year issues with a floor, that started the period being expensive, have simply gotten even more expensive, relative to their non-floored counterparts.

And the tricky thing about behavioural models of investing is that they can lose their explanatory power very quickly when an investment fashion shifts, whereas fundamentals will always be effective. Just to give an example from the preferred share market – until the end of 2014, FixedResets were priced relative to each other according to their initial dividend; when the reset of TRP.PR.A shocked a lot of investors, relative pricing became much more dependent upon the Issue Reset Spread, a much more logical and fundamental property.

FixedReset (Discount) performance on the month was +1.45% vs. PerpetualDiscounts of +0.96% in November; the two classes finally decoupled in mid-November, 2018, after months of moving in lockstep, but it still appears to me that yields available on FixedResets are keeping the yields of PerpetualDiscounts up, even though a consistent valuation based on an expectation of declining interest rates would greatly increase the attractiveness of PerpetualDiscounts:

himi_indexperf_191129
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Floaters continued to recover, returning +2.83% for November but the figure for the past twelve months remains horrific at -24.80. Look at the long-term performance:

himi_floaterperf_191129
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Some Assiduous Readers will be interested to observe that the ‘Quantitative Easing’ decline was not initially as bad as the ‘Credit Crunch’ decline, which took the sector down to the point where the 15-year cumulative total return was negative. I wrote about that at the time. but it became worse in August, 2019! On August 30, 2019 the HIMI Floater Index (total return) value was calculated as 1906.6; the index first surpassed this value on 2003-8-13. Thus, cumulative total return (that is, including dividends) was negative over a period of slightly-over sixteen years.

It seems clear that Floaters are used, wittingly or otherwise, as a vehicle for speculation on the policy rate and Canada Prime, while FixedResets are being used as a vehicle for speculation on the five-year Canada rate. In support of this idea, I present an Implied Volatility analysis of the TRP series of FixedResets as of November 29, which is comprised of six issues without a Minimum Rate Guarantee and two issues which do have this feature:

impvol_trp_191129
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The two issues with floors, TRP.PR.J (+469, minimum 5.50%) and TRP.PR.K (+385, minimum 4.90%) are $2.82 and $4.73 rich, respectively. These are modest decreases from last month, despite the fact that their floor will not become effective unless five-year Canadas dip below 0.81% and 1.05%, respectively. For all the gloom, we’re still above those levels!

Lest this be considered a fluke, I also show results for the BAM series of FixedResets, which includes three issues with dividend floors: BAM.PF.H (+417, Minimum 5.00%); BAM.PF.I (+386, Minimum 4.80%); and BAM.PF.J (+310, Minimum 4.75%); these issues are all rich compared to their non-floor siblings, being 2.01, 3.63 and 5.11 expensive, respectively, wider in aggregate thatn last month’s figures of $2.07, $3.43 and $4.84.

impvol_bam_191129
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Relative performance during the month was not correlated with Issue Reset Spreads for either “Pfd-2 Group” or “Pfd-3 Group” issues:

fr_191129_1moperf
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… and results over the quarter were similar (Pfd-3 Group correlation was 11%):

fr_191129_3moperf
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In both charts the poor performance of the low-spread insurance issues may be observed. These issues are GWO.PR.N (Issue Reset Spread 130bp, 1-Month performance -2.91%); IFC.PR.A (172bp, -1.46%); MFC.PR.F (141bp, -0.69%); and SLF.PR.G (141bp, -0.59%). There are sufficient MFC FixedReset issues to do an Implied Volatility Analysis:

impvol_mfc_191129
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If anything, MFC.PR.F now appears to be somewhat cheap to its peers, indicating that if its recent weakness is due to speculators dumping their positions, there is little reason to fear continued relative declines.

As for the future, of course, it’s one thing to say that ‘spreads are unsustainable and so are government yields’ and it’s quite another to forecast just how and when a more economically sustainable environment will take effect. It could be years. The same caution applies for an end to the overpricing of issues with a minimum rate guarantee. There could be a reversal, particularly if Trump’s international trade policies cause a severe recession or even a depression. And, of course, I could be just plain wrong about the sustainability of the current environment.

On the other hand, I will pass on my observation that international interest in the Canadian preferred share market is increasing, as other Floating Rate indices globally are doing much better. Consider, for example the Solactive Australian Bank Senior Floating Rate Bond Index, which “provides exposure to the largest and most liquid floating rate debt securities issued by selected Australian banks. The index is comprised of investment grade floating rate debt securities denominated in AUD and calculated as a Total Return Index” (LINK although the index constituents currently all have a remaining term of less than five years), and the S&P U.S. Floating Rate Preferred Stock Index.

Yields on preferred shares of all stripes are extremely high compared to those available from other investments of similar quality. As I told John Heinzl in an eMail interview in late November, 2018, the best advice I can offer investors remains Shut up and clip your coupons!

I think that a broad, sustainable rally in FixedResets will require higher five-year Canada yields (or a widespread expectation of them) … and although I’m sure this will happen eventually, it would be foolish to speculate on just when it will happen!

Calculation of MAPF Sustainable Income Per Unit
Month NAVPU Portfolio
Average
YTW
Leverage
Divisor
Securities
Average
YTW
Capital
Gains
Multiplier
Sustainable
Income
per
current
Unit
June, 2007 9.3114 5.16% 1.03 5.01% 1.3240 0.3524
September 9.1489 5.35% 0.98 5.46% 1.3240 0.3773
December, 2007 9.0070 5.53% 0.942 5.87% 1.3240 0.3993
March, 2008 8.8512 6.17% 1.047 5.89% 1.3240 0.3938
June 8.3419 6.034% 0.952 6.338% 1.3240 $0.3993
September 8.1886 7.108% 0.969 7.335% 1.3240 $0.4537
December, 2008 8.0464 9.24% 1.008 9.166% 1.3240 $0.5571
March 2009 $8.8317 8.60% 0.995 8.802% 1.3240 $0.5872
June 10.9846 7.05% 0.999 7.057% 1.3240 $0.5855
September 12.3462 6.03% 0.998 6.042% 1.3240 $0.5634
December 2009 10.5662 5.74% 0.981 5.851% 1.1141 $0.5549
March 2010 10.2497 6.03% 0.992 6.079% 1.1141 $0.5593
June 10.5770 5.96% 0.996 5.984% 1.1141 $0.5681
September 11.3901 5.43% 0.980 5.540% 1.1141 $0.5664
December 2010 10.7659 5.37% 0.993 5.408% 1.0298 $0.5654
March, 2011 11.0560 6.00% 0.994 5.964% 1.0298 $0.6403
June 11.1194 5.87% 1.018 5.976% 1.0298 $0.6453
September 10.2709 6.10%
Note
1.001 6.106% 1.0298 $0.6090
December, 2011 10.0793 5.63%
Note
1.031 5.805% 1.0000 $0.5851
March, 2012 10.3944 5.13%
Note
0.996 5.109% 1.0000 $0.5310
June 10.2151 5.32%
Note
1.012 5.384% 1.0000 $0.5500
September 10.6703 4.61%
Note
0.997 4.624% 1.0000 $0.4934
December, 2012 10.8307 4.24% 0.989 4.287% 1.0000 $0.4643
March, 2013 10.9033 3.87% 0.996 3.886% 1.0000 $0.4237
June 10.3261 4.81% 0.998 4.80% 1.0000 $0.4957
September 10.0296 5.62% 0.996 5.643% 1.0000 $0.5660
December, 2013 9.8717 6.02% 1.008 5.972% 1.0000 $0.5895
March, 2014 10.2233 5.55% 0.998 5.561% 1.0000 $0.5685
June 10.5877 5.09% 0.998 5.100% 1.0000 $0.5395
September 10.4601 5.28% 0.997 5.296% 1.0000 $0.5540
December, 2014 10.5701 4.83% 1.009 4.787% 1.0000 $0.5060
March, 2015 9.9573 4.99% 1.001 4.985% 1.0000 $0.4964
June, 2015 9.4181 5.55% 1.002 5.539% 1.0000 $0.5217
September 7.8140 6.98% 0.999 6.987% 1.0000 $0.5460
December, 2015 8.1379 6.85% 0.997 6.871% 1.0000 $0.5592
March, 2016 7.4416 7.79% 0.998 7.805% 1.0000 $0.5808
June 7.6704 7.67% 1.011 7.587% 1.0000 $0.5819
September 8.0590 7.35% 0.993 7.402% 1.0000 $0.5965
December, 2016 8.5844 7.24% 0.990 7.313% 1.0000 $0.6278
March, 2017 9.3984 6.26% 0.994 6.298% 1.0000 $0.5919
June 9.5313 6.41% 0.998 6.423% 1.0000 $0.6122
September 9.7129 6.56% 0.998 6.573% 1.0000 $0.6384
December, 2017 10.0566 6.06% 1.004 6.036% 1.0000 $0.6070
March, 2018 10.2701 6.22% 1.007 6.177% 1.0000 $0.6344
June 10.2518 6.22% 0.995 6.251% 1.0000 $0.6408
September 10.2965 6.62% 1.018 6.503% 1.0000 $0.6696
December, 2018 8.6875 7.16% 0.997 7.182% 1.0000 $0.6240
March, 2019 8.4778 7.09% 1.007 7.041% 1.0000 $0.5969
June 8.0896 7.33% 0.996 7.359% 1.0000 $0.5953
September 7.7948 7.96% 0.998 7.976% 1.0000 $0.6217
November, 2019 7.8207 6.18% 1.004 6.155% 1.0000 $0.4814
NAVPU is shown after quarterly distributions of dividend income and annual distribution of capital gains.
Portfolio YTW includes cash (or margin borrowing), with an assumed interest rate of 0.00%
The Leverage Divisor indicates the level of cash in the account: if the portfolio is 1% in cash, the Leverage Divisor will be 0.99
Securities YTW divides “Portfolio YTW” by the “Leverage Divisor” to show the average YTW on the securities held; this assumes that the cash is invested in (or raised from) all securities held, in proportion to their holdings.
The Capital Gains Multiplier adjusts for the effects of Capital Gains Dividends. On 2009-12-31, there was a capital gains distribution of $1.989262 which is assumed for this purpose to have been reinvested at the final price of $10.5662. Thus, a holder of one unit pre-distribution would have held 1.1883 units post-distribution; the CG Multiplier reflects this to make the time-series comparable. Note that Dividend Distributions are not assumed to be reinvested.
Sustainable Income is the resultant estimate of the fund’s dividend income per current unit, before fees and expenses. Note that a “current unit” includes reinvestment of prior capital gains; a unitholder would have had the calculated sustainable income with only, say, 0.9 units in the past which, with reinvestment of capital gains, would become 1.0 current units.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator (definition refined in May, 2011). These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies (see below)), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

The same reasoning is also applied to FixedResets from these issuers, other than explicitly defined NVCC from banks.

In November, 2019, the assumption of DeemedRetraction was cancelled in the wake of the IAIS decision included in ICS 2.0.

The Deemed Maturity date for insurers was set at 2022-1-31 at the commencement of the process in February, 2011. It was extended to 2025-1-31 in April, 2013 and to 2030-1-31 in December, 2018. In November, 2019, the assumption of DeemedRetraction was cancelled in the wake of the IAIS decision included in ICS 2.0.
Yields for September, 2011, to January, 2012, were calculated by imposing a cap of 10% on the yields of YLO issues held, in order to avoid their extremely high calculated yields distorting the calculation and to reflect the uncertainty in the marketplace that these yields will be realized. From February to September 2012, yields on these issues have been set to zero. All YLO issues held were sold in October 2012.

These calculations were performed assuming constant contemporary GOC-5 and 3-Month Bill rates, as follows:

Canada Yields Assumed in Calculations
Month-end GOC-5 3-Month Bill
September, 2015 0.78% 0.40%
December, 2015 0.71% 0.46%
March, 2016 0.70% 0.44%
June 0.57% 0.47%
September 0.58% 0.53%
December, 2016 1.16% 0.47%
March, 2017 1.08% 0.55%
June 1.35% 0.69%
September 1.79% 0.97%
December, 2017 1.83% 1.00%
March, 2018 2.06% 1.08%
June 1.95% 1.22%
September 2.33% 1.55%
December, 2018 1.88% 1.65%
March, 2019 1.46% 1.66%
June 1.34% 1.66%
September 1.41% 1.66%
November, 2019 1.51% 1.67%

The large drop this month in the projected sustainable yield is due to the fact that in November, 2019, the assumption of DeemedRetraction was cancelled in the wake of the IAIS decision included in ICS 2.0.

I will also note that the sustainable yield calculated above is not directly comparable with any yield calculation currently reported by any other preferred share fund as far as I am aware. The Sustainable Yield depends on:
i) Calculating Yield-to-Worst for each instrument and using this yield for reporting purposes;
ii) Using the contemporary value of Five-Year Canadas to estimate dividends after reset for FixedResets. The assumption regarding the five-year Canada rate has become more important as the proportion of low-spread FixedResets in the portfolio has increased.
iii) Making the assumption that deeply discounted NVCC non-compliant issues from both banks and insurers, both Straight and FixedResets will be redeemed at par on their DeemedMaturity date as discussed above.

MAPF Portfolio Composition : November, 2019

Thursday, December 5th, 2019

Turnover remained high at 20% in November; the market was volatile during the month and the IAIS announcement abandoning the drive towards DeemedRetractions also had an effect.

The fund’s trading will probably be higher in the future than has been normal for the past several years, since the extreme segmentation in the marketplace that I have been complaining about for so long is now effectively ended. Low-Reset insurance issues have been considered so cheap relative to their peers that the fund’s holdings were effectively frozen. However, this differentiating factor is no longer considered applicable.

I am no longer making any adjustments for special qualities of insurance issues but note that this policy may change again in the future – a requirement for a Principal Loss Absorbency Mechanism, whereby any security included in Tier 1 Capital will be wiped out prior to a government bail-out, even if technical bankruptcy is avoided, remains good public policy; it is a disgrace that the IAIS has rejected this principle and even worse that OSFI argued strenuously against it. I will continue to read notifications from these two entities with great interest, but while it is within the realm of possibility that ICS 2.0 will be revised following the expiry of the current five-year testing period, I can’t say I have any great confidence in the wisdom of the bureaucrats.

Sectoral distribution of the MAPF portfolio on November 29 was as follows:

MAPF Sectoral Analysis 2019-11-29
HIMI Indices Sector Weighting YTW ModDur
Ratchet 0% N/A N/A
FixFloat 0% N/A N/A
Floater 0.4% 6.32% 13.34
OpRet 0% N/A N/A
SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Interest Rearing 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualPremium 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualDiscount 0% N/A N/A
Fixed-Reset Discount 37.6% 6.31% 13.50
Deemed-Retractible 0% N/A N/A
FloatingReset 10.54% 6.28% 13.56
FixedReset Premium 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Insurance non-NVCC 41.7% 5.66% 14.48
Scraps – Ratchet 1.5% 7.29% 13.85
Scraps – FixedFloater 0.0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Floater 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – OpRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpPrem 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpDisc 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FR Discount 7.9% 7.49% 11.93
Scraps – DeemedRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FloatingReset 0.8% 8.24% 11.03
Scraps – FR Premium 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Ins non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
Cash -0.4% 0.00% 0.00
Total 100% 6.18% 13.83
Totals and changes will not add precisely due to rounding. Cash is included in totals with duration and yield both equal to zero.
The various “Scraps” indices include issues with a DBRS rating of Pfd-3(high) or lower and issues with an Average Trading Value (calculated with HIMIPref™ methodology, which is relatively complex) of less than $25,000. The issues considered “Scraps” are subdivided into indices which reflect those of the main indices.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator. These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 in the case of banks or normally in the case of insurers and insurance holding companies, in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis and IAIS Says No To DeemedRetractions for the recent change in policy with respect to insurers.

Note that the estimate for the time this will become effective for insurers and insurance holding companies was extended by three years in April 2013, due to the delays in OSFI’s providing clarity on the issue and by a further five years in December, 2018; the estimate was eliminated in November..

Calculations of resettable instruments are performed assuming a constant GOC-5 rate of 1.51% and a constant 3-Month Bill rate of 1.67%

The “total” reflects the un-leveraged total portfolio (i.e., cash is included in the portfolio calculations and is deemed to have a duration and yield of 0.00.). MAPF will often have relatively large cash balances, both credit and debit, to facilitate trading. Figures presented in the table have been rounded to the indicated precision.

Credit distribution is:

MAPF Credit Analysis 2019-11-29
DBRS Rating Weighting
Pfd-1 0
Pfd-1(low) 0
Pfd-2(high) 35.7%
Pfd-2 28.0%
Pfd-2(low) 26.4%
Pfd-3(high) 2.5%
Pfd-3 3.4%
Pfd-3(low) 3.6%
Pfd-4(high) 0%
Pfd-4 0%
Pfd-4(low) 0%
Pfd-5(high) 0.8%
Pfd-5 0.0%
Cash -0.4%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.
The fund holds a position in AZP.PR.C, which is rated P-5(high) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-5(high) total.
The fund holds a position in EMA.PR.C and EMA.PR.F, which are rated P-2(low) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-2(low) total.
A position held in INE.PR.A is not rated by DBRS, but has been included as “Pfd-3” in the above table on the basis of its S&P rating of P-3.

Liquidity Distribution is:

MAPF Liquidity Analysis 2019-11-29
Average Daily Trading Weighting
<$50,000 8.5%
$50,000 – $100,000 45.9%
$100,000 – $200,000 25.3%
$200,000 – $300,000 5.6%
>$300,000 15.1%
Cash -0.4%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.

The distribution of Issue Reset Spreads is:

Range MAPF Weight
<100bp 0%
100-149bp 27.9%
150-199bp 19.0%
200-249bp 17.7%
250-299bp 23.8%
300-349bp 1.7%
350-399bp 5.2%
400-449bp 1.9%
450-499bp 0.0%
500-549bp 1.3%
550-599bp 0%
>= 600bp 0%
Undefined 1.5%

Distribution of Floating Rate Start Dates is shown in the table below. This is the date of the next adjustment to the dividend rate, if the issue is currently paying a fixed rate for a limited time; which in practice is successive terms of 5 years. Issues that adjust quarterly are considered “Currently Floating”.

Range MAPF Weight
Currently Floating 13.2%
0-1 Year 16.1%
1-2 Years 26.1%
2-3 Years 9.7%
3-4 Years 28.6%
4-5 Years 6.7%
5-6 Years 0%
>6 Years 0%
Not Floating Rate -0.4%

MAPF is, of course, Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund, a “unit trust” managed by Hymas Investment Management Inc. Further information and links to performance, audited financials and subscription information are available the fund’s web page. The fund may be purchased either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited. A “unit trust” is like a regular mutual fund, but are not sold with a prospectus. This is cheaper, but means subscription is restricted to “accredited investors” (as defined by the Ontario Securities Commission). Fund past performances are not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in MAPF or any other fund.

A similar portfolio composition analysis has been performed on the Claymore Preferred Share ETF (symbol CPD) (and other funds) as of July 31, 2017, and published in the August, 2017, PrefLetter. It is fair to say:

  • MAPF credit quality is much better
  • MAPF liquidity is lower
  • MAPF Yield is higher
  • Weightings
    • MAPF is much less exposed to Straight Perpetuals
    • Neither portfolio is exposed to Operating Retractibles (there aren’t too many of those any more!)
    • MAPF is equally exposed to SplitShares (that is to say, currently no exposure)
    • MAPF is less exposed to FixFloat / Floater / Ratchet
    • MAPF is significantly higher weighted in FixedResets, with a much greater emphasis on lower-spread and insurance issues

MAPF Performance : October, 2019

Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund’s Net Asset Value per Unit as of the close October 31, 2019, was $7.7897.

Returns to October 31, 2019
Period MAPF BMO-CM “50” Preferred Share Index TXPR*
Total Return
CPD – according to Blackrock
One Month -0.07% +0.23% +0.19% N/A
Three Months -2.92% -0.86% -0.57% N/A
One Year -17.26% -10.03% -7.66% -8.24%
Two Years (annualized) -8.02% -5.02% -3.79% N/A
Three Years (annualized) +2.64% +2.70% +2.42% +1.93%
Four Years (annualized) +3.68% +3.47% +3.06% N/A
Five Years (annualized) -1.32% -0.60% -0.94% -1.38%
Six Years (annualized) +0.40% +0.23% +0.20% N/A
Seven Years (annualized) +0.17% +0.24% -0.01% N/A
Eight Years (annualized) +1.49% +0.97% +0.71% N/A
Nine Years (annualized) +1.58% +1.57% +1.12% N/A
Ten Years (annualized) +3.40% +2.77% +2.17% +1.63%
Eleven Years (annualized) +8.04% +4.05% +3.36%  
Twelve Years (annualized) +6.83% +2.59% +1.90%  
Thirteen Years (annualized) +6.03% +1.99%    
Fourteen Years (annualized) +6.05% +2.21%    
Fifteen Years (annualized) +6.08% +2.33%    
Sixteen Years (annualized) +6.64% +2.53%    
Seventeen Years (annualized) +7.71% +2.81%    
Eighteen Years (annualized) +7.20% +2.84%    
MAPF returns assume reinvestment of distributions, and are shown after expenses but before fees.
The full name of the BMO-CM “50” index is the BMO Capital Markets “50” Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees.
“TXPR” is the S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees, but does assume reinvestment of dividends.
CPD Returns are for the NAV and are after all fees and expenses. Reinvestment of dividends is assumed.
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Income Fund (formerly Omega Preferred Equity) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are +%, +% and -%, respectively, according to Globe & Mail / Fundata after all fees & expenses. Three year performance is +%; five year is -; ten year is +%

Figures from Morningstar are no longer conveniently available.

Manulife Preferred Income Class Adv has been terminated by Manulife. The performance of this fund was last reported here in March, 2018.
Figures for Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF (HPR) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are +0.27%, -1.37% & -11.27%, respectively. Three year performance is +1.62%, five-year is -0.58%
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Fund (formerly Altamira Preferred Equity Fund) are +%, -% and -% for one-, three- and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +%; five-year is -%.

Acccording to the fund’s fact sheet as of June 30, 2016, the fund’s inception date was October 30, 2015. I do not know how they justify this nonsensical statement, but will assume that prior performance is being suppressed in some perfectly legal manner that somebody at National considers ethical.

The last time Altamira Preferred Equity Fund’s performance was reported here was April, 2014; performance under the National Bank banner was first reported here May, 2014.

The figures for the NAV of BMO S&P/TSX Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF (ZPR) is -11.26% for the past twelve months. Two year performance is -5.71%, three year is +2.09%, five year is -3.01%.
Figures for Fiera Canadian Preferred Share Class Cg Series F, (formerly Natixis Canadian Preferred Share Class Series F) (formerly NexGen Canadian Preferred Share Tax Managed Fund) are +%, -% and -% for one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -%; five-year is -%
Figures for BMO Preferred Share Fund (advisor series) according to BMO are +0.08%, -2.23% and -12.82% for the past one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -1.53%; five-year is -3.12%.
Figures for PowerShares Canadian Preferred Share Index Class, Series F (PPS) are -9.06% for the past twelve months. The three-year figure is +2.81%; five years is -0.48%
Figures for the First Asset Preferred Share Investment Trust (PSF.UN) are no longer available since the fund has merged with First Asset Preferred Share ETF (FPR).

Performance for the fund was last reported here in September, 2016; the first report of unavailability was in October, 2016.

Figures for Lysander-Slater Preferred Share Dividend Fund (Class F) according to the company are +0.16%, -2.21% and -12.17% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is -0.06%.
Figures for the Desjardins Canadian Preferred Share Fund A Class (A Class), as reported by the company are +0.13%, -1.42% and -10.79% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Two year is -6.19 and three year performance is +0.55%.

MAPF returns assume reinvestment of dividends, and are shown after expenses but before fees. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund or any other fund. For more information, see the fund’s main page. The fund is available either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited.

The preferred share market continues to suffer, leaving a lot of room for outsized gains. The Seniority Spread (the interest-equivalent yield on reasonably liquid, investment-grade PerpetualDiscounts less the yield on long term corporate bonds) is extremely elevated (chart end-date 2019-10-11)

pl_191011_body_chart_1
Click for Big

Note that the Seniority Spread was 355bp on October 30, a sharp narrowing from the post-Credit-Crunch record 420bp reported at the end of August. As a good practical example of the spreads between markets, consider that on March 20 the redemption of IGM.PR.B was announced; the redemption of this 5.90% Straight Perpetual was explicitly financed by the issue of 4.206% debentures, implying a Seniority Spread for this issuer of about 350bp at that time. It will also be noted that CIU issued a long-term bond in early September yielding 2.963%, about 411bp cheaper than the interest-equivalent figure of 7.07% for CIU.PR.A, which was then yielding about 5.44% as a dividend.

As has been noted, the increase in the Seniority Spread over the past year has been due not to an increase in yield (drop in prices) of Straight Preferreds over the year, but because the yield of the preferreds has remained relatively constant while the yield of long-term corporate bonds has dropped dramatically.

… and the relationship between five-year Canada yields and yields on investment-grade FixedResets is also well within what I consider ‘decoupled panic’ territory (chart end-date 2019-10-11):

pl_191011_body_chart_5
Click for Big

In addition, I feel that the yield on five-year Canadas is unsustainably low (it should be the inflation rate plus an increment of … 1%? 1.5%? 2.0%?),and a return to sustainable levels is likely over the medium term.

It seems clear that many market players are, wittingly or not, using FixedResets to speculate on future moves in the Canada 5-Year yield. This is excellent news for those who take market action based on fundamentals and the long term characteristics of the market because nobody can consistently time the markets. The speculators will, over the long run, lose money, handing it over to more sober investors.

It should be noted that I have been unable to explain the very strong performance of Floor issues over the past year relative to their non-Floor counterparts. See the discussions on PrefBlog at LINK, LINK and LINK.

I believe the bear-market outperformance by the Floor issues is a behavioural phenomenon with very little basis in fundamentals. When interest rates in general move, FixedReset prices should not change much (to a first approximation), since in Fixed Income investing it is spreads that are important, not absolute yields. There should be some effect on Floor issues, which should move up slightly in price as yields go down since the ‘option’ to receive the floor rate will become more valuable. Adjustments due to this effect should be fairly small, however – and over the past year issues with a floor, that started the period being expensive, have simply gotten even more expensive, relative to their non-floored counterparts.

And the tricky thing about behavioural models of investing is that they can lose their explanatory power very quickly when an investment fashion shifts, whereas fundamentals will always be effective. Just to give an example from the preferred share market – until the end of 2014, FixedResets were priced relative to each other according to their initial dividend; when the reset of TRP.PR.A shocked a lot of investors, relative pricing became much more dependent upon the Issue Reset Spread, a much more logical and fundamental property.

FixedReset (Discount) performance on the month was -0.85% vs. PerpetualDiscounts of +1.69% in October; the two classes finally decoupled in mid-November, 2018, after months of moving in lockstep, but it still appears to me that yields available on FixedResets are keeping the yields of PerpetualDiscounts up, even though a consistent valuation based on an expectation of declining interest rates would greatly increase the attractiveness of PerpetualDiscounts:

himi_indexperf_191031
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Floaters continued their modest recovery, returning +0.99% for October but the figure for the past twelve months remains horrific at -36.78%. Look at the long-term performance:

himi_floaterperf_191031
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Some Assiduous Readers will be interested to observe that the ‘Quantitative Easing’ decline was not initially as bad as the ‘Credit Crunch’ decline, which took the sector down to the point where the 15-year cumulative total return was negative. I wrote about that at the time. but it became worse in August, 2019! On August 30, 2019 the HIMI Floater Index (total return) value was calculated as 1906.6; the index first surpassed this value on 2003-8-13. Thus, cumulative total return (that is, including dividends) was negative over a period of slightly-over sixteen years.

It seems clear that Floaters are used, wittingly or otherwise, as a vehicle for speculation on the policy rate and Canada Prime, while FixedResets are being used as a vehicle for speculation on the five-year Canada rate. In support of this idea, I present an Implied Volatility analysis of the TRP series of FixedResets as of October 31, which is comprised of six issues without a Minimum Rate Guarantee and two issues which do have this feature:

impvol_trp_191031
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The two issues with floors, TRP.PR.J (+469, minimum 5.50%) and TRP.PR.K (+385, minimum 4.90%) are $3.27 and $4.96 rich, respectively. These are marked increases from last month, despite the fact that their floor will not become effective unless five-year Canadas dip below 0.81% and 1.05%, respectively. For all the gloom, we’re still above those levels!

Lest this be considered a fluke, I also show results for the BAM series of FixedResets, which includes three issues with dividend floors: BAM.PF.H (+417, Minimum 5.00%); BAM.PF.I (+386, Minimum 4.80%); and BAM.PF.J (+310, Minimum 4.75%); these issues are all rich compared to their non-floor siblings, being $2.07, $3.43 and $4.84 expensive, respectively, comparable to last month’s figures.

impvol_bam_191031
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Relative performance during the month was not correlated with Issue Reset Spreads for either “Pfd-2 Group” or “Pfd-3 Group” issues:

fr_191031_1moperf
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… and results over the quarter were similar (Pfd-3 Group correlation was 28%):

fr_191031_3moperf
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As for the future, of course, it’s one thing to say that ‘spreads are unsustainable and so are government yields’ and it’s quite another to forecast just how and when a more economically sustainable environment will take effect. It could be years. The same caution applies for an end to the overpricing of issues with a minimum rate guarantee. There could be a reversal, particularly if Trump’s international trade policies cause a severe recession or even a depression. And, of course, I could be just plain wrong about the sustainability of the current environment.

On the other hand, I will pass on my observation that international interest in the Canadian preferred share market is increasing, as other Floating Rate indices globally are doing much better. Consider, for example the Solactive Australian Bank Senior Floating Rate Bond Index, which “provides exposure to the largest and most liquid floating rate debt securities issued by selected Australian banks. The index is comprised of investment grade floating rate debt securities denominated in AUD and calculated as a Total Return Index” (LINK although the index constituents currently all have a remaining term of less than five years), and the S&P U.S. Floating Rate Preferred Stock Index.

Yields on preferred shares of all stripes are extremely high compared to those available from other investments of similar quality. As I told John Heinzl in an eMail interview in late November, 2018, the best advice I can offer investors remains Shut up and clip your coupons!

I think that a broad, sustainable rally in FixedResets will require higher five-year Canada yields (or a widespread expectation of them) … and although I’m sure this will happen eventually, it would be foolish to speculate on just when it will happen!

Calculation of MAPF Sustainable Income Per Unit
Month NAVPU Portfolio
Average
YTW
Leverage
Divisor
Securities
Average
YTW
Capital
Gains
Multiplier
Sustainable
Income
per
current
Unit
June, 2007 9.3114 5.16% 1.03 5.01% 1.3240 0.3524
September 9.1489 5.35% 0.98 5.46% 1.3240 0.3773
December, 2007 9.0070 5.53% 0.942 5.87% 1.3240 0.3993
March, 2008 8.8512 6.17% 1.047 5.89% 1.3240 0.3938
June 8.3419 6.034% 0.952 6.338% 1.3240 $0.3993
September 8.1886 7.108% 0.969 7.335% 1.3240 $0.4537
December, 2008 8.0464 9.24% 1.008 9.166% 1.3240 $0.5571
March 2009 $8.8317 8.60% 0.995 8.802% 1.3240 $0.5872
June 10.9846 7.05% 0.999 7.057% 1.3240 $0.5855
September 12.3462 6.03% 0.998 6.042% 1.3240 $0.5634
December 2009 10.5662 5.74% 0.981 5.851% 1.1141 $0.5549
March 2010 10.2497 6.03% 0.992 6.079% 1.1141 $0.5593
June 10.5770 5.96% 0.996 5.984% 1.1141 $0.5681
September 11.3901 5.43% 0.980 5.540% 1.1141 $0.5664
December 2010 10.7659 5.37% 0.993 5.408% 1.0298 $0.5654
March, 2011 11.0560 6.00% 0.994 5.964% 1.0298 $0.6403
June 11.1194 5.87% 1.018 5.976% 1.0298 $0.6453
September 10.2709 6.10%
Note
1.001 6.106% 1.0298 $0.6090
December, 2011 10.0793 5.63%
Note
1.031 5.805% 1.0000 $0.5851
March, 2012 10.3944 5.13%
Note
0.996 5.109% 1.0000 $0.5310
June 10.2151 5.32%
Note
1.012 5.384% 1.0000 $0.5500
September 10.6703 4.61%
Note
0.997 4.624% 1.0000 $0.4934
December, 2012 10.8307 4.24% 0.989 4.287% 1.0000 $0.4643
March, 2013 10.9033 3.87% 0.996 3.886% 1.0000 $0.4237
June 10.3261 4.81% 0.998 4.80% 1.0000 $0.4957
September 10.0296 5.62% 0.996 5.643% 1.0000 $0.5660
December, 2013 9.8717 6.02% 1.008 5.972% 1.0000 $0.5895
March, 2014 10.2233 5.55% 0.998 5.561% 1.0000 $0.5685
June 10.5877 5.09% 0.998 5.100% 1.0000 $0.5395
September 10.4601 5.28% 0.997 5.296% 1.0000 $0.5540
December, 2014 10.5701 4.83% 1.009 4.787% 1.0000 $0.5060
March, 2015 9.9573 4.99% 1.001 4.985% 1.0000 $0.4964
June, 2015 9.4181 5.55% 1.002 5.539% 1.0000 $0.5217
September 7.8140 6.98% 0.999 6.987% 1.0000 $0.5460
December, 2015 8.1379 6.85% 0.997 6.871% 1.0000 $0.5592
March, 2016 7.4416 7.79% 0.998 7.805% 1.0000 $0.5808
June 7.6704 7.67% 1.011 7.587% 1.0000 $0.5819
September 8.0590 7.35% 0.993 7.402% 1.0000 $0.5965
December, 2016 8.5844 7.24% 0.990 7.313% 1.0000 $0.6278
March, 2017 9.3984 6.26% 0.994 6.298% 1.0000 $0.5919
June 9.5313 6.41% 0.998 6.423% 1.0000 $0.6122
September 9.7129 6.56% 0.998 6.573% 1.0000 $0.6384
December, 2017 10.0566 6.06% 1.004 6.036% 1.0000 $0.6070
March, 2018 10.2701 6.22% 1.007 6.177% 1.0000 $0.6344
June 10.2518 6.22% 0.995 6.251% 1.0000 $0.6408
September 10.2965 6.62% 1.018 6.503% 1.0000 $0.6696
December, 2018 8.6875 7.16% 0.997 7.182% 1.0000 $0.6240
March, 2019 8.4778 7.09% 1.007 7.041% 1.0000 $0.5969
June 8.0896 7.33% 0.996 7.359% 1.0000 $0.5953
September 7.7948 7.96% 0.998 7.976% 1.0000 $0.6217
October, 2019 7.7897 8.22% 1.005 8.179% 1.0000 $0.6371
NAVPU is shown after quarterly distributions of dividend income and annual distribution of capital gains.
Portfolio YTW includes cash (or margin borrowing), with an assumed interest rate of 0.00%
The Leverage Divisor indicates the level of cash in the account: if the portfolio is 1% in cash, the Leverage Divisor will be 0.99
Securities YTW divides “Portfolio YTW” by the “Leverage Divisor” to show the average YTW on the securities held; this assumes that the cash is invested in (or raised from) all securities held, in proportion to their holdings.
The Capital Gains Multiplier adjusts for the effects of Capital Gains Dividends. On 2009-12-31, there was a capital gains distribution of $1.989262 which is assumed for this purpose to have been reinvested at the final price of $10.5662. Thus, a holder of one unit pre-distribution would have held 1.1883 units post-distribution; the CG Multiplier reflects this to make the time-series comparable. Note that Dividend Distributions are not assumed to be reinvested.
Sustainable Income is the resultant estimate of the fund’s dividend income per current unit, before fees and expenses. Note that a “current unit” includes reinvestment of prior capital gains; a unitholder would have had the calculated sustainable income with only, say, 0.9 units in the past which, with reinvestment of capital gains, would become 1.0 current units.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator (definition refined in May, 2011). These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies (see below)), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

The same reasoning is also applied to FixedResets from these issuers, other than explicitly defined NVCC from banks.

The Deemed Maturity date for insurers was set at 2022-1-31 at the commencement of the process in February, 2011. It was extended to 2025-1-31 in April, 2013 and to 2030-1-31 in December, 2018
Yields for September, 2011, to January, 2012, were calculated by imposing a cap of 10% on the yields of YLO issues held, in order to avoid their extremely high calculated yields distorting the calculation and to reflect the uncertainty in the marketplace that these yields will be realized. From February to September 2012, yields on these issues have been set to zero. All YLO issues held were sold in October 2012.

These calculations were performed assuming constant contemporary GOC-5 and 3-Month Bill rates, as follows:

Canada Yields Assumed in Calculations
Month-end GOC-5 3-Month Bill
September, 2015 0.78% 0.40%
December, 2015 0.71% 0.46%
March, 2016 0.70% 0.44%
June 0.57% 0.47%
September 0.58% 0.53%
December, 2016 1.16% 0.47%
March, 2017 1.08% 0.55%
June 1.35% 0.69%
September 1.79% 0.97%
December, 2017 1.83% 1.00%
March, 2018 2.06% 1.08%
June 1.95% 1.22%
September 2.33% 1.55%
December, 2018 1.88% 1.65%
March, 2019 1.46% 1.66%
June 1.34% 1.66%
September 1.41% 1.66%
October, 2019 1.42% 1.68%

Significant positions were held in NVCC non-compliant regulated FixedReset issues on October 31, 2019; all of these currently have their yields calculated with the presumption that they will be called by the issuers at par prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or 2030-1-31 (insurers and insurance holding companies) or on a different date (SplitShares, when present in the portfolio) This presents another complication in the calculation of sustainable yield, which also assumes that redemption proceeds will be reinvested at the same rate. It will also be noted that my analysis of likely insurance industry regulation as updated is not given much weight by the market.

I will also note that the sustainable yield calculated above is not directly comparable with any yield calculation currently reported by any other preferred share fund as far as I am aware. The Sustainable Yield depends on:
i) Calculating Yield-to-Worst for each instrument and using this yield for reporting purposes;
ii) Using the contemporary value of Five-Year Canadas to estimate dividends after reset for FixedResets. The assumption regarding the five-year Canada rate has become more important as the proportion of low-spread FixedResets in the portfolio has increased.
iii) Making the assumption that deeply discounted NVCC non-compliant issues from both banks and insurers, both Straight and FixedResets will be redeemed at par on their DeemedMaturity date as discussed above.

MAPF Portfolio Composition : October, 2019

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

Turnover jumped to 22% in October, as the market was volatile during the month.

There is extreme segmentation in the marketplace, with OSFI’s NVCC rule changes in February 2011 having had the effect of splitting the formerly relatively homogeneous Straight Perpetual class of preferreds into three parts:

  • Unaffected Straight Perpetuals
  • DeemedRetractibles explicitly subject to the rules (banks)
  • DeemedRetractibles considered by me, but not (yet!) by the market, to be likely to be explicitly subject to the rules in the future (insurers and insurance holding companies)

This segmentation, and the extreme valuation differences between the segments, has cut down markedly on the opportunities for trading.

To make this more clear, it used to be that there were 70-odd Straight Perpetuals and I was more or less indifferent as to which ones I owned (subject, of course, to issuer concentration concerns and other risk management factors). Thus, if any one of these 70 were to go down in price by – say – $0.25, I would quite often have something in inventory that I’d be willing to swap for it. The segmentation means that I am no longer indifferent; in addition to checking the valuation of a potential buy to other Straights, I also have to check its peer group. This cuts down on the potential for trading.

And, of course, the same segmentation has the same effect on trading opportunities between FixedReset issues.

I have argued for a long time that insurers will become covered by NVCC rules similar to the banks, but regulatory process on the issue is very slow.

As a result of prior delays, I initially extended the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies by three years (to 2025-1-31), in the expectation that when OSFI finally does provide clarity, they will allow the same degree of lead-in time for these companies as they did for banks. This had a major effect on the durations of preferred shares subject to the change but, fortunately, not much on their calculated yields as most of these issues were either trading near par when the change was made or were trading at sufficient premium that a par call was expected on economic grounds. However, with the declines in the market over the past nine months, the expected capital gain on redemption of the insurance-issued DeemedRetractibles has become an important component of the calculated yield.

In December, 2018, I extended the DeemedMaturity date for insurance issues by another five years, to 2030-1-31.

The new date has been chosen with the idea that a decision will be made by the IAIS (International Association of Insurance Supervisors) in 2019, and (if favourable) will be implemented with an 11-year grace period, similarly to the banks. We shall see just how accurate these suppositions might be!

I must emphasize that these extensions do not give rise to any desire on my part to alter the fundamentals of my analysis. It is simply a reaction to the excessive time the regulators are taking to discuss the issue.

Sectoral distribution of the MAPF portfolio on October 31 was as follows:

MAPF Sectoral Analysis 2019-10-31
HIMI Indices Sector Weighting YTW ModDur
Ratchet 0% N/A N/A
FixFloat 0% N/A N/A
Floater 0% N/A N/A
OpRet 0% N/A N/A
SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Interest Rearing 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualPremium 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualDiscount 0% N/A N/A
Fixed-Reset Discount 34.5% 6.28% 13.58
Deemed-Retractible 0% N/A N/A
FloatingReset 10.23% 8.74% 10.43
FixedReset Premium 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Insurance non-NVCC 46.1% 9.63% 8.01
Scraps – Ratchet 0.7% 7.25% 13.89
Scraps – FixedFloater 0.8% N/A N/A
Scraps – Floater 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – OpRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpPrem 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpDisc 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FR Discount 7.4% 7.45% 12.07
Scraps – DeemedRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FloatingReset 0.8% 8.33% 11.00
Scraps – FR Premium 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Ins non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
Cash -0.5% 0.00% 0.00
Total 100% 8.22% 10.63
Totals and changes will not add precisely due to rounding. Cash is included in totals with duration and yield both equal to zero.
The various “Scraps” indices include issues with a DBRS rating of Pfd-3(high) or lower and issues with an Average Trading Value (calculated with HIMIPref™ methodology, which is relatively complex) of less than $25,000. The issues considered “Scraps” are subdivided into indices which reflect those of the main indices.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator. These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or 2030-1-31 (insurers and insurance holding companies), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

Note that the estimate for the time this will become effective for insurers and insurance holding companies was extended by three years in April 2013, due to the delays in OSFI’s providing clarity on the issue and by a further five years in December, 2018.

Calculations of resettable instruments are performed assuming a constant GOC-5 rate of 1.42% and a constant 3-Month Bill rate of 1.68%

The “total” reflects the un-leveraged total portfolio (i.e., cash is included in the portfolio calculations and is deemed to have a duration and yield of 0.00.). MAPF will often have relatively large cash balances, both credit and debit, to facilitate trading. Figures presented in the table have been rounded to the indicated precision.

Credit distribution is:

MAPF Credit Analysis 2019-10-31
DBRS Rating Weighting
Pfd-1 0
Pfd-1(low) 0
Pfd-2(high) 41.0%
Pfd-2 25.5%
Pfd-2(low) 24.4%
Pfd-3(high) 2.4%
Pfd-3 4.1%
Pfd-3(low) 2.5%
Pfd-4(high) 0%
Pfd-4 0%
Pfd-4(low) 0%
Pfd-5(high) 0.8%
Pfd-5 0.0%
Cash -0.5%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.
The fund holds a position in AZP.PR.C, which is rated P-5(high) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-5(high) total.
The fund holds a position in EMA.PR.C and EMA.PR.F, which are rated P-2(low) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-2(low) total.
A position held in INE.PR.A is not rated by DBRS, but has been included as “Pfd-3” in the above table on the basis of its S&P rating of P-3.

Liquidity Distribution is:

MAPF Liquidity Analysis 2019-10-31
Average Daily Trading Weighting
<$50,000 22.1%
$50,000 – $100,000 33.1%
$100,000 – $200,000 29.6%
$200,000 – $300,000 10.4%
>$300,000 5.3%
Cash -0.5%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.

The distribution of Issue Reset Spreads is:

Range MAPF Weight
<100bp 0%
100-149bp 29.5%
150-199bp 20.1%
200-249bp 12.8%
250-299bp 28.7%
300-349bp 0.8%
350-399bp 3.9%
400-449bp 1.9%
450-499bp 0.0%
500-549bp 1.3%
550-599bp 0%
>= 600bp 0%
Undefined 1.0%

Distribution of Floating Rate Start Dates is shown in the table below. This is the date of the next adjustment to the dividend rate, if the issue is currently paying a fixed rate for a limited time; which in practice is successive terms of 5 years. Issues that adjust quarterly are considered “Currently Floating”.

Range MAPF Weight
Currently Floating 12.1%
0-1 Year 20.4%
1-2 Years 31.2%
2-3 Years 13.4%
3-4 Years 20.1%
4-5 Years 3.3%
5-6 Years 0%
>6 Years 0%
Not Floating Rate -0.5%

MAPF is, of course, Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund, a “unit trust” managed by Hymas Investment Management Inc. Further information and links to performance, audited financials and subscription information are available the fund’s web page. The fund may be purchased either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited. A “unit trust” is like a regular mutual fund, but are not sold with a prospectus. This is cheaper, but means subscription is restricted to “accredited investors” (as defined by the Ontario Securities Commission). Fund past performances are not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in MAPF or any other fund.

A similar portfolio composition analysis has been performed on the Claymore Preferred Share ETF (symbol CPD) (and other funds) as of July 31, 2017, and published in the August, 2017, PrefLetter. It is fair to say:

  • MAPF credit quality is much better
  • MAPF liquidity is lower
  • MAPF Yield is higher
  • Weightings
    • MAPF is much less exposed to Straight Perpetuals
    • Neither portfolio is exposed to Operating Retractibles (there aren’t too many of those any more!)
    • MAPF is equally exposed to SplitShares (that is to say, currently no exposure)
    • MAPF is less exposed to FixFloat / Floater / Ratchet
    • MAPF is significantly higher weighted in FixedResets, with a much greater emphasis on lower-spread and insurance issues

MAPF Performance: September, 2019

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund’s Net Asset Value per Unit as of the close September 30, 2019, was $7.7948 after a distribution of $0.102629.

Returns to September 30, 2019
Period MAPF BMO-CM “50” Preferred Share Index TXPR*
Total Return
CPD – according to Blackrock
One Month +3.19% +3.56% +3.34% N/A
Three Months -2.38% +0.40% +0.55% N/A
One Year -20.55% -13.21% -10.36% -10.95%
Two Years (annualized) -6.41% -3.88% -2.94% N/A
Three Years (annualized) +3.19% +3.34% +3.14% +2.64%
Four Years (annualized) +4.60% +4.74% +4.46% N/A
Five Years (annualized) -1.18% -0.54% -0.88% -1.31%
Six Years (annualized) +0.54% +0.23% +0.16% N/A
Seven Years (annualized) +0.30% +0.27% 0.00% N/A
Eight Years (annualized) +1.76% +1.02% +0.79% N/A
Nine Years (annualized) +1.88% +1.77% +1.27% N/A
Ten Years (annualized) +3.17% +2.55% +2.02% +1.49%
Eleven Years (annualized) +7.48% +3.23% +2.64%  
Twelve Years (annualized) +6.50% +2.37% +1.71%  
Thirteen Years (annualized) +6.08% +2.02%    
Fourteen Years (annualized) +6.07% +2.16%    
Fifteen Years (annualized) +6.14% +2.37%    
Sixteen Years (annualized) +6.70% +2.53%    
Seventeen Years (annualized) +8.04% +2.80%    
Eighteen Years (annualized) +7.28% +2.83%    
MAPF returns assume reinvestment of distributions, and are shown after expenses but before fees.
The full name of the BMO-CM “50” index is the BMO Capital Markets “50” Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees.
“TXPR” is the S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees, but does assume reinvestment of dividends.
CPD Returns are for the NAV and are after all fees and expenses. Reinvestment of dividends is assumed.
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Income Fund (formerly Omega Preferred Equity) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are +3.26%, +0.59% and -8.90%, respectively, according to Globe & Mail / Fundata after all fees & expenses. Three year performance is +2.98%; five year is -0.01; ten year is +2.63%

Figures from Morningstar are no longer conveniently available.

Manulife Preferred Income Class Adv has been terminated by Manulife. The performance of this fund was last reported here in March, 2018.
Figures for Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF (HPR) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are +3.82%, -0.06% & -14.40%, respectively. Three year performance is +2.33%, five-year is -0.54%
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Fund (formerly Altamira Preferred Equity Fund) are +3.89%, -0.12% and -14.28% for one-, three- and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +2.58%; five-year is -0.59%.

Acccording to the fund’s fact sheet as of June 30, 2016, the fund’s inception date was October 30, 2015. I do not know how they justify this nonsensical statement, but will assume that prior performance is being suppressed in some perfectly legal manner that somebody at National considers ethical.

The last time Altamira Preferred Equity Fund’s performance was reported here was April, 2014; performance under the National Bank banner was first reported here May, 2014.

The figures for the NAV of BMO S&P/TSX Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF (ZPR) is -13.46% for the past twelve months. Two year performance is -4.75%, three year is +3.28%, five year is -2.98%.
Figures for Fiera Canadian Preferred Share Class Cg Series F, (formerly Natixis Canadian Preferred Share Class Series F) (formerly NexGen Canadian Preferred Share Tax Managed Fund) are +3.20%, -1.19% and -14.50% for one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -0.70%; five-year is -0.37%
Figures for BMO Preferred Share Fund (advisor series) according to BMO are +3.52%, -0.74% and -15.51% for the past one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -0.84%; five-year is -3.04%.
Figures for PowerShares Canadian Preferred Share Index Class, Series F (PPS) are -11.92% for the past twelve months. The three-year figure is +3.67%; five years is -0.42%
Figures for the First Asset Preferred Share Investment Trust (PSF.UN) are no longer available since the fund has merged with First Asset Preferred Share ETF (FPR).

Performance for the fund was last reported here in September, 2016; the first report of unavailability was in October, 2016.

Figures for Lysander-Slater Preferred Share Dividend Fund (Class F) according to the company are +4.08%%, -0.98% and -15.35% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +0.62%.
Figures for the Desjardins Canadian Preferred Share Fund A Class (A Class), as reported by the company are +3.17%, -0.17% and -13.67% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +1.22%.

MAPF returns assume reinvestment of dividends, and are shown after expenses but before fees. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund or any other fund. For more information, see the fund’s main page. The fund is available either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited.

The preferred share market has suffered a sharp reverse in the past five months, leaving a lot of room for outsized gains. The Seniority Spread (the interest-equivalent yield on reasonably liquid, investment-grade PerpetualDiscounts less the yield on long term corporate bonds) is extremely elevated (chart end-date 2019-9-13)

pl_190913_body_chart_1
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Note that the Seniority Spread was 385bp on October 2, a sharp narrowing from the post-Credit-Crunch record 420bp reported at the end of August. As a good practical example of the spreads between markets, consider that on March 20 the redemption of IGM.PR.B was announced; the redemption of this 5.90% Straight Perpetual was explicitly financed by the issue of 4.206% debentures, implying a Seniority Spread for this issuer of about 350bp at that time. It will also be noted that CIU issued a long-term bond in early September yielding 2.963%, about 411bp cheaper than the interest-equivalent figure of 7.07% for CIU.PR.A, which was then yielding about 5.44% as a dividend.

As has been noted, the increase in the Seniority Spread over the past year has been due not to an increase in yield (drop in prices) of Straight Preferreds over the year, but because the yield of the preferreds has remained relatively constant while the yield of long-term corporate bonds has dropped dramatically.

… and the relationship between five-year Canada yields and yields on investment-grade FixedResets is also well within what I consider ‘decoupled panic’ territory (chart end-date 2019-8-9):

pl_190913_body_chart_5
Click for Big

In addition, I feel that the yield on five-year Canadas is unsustainably low (it should be the inflation rate plus an increment of … 1%? 1.5%? 2.0%?),and a return to sustainable levels is likely over the medium term.

It seems clear that many market players are, wittingly or not, using FixedResets to speculate on future moves in the Canada 5-Year yield. This is excellent news for those who take market action based on fundamentals and the long term characteristics of the market because nobody can consistently time the markets. The speculators will, over the long run, lose money, handing it over to more sober investors.

It should be noted that I have been unable to explain the very strong performance of Floor issues over the past year relative to their non-Floor counterparts. See the discussions on PrefBlog at LINK, LINK and LINK.

I believe the bear-market outperformance by the Floor issues is a behavioural phenomenon with very little basis in fundamentals. When interest rates in general move, FixedReset prices should not change much (to a first approximation), since in Fixed Income investing it is spreads that are important, not absolute yields. There should be some effect on Floor issues, which should move up slightly in price as yields go down since the ‘option’ to receive the floor rate will become more valuable. Adjustments due to this effect should be fairly small, however – and over the past year issues with a floor, that started the period being expensive, have simply gotten even more expensive, relative to their non-floored counterparts.

And the tricky thing about behavioural models of investing is that they can lose their explanatory power very quickly when an investment fashion shifts, whereas fundamentals will always be effective. Just to give an example from the preferred share market – until the end of 2014, FixedResets were priced relative to each other according to their initial dividend; when the reset of TRP.PR.A shocked a lot of investors, relative pricing became much more dependent upon the Issue Reset Spread, a much more logical and fundamental property.

FixedReset (Discount) performance on the month was +3.99% vs. PerpetualDiscounts of +2.69% in September; the two classes finally decoupled in mid-November, 2018, after months of moving in lockstep, but it still appears to me that yields available on FixedResets are keeping the yields of PerpetualDiscounts up, even though a consistent valuation based on an expectation of declining interest rates would greatly increase the attractiveness of PerpetualDiscounts:

himi_indexperf_190930
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Floaters managed a modest bounce, returning +5.01% for September but the figure for the past twelve months remains horrific at -39.52%. Look at the long-term performance:

himi_floaterperf_190930
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Some Assiduous Readers will be interested to observe that the ‘Quantitative Easing’ decline was not initially as bad as the ‘Credit Crunch’ decline, which took the sector down to the point where the 15-year cumulative total return was negative. I wrote about that at the time. but it became worse in August! On August 30, 2019 the HIMI Floater Index (total return) value was calculated as 1906.6; the index first surpassed this value on 2003-8-13. Thus, cumulative total return (that is, including dividends) was negative over a period of slightly-over sixteen years.

It seems clear that Floaters are used, wittingly or otherwise, as a vehicle for speculation on the policy rate and Canada Prime, while FixedResets are being used as a vehicle for speculation on the five-year Canada rate. In support of this idea, I present an Implied Volatility analysis of the TRP series of FixedResets as of September 30, which is comprised of six issues without a Minimum Rate Guarantee and two issues which do have this feature:

impvol_190930_trp
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The two issues with floors, TRP.PR.J (+469, minimum 5.50%) and TRP.PR.K (+385, minimum 4.90%) are $2.18 and $4.21 rich, respectively. These are marked increases from last month, despite the fact that their floor will not become effective unless five-year Canadas dip below 0.81% and 1.05%, respectively. For all the gloom, we’re still above those levels!

Lest this be considered a fluke, I also show results for the BAM series of FixedResets, which includes three issues with dividend floors: BAM.PF.H (+417, Minimum 5.00%); BAM.PF.I (+386, Minimum 4.80%); and BAM.PF.J (+310, Minimum 4.75%); these issues are all rich compared to their non-floor siblings, being $2.36, $3.52 and $4.76 expensive, respectively.

impvol_190930_bam
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Relative performance during the month was not correlated with Issue Reset Spreads for either “Pfd-2 Group” or “Pfd-3 Group” issues:

fr_1moperf_190930
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… and results over the quarter were similar (Pfd-3 Group correlation was 28%):

fr_3moperf_190930
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As for the future, of course, it’s one thing to say that ‘spreads are unsustainable and so are government yields’ and it’s quite another to forecast just how and when a more economically sustainable environment will take effect. It could be years. There could be a reversal, particularly if Trump’s international trade policies cause a severe recession or even a depression. And, of course, I could be just plain wrong about the sustainability of the current environment.

On the other hand, I will pass on my observation that international interest in the Canadian preferred share market is increasing, as other Floating Rate indices globally are doing much better. Consider, for example the Solactive Australian Bank Senior Floating Rate Bond Index, which “provides exposure to the largest and most liquid floating rate debt securities issued by selected Australian banks. The index is comprised of investment grade floating rate debt securities denominated in AUD and calculated as a Total Return Index” (LINK although the index constituents currently all have a remaining term of less than five years), and the S&P U.S. Floating Rate Preferred Stock Index.

Yields on preferred shares of all stripes are extremely high compared to those available from other investments of similar quality. As I told John Heinzl in an eMail interview in late November, 2018, the best advice I can offer investors remains Shut up and clip your coupons!

I think that a broad, sustainable rally in FixedResets will require higher five-year Canada yields (or a widespread expectation of them) … and although I’m sure this will happen eventually, it would be foolish to speculate on just when it will happen!

Calculation of MAPF Sustainable Income Per Unit
Month NAVPU Portfolio
Average
YTW
Leverage
Divisor
Securities
Average
YTW
Capital
Gains
Multiplier
Sustainable
Income
per
current
Unit
June, 2007 9.3114 5.16% 1.03 5.01% 1.3240 0.3524
September 9.1489 5.35% 0.98 5.46% 1.3240 0.3773
December, 2007 9.0070 5.53% 0.942 5.87% 1.3240 0.3993
March, 2008 8.8512 6.17% 1.047 5.89% 1.3240 0.3938
June 8.3419 6.034% 0.952 6.338% 1.3240 $0.3993
September 8.1886 7.108% 0.969 7.335% 1.3240 $0.4537
December, 2008 8.0464 9.24% 1.008 9.166% 1.3240 $0.5571
March 2009 $8.8317 8.60% 0.995 8.802% 1.3240 $0.5872
June 10.9846 7.05% 0.999 7.057% 1.3240 $0.5855
September 12.3462 6.03% 0.998 6.042% 1.3240 $0.5634
December 2009 10.5662 5.74% 0.981 5.851% 1.1141 $0.5549
March 2010 10.2497 6.03% 0.992 6.079% 1.1141 $0.5593
June 10.5770 5.96% 0.996 5.984% 1.1141 $0.5681
September 11.3901 5.43% 0.980 5.540% 1.1141 $0.5664
December 2010 10.7659 5.37% 0.993 5.408% 1.0298 $0.5654
March, 2011 11.0560 6.00% 0.994 5.964% 1.0298 $0.6403
June 11.1194 5.87% 1.018 5.976% 1.0298 $0.6453
September 10.2709 6.10%
Note
1.001 6.106% 1.0298 $0.6090
December, 2011 10.0793 5.63%
Note
1.031 5.805% 1.0000 $0.5851
March, 2012 10.3944 5.13%
Note
0.996 5.109% 1.0000 $0.5310
June 10.2151 5.32%
Note
1.012 5.384% 1.0000 $0.5500
September 10.6703 4.61%
Note
0.997 4.624% 1.0000 $0.4934
December, 2012 10.8307 4.24% 0.989 4.287% 1.0000 $0.4643
March, 2013 10.9033 3.87% 0.996 3.886% 1.0000 $0.4237
June 10.3261 4.81% 0.998 4.80% 1.0000 $0.4957
September 10.0296 5.62% 0.996 5.643% 1.0000 $0.5660
December, 2013 9.8717 6.02% 1.008 5.972% 1.0000 $0.5895
March, 2014 10.2233 5.55% 0.998 5.561% 1.0000 $0.5685
June 10.5877 5.09% 0.998 5.100% 1.0000 $0.5395
September 10.4601 5.28% 0.997 5.296% 1.0000 $0.5540
December, 2014 10.5701 4.83% 1.009 4.787% 1.0000 $0.5060
March, 2015 9.9573 4.99% 1.001 4.985% 1.0000 $0.4964
June, 2015 9.4181 5.55% 1.002 5.539% 1.0000 $0.5217
September 7.8140 6.98% 0.999 6.987% 1.0000 $0.5460
December, 2015 8.1379 6.85% 0.997 6.871% 1.0000 $0.5592
March, 2016 7.4416 7.79% 0.998 7.805% 1.0000 $0.5808
June 7.6704 7.67% 1.011 7.587% 1.0000 $0.5819
September 8.0590 7.35% 0.993 7.402% 1.0000 $0.5965
December, 2016 8.5844 7.24% 0.990 7.313% 1.0000 $0.6278
March, 2017 9.3984 6.26% 0.994 6.298% 1.0000 $0.5919
June 9.5313 6.41% 0.998 6.423% 1.0000 $0.6122
September 9.7129 6.56% 0.998 6.573% 1.0000 $0.6384
December, 2017 10.0566 6.06% 1.004 6.036% 1.0000 $0.6070
March, 2018 10.2701 6.22% 1.007 6.177% 1.0000 $0.6344
June 10.2518 6.22% 0.995 6.251% 1.0000 $0.6408
September 10.2965 6.62% 1.018 6.503% 1.0000 $0.6696
December, 2018 8.6875 7.16% 0.997 7.182% 1.0000 $0.6240
March, 2019 8.4778 7.09% 1.007 7.041% 1.0000 $0.5969
June 8.0896 7.33% 0.996 7.359% 1.0000 $0.5953
September, 2019 7.7948 7.96% 0.998 7.976% 1.0000 $0.6217
NAVPU is shown after quarterly distributions of dividend income and annual distribution of capital gains.
Portfolio YTW includes cash (or margin borrowing), with an assumed interest rate of 0.00%
The Leverage Divisor indicates the level of cash in the account: if the portfolio is 1% in cash, the Leverage Divisor will be 0.99
Securities YTW divides “Portfolio YTW” by the “Leverage Divisor” to show the average YTW on the securities held; this assumes that the cash is invested in (or raised from) all securities held, in proportion to their holdings.
The Capital Gains Multiplier adjusts for the effects of Capital Gains Dividends. On 2009-12-31, there was a capital gains distribution of $1.989262 which is assumed for this purpose to have been reinvested at the final price of $10.5662. Thus, a holder of one unit pre-distribution would have held 1.1883 units post-distribution; the CG Multiplier reflects this to make the time-series comparable. Note that Dividend Distributions are not assumed to be reinvested.
Sustainable Income is the resultant estimate of the fund’s dividend income per current unit, before fees and expenses. Note that a “current unit” includes reinvestment of prior capital gains; a unitholder would have had the calculated sustainable income with only, say, 0.9 units in the past which, with reinvestment of capital gains, would become 1.0 current units.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator (definition refined in May, 2011). These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies (see below)), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

The same reasoning is also applied to FixedResets from these issuers, other than explicitly defined NVCC from banks.

The Deemed Maturity date for insurers was set at 2022-1-31 at the commencement of the process in February, 2011. It was extended to 2025-1-31 in April, 2013 and to 2030-1-31 in December, 2018
Yields for September, 2011, to January, 2012, were calculated by imposing a cap of 10% on the yields of YLO issues held, in order to avoid their extremely high calculated yields distorting the calculation and to reflect the uncertainty in the marketplace that these yields will be realized. From February to September 2012, yields on these issues have been set to zero. All YLO issues held were sold in October 2012.

These calculations were performed assuming constant contemporary GOC-5 and 3-Month Bill rates, as follows:

Canada Yields Assumed in Calculations
Month-end GOC-5 3-Month Bill
September, 2015 0.78% 0.40%
December, 2015 0.71% 0.46%
March, 2016 0.70% 0.44%
June 0.57% 0.47%
September 0.58% 0.53%
December, 2016 1.16% 0.47%
March, 2017 1.08% 0.55%
June 1.35% 0.69%
September 1.79% 0.97%
December, 2017 1.83% 1.00%
March, 2018 2.06% 1.08%
June 1.95% 1.22%
September 2.33% 1.55%
December, 2018 1.88% 1.65%
March, 2019 1.46% 1.66%
June 1.34% 1.66%
September, 2019 1.41% 1.66%

Significant positions were held in NVCC non-compliant regulated FixedReset issues on September 30, 2019; all of these currently have their yields calculated with the presumption that they will be called by the issuers at par prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or 2030-1-31 (insurers and insurance holding companies) or on a different date (SplitShares, when present in the portfolio) This presents another complication in the calculation of sustainable yield, which also assumes that redemption proceeds will be reinvested at the same rate. It will also be noted that my analysis of likely insurance industry regulation as updated is not given much weight by the market.

I will also note that the sustainable yield calculated above is not directly comparable with any yield calculation currently reported by any other preferred share fund as far as I am aware. The Sustainable Yield depends on:
i) Calculating Yield-to-Worst for each instrument and using this yield for reporting purposes;
ii) Using the contemporary value of Five-Year Canadas to estimate dividends after reset for FixedResets. The assumption regarding the five-year Canada rate has become more important as the proportion of low-spread FixedResets in the portfolio has increased.
iii) Making the assumption that deeply discounted NVCC non-compliant issues from both banks and insurers, both Straight and FixedResets will be redeemed at par on their DeemedMaturity date as discussed above.

MAPF 19H1 Semi-annual Financials Published

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund has published its:

All materials are accessable via the fund’s main web-page.

MAPF Portfolio Composition : September, 2019

Sunday, October 6th, 2019

Turnover declined to 14% in September, as the market was very strong until it plateaued starting mid-month.

There is extreme segmentation in the marketplace, with OSFI’s NVCC rule changes in February 2011 having had the effect of splitting the formerly relatively homogeneous Straight Perpetual class of preferreds into three parts:

  • Unaffected Straight Perpetuals
  • DeemedRetractibles explicitly subject to the rules (banks)
  • DeemedRetractibles considered by me, but not (yet!) by the market, to be likely to be explicitly subject to the rules in the future (insurers and insurance holding companies)

This segmentation, and the extreme valuation differences between the segments, has cut down markedly on the opportunities for trading.

To make this more clear, it used to be that there were 70-odd Straight Perpetuals and I was more or less indifferent as to which ones I owned (subject, of course, to issuer concentration concerns and other risk management factors). Thus, if any one of these 70 were to go down in price by – say – $0.25, I would quite often have something in inventory that I’d be willing to swap for it. The segmentation means that I am no longer indifferent; in addition to checking the valuation of a potential buy to other Straights, I also have to check its peer group. This cuts down on the potential for trading.

And, of course, the same segmentation has the same effect on trading opportunities between FixedReset issues.

I have argued for a long time that insurers will become covered by NVCC rules similar to the banks, but regulatory process on the issue is very slow.

As a result of prior delays, I initially extended the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies by three years (to 2025-1-31), in the expectation that when OSFI finally does provide clarity, they will allow the same degree of lead-in time for these companies as they did for banks. This had a major effect on the durations of preferred shares subject to the change but, fortunately, not much on their calculated yields as most of these issues were either trading near par when the change was made or were trading at sufficient premium that a par call was expected on economic grounds. However, with the declines in the market over the past nine months, the expected capital gain on redemption of the insurance-issued DeemedRetractibles has become an important component of the calculated yield.

In December, 2018, I extended the DeemedMaturity date for insurance issues by another five years, to 2030-1-31.

The new date has been chosen with the idea that a decision will be made by the IAIS (International Association of Insurance Supervisors) in 2019, and (if favourable) will be implemented with an 11-year grace period, similarly to the banks. We shall see just how accurate these suppositions might be!

I must emphasize that these extensions do not give rise to any desire on my part to alter the fundamentals of my analysis. It is simply a reaction to the excessive time the regulators are taking to discuss the issue.

Sectoral distribution of the MAPF portfolio on September 30 was as follows:

MAPF Sectoral Analysis 2019-9-30
HIMI Indices Sector Weighting YTW ModDur
Ratchet 0% N/A N/A
FixFloat 0% N/A N/A
Floater 0% N/A N/A
OpRet 0% N/A N/A
SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Interest Rearing 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualPremium 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualDiscount 0% N/A N/A
Fixed-Reset Discount 43.2% 6.14% 13.85
Deemed-Retractible 0% N/A N/A
FloatingReset 5.1% 9.94% 9.12
FixedReset Premium 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Insurance non-NVCC 40.4% 9.81% 8.13
Scraps – Ratchet 1.5% 7.25% 13.89
Scraps – FixedFloater 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Floater 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – OpRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpPrem 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpDisc 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FR Discount 7.6% 7.44% 12.12
Scraps – DeemedRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FloatingReset 0.8% 8.10% 11.27
Scraps – FR Premium 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Ins non-NVCC 1.2% 8.71% 7.94
Cash +0.2% 0.00% 0.00
Total 100% 7.96% 11.04
Totals and changes will not add precisely due to rounding. Cash is included in totals with duration and yield both equal to zero.
The various “Scraps” indices include issues with a DBRS rating of Pfd-3(high) or lower and issues with an Average Trading Value (calculated with HIMIPref™ methodology, which is relatively complex) of less than $25,000. The issues considered “Scraps” are subdivided into indices which reflect those of the main indices.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator. These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or 2030-1-31 (insurers and insurance holding companies), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

Note that the estimate for the time this will become effective for insurers and insurance holding companies was extended by three years in April 2013, due to the delays in OSFI’s providing clarity on the issue and by a further five years in December, 2018.

Calculations of resettable instruments are performed assuming a constant GOC-5 rate of 1.41% and a constant 3-Month Bill rate of 1.66%

The “total” reflects the un-leveraged total portfolio (i.e., cash is included in the portfolio calculations and is deemed to have a duration and yield of 0.00.). MAPF will often have relatively large cash balances, both credit and debit, to facilitate trading. Figures presented in the table have been rounded to the indicated precision.

Credit distribution is:

MAPF Credit Analysis 2019-9-30
DBRS Rating Weighting
Pfd-1 0
Pfd-1(low) 0
Pfd-2(high) 26.4%
Pfd-2 35.2%
Pfd-2(low) 28.4%
Pfd-3(high) 2.4%
Pfd-3 4.3%
Pfd-3(low) 2.4%
Pfd-4(high) 0%
Pfd-4 0%
Pfd-4(low) 0%
Pfd-5(high) 0.8%
Pfd-5 0.0%
Cash +0.4%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.
The fund holds a position in AZP.PR.C, which is rated P-5(high) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-5(high) total.
The fund holds a position in EMA.PR.C, which is rated P-2(low) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-2(low) total.
A position held in INE.PR.A is not rated by DBRS, but has been included as “Pfd-3” in the above table on the basis of its S&P rating of P-3.

Liquidity Distribution is:

MAPF Liquidity Analysis 2019-9-30
Average Daily Trading Weighting
<$50,000 30.9%
$50,000 – $100,000 34.0%
$100,000 – $200,000 19.3%
$200,000 – $300,000 12.0%
>$300,000 3.5%
Cash +0.2%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.

The distribution of Issue Reset Spreads is:

Range MAPF Weight
<100bp 0%
100-149bp 29.3%
150-199bp 20.7%
200-249bp 15.0%
250-299bp 22.7%
300-349bp 3.6%
350-399bp 3.8%
400-449bp 1.9%
450-499bp 0.0%
500-549bp 1.3%
550-599bp 0%
>= 600bp 0%
Undefined 1.7%

Distribution of Floating Rate Start Dates is shown in the table below. This is the date of the next adjustment to the dividend rate, if the issue is currently paying a fixed rate for a limited time; which in practice is successive terms of 5 years. Issues that adjust quarterly are considered “Currently Floating”.

Range MAPF Weight
Currently Floating 9.9%
0-1 Year 27.3%
1-2 Years 32.0%
2-3 Years 17.7%
3-4 Years 11.7%
4-5 Years 1.2%
5-6 Years 0%
>6 Years 0%
Not Floating Rate +0.2%

MAPF is, of course, Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund, a “unit trust” managed by Hymas Investment Management Inc. Further information and links to performance, audited financials and subscription information are available the fund’s web page. The fund may be purchased either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited. A “unit trust” is like a regular mutual fund, but are not sold with a prospectus. This is cheaper, but means subscription is restricted to “accredited investors” (as defined by the Ontario Securities Commission). Fund past performances are not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in MAPF or any other fund.

A similar portfolio composition analysis has been performed on the Claymore Preferred Share ETF (symbol CPD) (and other funds) as of July 31, 2017, and published in the August, 2017, PrefLetter. It is fair to say:

  • MAPF credit quality is much better
  • MAPF liquidity is lower
  • MAPF Yield is higher
  • Weightings
    • MAPF is much less exposed to Straight Perpetuals
    • Neither portfolio is exposed to Operating Retractibles (there aren’t too many of those any more!)
    • MAPF is equally exposed to SplitShares (that is to say, currently no exposure)
    • MAPF is less exposed to FixFloat / Floater / Ratchet
    • MAPF is significantly higher weighted in FixedResets, with a much greater emphasis on lower-spread and insurance issues

MAPF Performance : August, 2019

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund’s Net Asset Value per Unit as of the close August 30, 2019, was $7.6533.

Returns to August 30, 2019
Period MAPF BMO-CM “50” Preferred Share Index TXPR*
Total Return
CPD – according to Blackrock
One Month -5.86% -4.49% -3.97% N/A
Three Months -4.45% -2.53% -1.92% N/A
One Year -23.16% -16.52% -13.55% -14.12%
Two Years (annualized) -7.41% -4.73% -3.87% N/A
Three Years (annualized) +2.26% +2.10% +1.98% +1.50%
Four Years (annualized) +2.02% +2.28% +2.14% N/A
Five Years (annualized) -1.93% -1.38% -1.65% -2.08%
Six Years (annualized) +0.16% -0.27% -0.31% N/A
Seven Years (annualized) -0.01% -0.18% -0.41% N/A
Eight Years (annualized) +0.52% +0.54% +0.28% N/A
Nine Years (annualized) +2.00% +1.64% +1.15% N/A
Ten Years (annualized) +2.73% +2.09% +1.63% +1.10%
Eleven Years (annualized) +6.86% +2.65% +2.06%  
Twelve Years (annualized) +6.16% +1.95% +1.33%  
Thirteen Years (annualized) +5.94% +1.83%    
Fourteen Years (annualized) +5.94% +1.96%    
Fifteen Years (annualized) +5.98% +2.16%    
Sixteen Years (annualized) +6.69% +2.39%    
Seventeen Years (annualized) +7.35% +2.62%    
Eighteen Years (annualized) +7.34% +2.66%    
MAPF returns assume reinvestment of distributions, and are shown after expenses but before fees.
The full name of the BMO-CM “50” index is the BMO Capital Markets “50” Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees.
“TXPR” is the S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees, but does assume reinvestment of dividends.
CPD Returns are for the NAV and are after all fees and expenses. Reinvestment of dividends is assumed.
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Income Fund (formerly Omega Preferred Equity) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are -4.09%, -2.45% and -11.95%, respectively, according to Globe & Mail / Fundata after all fees & expenses. Three year performance is +1.90%; five year is -0.70; ten year is +2.22%

Figures from Morningstar are no longer conveniently available.

Manulife Preferred Income Class Adv has been terminated by Manulife. The performance of this fund was last reported here in March, 2018.
Figures for Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF (HPR) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are -5.25%, -3.36% & -17.95%, respectively. Three year performance is +1.03%, five-year is -1.36%
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Fund (formerly Altamira Preferred Equity Fund) are -5.40%, -3.47% and -17.89% for one-, three- and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +1.21%; five-year is -1.44%.

Acccording to the fund’s fact sheet as of June 30, 2016, the fund’s inception date was October 30, 2015. I do not know how they justify this nonsensical statement, but will assume that prior performance is being suppressed in some perfectly legal manner that somebody at National considers ethical.

The last time Altamira Preferred Equity Fund’s performance was reported here was April, 2014; performance under the National Bank banner was first reported here May, 2014.

The figures for the NAV of BMO S&P/TSX Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF (ZPR) is -16.80% for the past twelve months. Two year performance is -5.53%, three year is +2.03%, five year is -3.81%.
Figures for Fiera Canadian Preferred Share Class Cg Series F, (formerly Natixis Canadian Preferred Share Class Series F) (formerly NexGen Canadian Preferred Share Tax Managed Fund) are -5.52%, -4.03% and -17.43% for one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -1.59%; five-year is -1.11%
Figures for BMO Preferred Share Fund (advisor series) according to BMO are -5.63%, -3.39% and -19.00% for the past one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is -2.14%; five-year is -3.76%.
Figures for PowerShares Canadian Preferred Share Index Class, Series F are -15.06% for the past twelve months. The three-year figure is +2.57%; five years is -1.21%
Figures for the First Asset Preferred Share Investment Trust (PSF.UN) are no longer available since the fund has merged with First Asset Preferred Share ETF (FPR).

Performance for the fund was last reported here in September, 2016; the first report of unavailability was in October, 2016.

Figures for Lysander-Slater Preferred Share Dividend Fund (Class F) according to the company are -6.19%, -5.11% and -19.17% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is -0.46%.
Figures for the Desjardins Canadian Preferred Share Fund A Class (A Class), as reported by the company are -4.57%, -2.83% and -16.83% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +0.12%.

MAPF returns assume reinvestment of dividends, and are shown after expenses but before fees. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund or any other fund. For more information, see the fund’s main page. The fund is available either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited.

The preferred share market has suffered a sharp reverse in the past five months, leaving a lot of room for outsized gains. The Seniority Spread (the interest-equivalent yield on reasonably liquid, investment-grade PerpetualDiscounts less the yield on long term corporate bonds) is extremely elevated (chart end-date 2019-8-9)

pl_190809_body_chart_1
Click for Big

Note that the Seniority Spread was 420bp on August 28, an astonishing 30bp wider than reported at the end of July. As a good practical example of the spreads between markets, consider that on March 20 the redemption of IGM.PR.B was announced; the redemption of this 5.90% Straight Perpetual was explicitly financed by the issue of 4.206% debentures, implying a Seniority Spread for this issuer of about 350bp at that time.

As has been noted, the increase in the Seniority Spread over the past year has been due not to an increase in yield (drop in prices) of Straight Preferreds over the year, but because the yield of the preferreds has remained constant while the yield of long-term corporate bonds has dropped dramatically.

… and the relationship between five-year Canada yields and yields on investment-grade FixedResets is also well within what I consider ‘decoupled panic’ territory (chart end-date 2019-8-9):

pl_190809_body_chart_5
Click for Big

In addition, I feel that the yield on five-year Canadas is unsustainably low (it should be the inflation rate plus an increment of … 1%? 1.5%? 2.0%?),and a return to sustainable levels is likely over the medium term.

It seems clear that many market players are, wittingly or not, using FixedResets to speculate on future moves in the Canada 5-Year yield. This is excellent news for those who take market action based on fundamentals and the long term characteristics of the market because nobody can consistently time the markets. The speculators will, over the long run, lose money, handing it over to more sober investors.

FixedReset (Discount) performance on the month was -5.91% vs. PerpetualDiscounts of -0.99% in August; the two classes finally decoupled in mid-November, 2018, after months of moving in lockstep, but it still appears to me that yields available on FixedResets are keeping the yields of PerpetualDiscounts up, even though a consistent valuation based on an expectation of declining interest rates would greatly increase the attractiveness of PerpetualDiscounts:

himi_indexperf_190830
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Floaters got whacked yet again, returning -9.95% for August and -41.29% for the past twelve months. Look at the long-term performance:

himi_floaterperf_190830
Click for Big

Some Assiduous Readers will be interested to observe that the ‘Quantitative Easing’ decline was not as bad as the ‘Credit Crunch’ decline, which took the sector down to the point where the 15-year cumulative total return was negative. I wrote about that at the time. but now it’s worse! On August 30 the HIMI Floater Index (total return) value was calculated as 1906.6; the index first surpassed this value on 2003-8-13. Thus, cumulative total return (that is, including dividends) has been negative for the slightly-over sixteen years since then. This is wild!

It seems clear that Floaters are used, wittingly or otherwise, as a vehicle for speculation on the policy rate and Canada Prime, while FixedResets are being used as a vehicle for speculation on the five-year Canada rate. In support of this idea, I present an Implied Volatility analysis of the TRP series of FixedResets as of August 30, which is comprised of six issues without a Minimum Rate Guarantee and two issues which do have this feature:

impvol_trp_190830
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The two issues with floors, TRP.PR.J (+469, minimum 5.50%) and TRP.PR.K (+385, minimum 4.90%) are $2.80 and an incredible $4.57 rich, respectively. These are marked increases from last month, despite the fact that their floor will not become effective unless five-year Canadas dip below 0.81% and 1.05%, respectively. For all the gloom, we’re still above those levels!

Lest this be considered a fluke, I also show results for the BAM series of FixedResets, which includes three issues with dividend floors: BAM.PF.H (+417, Minimum 5.00%); BAM.PF.I (+386, Minimum 4.80%); and BAM.PF.J (+310, Minimum 4.75%); these issues are all rich compared to their non-floor siblings, being $3.03, $3.27 and $3.58 expensive, respectively.

Relative performance during the month was not correlated with Issue Reset Spreads for “Pfd-2 Group” issues, but the “Pfd-3 Group” showed a correlation of 21%:

fr_1moperf_190830
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… and results over the quarter were similar (Pfd-3 Group correlation was 12%):

fr_3moperf_190830
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And, for those curious about how the current downturn compares with prior ones:

perf_index_190830
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For the above graph, I have assumed that the BMO-CM “50” index return for the month will be equal to TXPR, since figures for the former index are not yet available. As we can see, we are now showing a negative cumulative total return over the past 85 months – that’s seven years and one month, going back to July, 2012 – of -0.21%, a loss only exceeded in November, 2008, when the 85-month cumulative total return was -4.42%.

Update: See bottom of post for revised graph prepared with actual figure for BMO-cm “50”

As for the future, of course, it’s one thing to say that ‘spreads are unsustainable and so are government yields’ and it’s quite another to forecast just how and when a more economically sustainable environment will take effect. It could be years. There could be a reversal, particularly if Trump’s international trade policies cause a severe recession or even a depression. And, of course, I could be just plain wrong about the sustainability of the current environment.

On the other hand, I will pass on my observation that international interest in the Canadian preferred share market is increasing, as other Floating Rate indices globally are doing much better. Consider, for example the Solactive Australian Bank Senior Floating Rate Bond Index, which “provides exposure to the largest and most liquid floating rate debt securities issued by selected Australian banks. The index is comprised of investment grade floating rate debt securities denominated in AUD and calculated as a Total Return Index” (LINK, and the S&P U.S. Floating Rate Preferred Stock Index.

Yields on preferred shares of all stripes are extremely high compared to those available from other investments of similar quality. As I told John Heinzl in an eMail interview in late November, 2018, the best advice I can offer investors remains Shut up and clip your coupons!

I think that a broad, sustainable rally in FixedResets will require higher five-year Canada yields (or a widespread expectation of them) … and although I’m sure this will happen eventually, it would be foolish to speculate on just when it will happen!

Calculation of MAPF Sustainable Income Per Unit
Month NAVPU Portfolio
Average
YTW
Leverage
Divisor
Securities
Average
YTW
Capital
Gains
Multiplier
Sustainable
Income
per
current
Unit
June, 2007 9.3114 5.16% 1.03 5.01% 1.3240 0.3524
September 9.1489 5.35% 0.98 5.46% 1.3240 0.3773
December, 2007 9.0070 5.53% 0.942 5.87% 1.3240 0.3993
March, 2008 8.8512 6.17% 1.047 5.89% 1.3240 0.3938
June 8.3419 6.034% 0.952 6.338% 1.3240 $0.3993
September 8.1886 7.108% 0.969 7.335% 1.3240 $0.4537
December, 2008 8.0464 9.24% 1.008 9.166% 1.3240 $0.5571
March 2009 $8.8317 8.60% 0.995 8.802% 1.3240 $0.5872
June 10.9846 7.05% 0.999 7.057% 1.3240 $0.5855
September 12.3462 6.03% 0.998 6.042% 1.3240 $0.5634
December 2009 10.5662 5.74% 0.981 5.851% 1.1141 $0.5549
March 2010 10.2497 6.03% 0.992 6.079% 1.1141 $0.5593
June 10.5770 5.96% 0.996 5.984% 1.1141 $0.5681
September 11.3901 5.43% 0.980 5.540% 1.1141 $0.5664
December 2010 10.7659 5.37% 0.993 5.408% 1.0298 $0.5654
March, 2011 11.0560 6.00% 0.994 5.964% 1.0298 $0.6403
June 11.1194 5.87% 1.018 5.976% 1.0298 $0.6453
September 10.2709 6.10%
Note
1.001 6.106% 1.0298 $0.6090
December, 2011 10.0793 5.63%
Note
1.031 5.805% 1.0000 $0.5851
March, 2012 10.3944 5.13%
Note
0.996 5.109% 1.0000 $0.5310
June 10.2151 5.32%
Note
1.012 5.384% 1.0000 $0.5500
September 10.6703 4.61%
Note
0.997 4.624% 1.0000 $0.4934
December, 2012 10.8307 4.24% 0.989 4.287% 1.0000 $0.4643
March, 2013 10.9033 3.87% 0.996 3.886% 1.0000 $0.4237
June 10.3261 4.81% 0.998 4.80% 1.0000 $0.4957
September 10.0296 5.62% 0.996 5.643% 1.0000 $0.5660
December, 2013 9.8717 6.02% 1.008 5.972% 1.0000 $0.5895
March, 2014 10.2233 5.55% 0.998 5.561% 1.0000 $0.5685
June 10.5877 5.09% 0.998 5.100% 1.0000 $0.5395
September 10.4601 5.28% 0.997 5.296% 1.0000 $0.5540
December, 2014 10.5701 4.83% 1.009 4.787% 1.0000 $0.5060
March, 2015 9.9573 4.99% 1.001 4.985% 1.0000 $0.4964
June, 2015 9.4181 5.55% 1.002 5.539% 1.0000 $0.5217
September 7.8140 6.98% 0.999 6.987% 1.0000 $0.5460
December, 2015 8.1379 6.85% 0.997 6.871% 1.0000 $0.5592
March, 2016 7.4416 7.79% 0.998 7.805% 1.0000 $0.5808
June 7.6704 7.67% 1.011 7.587% 1.0000 $0.5819
September 8.0590 7.35% 0.993 7.402% 1.0000 $0.5965
December, 2016 8.5844 7.24% 0.990 7.313% 1.0000 $0.6278
March, 2017 9.3984 6.26% 0.994 6.298% 1.0000 $0.5919
June 9.5313 6.41% 0.998 6.423% 1.0000 $0.6122
September 9.7129 6.56% 0.998 6.573% 1.0000 $0.6384
December, 2017 10.0566 6.06% 1.004 6.036% 1.0000 $0.6070
March, 2018 10.2701 6.22% 1.007 6.177% 1.0000 $0.6344
June 10.2518 6.22% 0.995 6.251% 1.0000 $0.6408
September 10.2965 6.62% 1.018 6.503% 1.0000 $0.6696
December, 2018 8.6875 7.16% 0.997 7.182% 1.0000 $0.6240
March, 2019 8.4778 7.09% 1.007 7.041% 1.0000 $0.5969
June 8.0896 7.33% 0.996 7.359% 1.0000 $0.5953
August, 2019 7.6533 7.86% 0.996 7.892% 1.0000 $0.6040
NAVPU is shown after quarterly distributions of dividend income and annual distribution of capital gains.
Portfolio YTW includes cash (or margin borrowing), with an assumed interest rate of 0.00%
The Leverage Divisor indicates the level of cash in the account: if the portfolio is 1% in cash, the Leverage Divisor will be 0.99
Securities YTW divides “Portfolio YTW” by the “Leverage Divisor” to show the average YTW on the securities held; this assumes that the cash is invested in (or raised from) all securities held, in proportion to their holdings.
The Capital Gains Multiplier adjusts for the effects of Capital Gains Dividends. On 2009-12-31, there was a capital gains distribution of $1.989262 which is assumed for this purpose to have been reinvested at the final price of $10.5662. Thus, a holder of one unit pre-distribution would have held 1.1883 units post-distribution; the CG Multiplier reflects this to make the time-series comparable. Note that Dividend Distributions are not assumed to be reinvested.
Sustainable Income is the resultant estimate of the fund’s dividend income per current unit, before fees and expenses. Note that a “current unit” includes reinvestment of prior capital gains; a unitholder would have had the calculated sustainable income with only, say, 0.9 units in the past which, with reinvestment of capital gains, would become 1.0 current units.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator (definition refined in May, 2011). These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies (see below)), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

The same reasoning is also applied to FixedResets from these issuers, other than explicitly defined NVCC from banks.

The Deemed Maturity date for insurers was set at 2022-1-31 at the commencement of the process in February, 2011. It was extended to 2025-1-31 in April, 2013 and to 2030-1-31 in December, 2018
Yields for September, 2011, to January, 2012, were calculated by imposing a cap of 10% on the yields of YLO issues held, in order to avoid their extremely high calculated yields distorting the calculation and to reflect the uncertainty in the marketplace that these yields will be realized. From February to September 2012, yields on these issues have been set to zero. All YLO issues held were sold in October 2012.

These calculations were performed assuming constant contemporary GOC-5 and 3-Month Bill rates, as follows:

Canada Yields Assumed in Calculations
Month-end GOC-5 3-Month Bill
September, 2015 0.78% 0.40%
December, 2015 0.71% 0.46%
March, 2016 0.70% 0.44%
June 0.57% 0.47%
September 0.58% 0.53%
December, 2016 1.16% 0.47%
March, 2017 1.08% 0.55%
June 1.35% 0.69%
September 1.79% 0.97%
December, 2017 1.83% 1.00%
March, 2018 2.06% 1.08%
June 1.95% 1.22%
September 2.33% 1.55%
December, 2018 1.88% 1.65%
March, 2019 1.46% 1.66%
June 1.34% 1.66%
August, 2019 1.24% 1.63%

Significant positions were held in NVCC non-compliant regulated FixedReset issues on August 30, 2019; all of these currently have their yields calculated with the presumption that they will be called by the issuers at par prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or 2030-1-31 (insurers and insurance holding companies) or on a different date (SplitShares, when present in the portfolio) This presents another complication in the calculation of sustainable yield, which also assumes that redemption proceeds will be reinvested at the same rate. It will also be noted that my analysis of likely insurance industry regulation as updated is not given much weight by the market.

I will also note that the sustainable yield calculated above is not directly comparable with any yield calculation currently reported by any other preferred share fund as far as I am aware. The Sustainable Yield depends on:
i) Calculating Yield-to-Worst for each instrument and using this yield for reporting purposes;
ii) Using the contemporary value of Five-Year Canadas to estimate dividends after reset for FixedResets. The assumption regarding the five-year Canada rate has become more important as the proportion of low-spread FixedResets in the portfolio has increased.
iii) Making the assumption that deeply discounted NVCC non-compliant issues from both banks and insurers, both Straight and FixedResets will be redeemed at par on their DeemedMaturity date as discussed above.

Update, 2019-9-4: Up-to-date figures for the BMO-CM “50” index have been received and have been used to update the ‘rolling return’ graph, above. The length of the downturn has been recalculated to be 88 months (7 years and 4 months) with a negative total return from the end of April, 2012, to the end of August, 2019.

bmocm50_rolling_190830
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MAPF Portfolio Composition : August, 2019

Monday, September 2nd, 2019

Turnover declined to 2% in August, as the market crashed – until the last two days! – with high spreads.

There is extreme segmentation in the marketplace, with OSFI’s NVCC rule changes in February 2011 having had the effect of splitting the formerly relatively homogeneous Straight Perpetual class of preferreds into three parts:

  • Unaffected Straight Perpetuals
  • DeemedRetractibles explicitly subject to the rules (banks)
  • DeemedRetractibles considered by me, but not (yet!) by the market, to be likely to be explicitly subject to the rules in the future (insurers and insurance holding companies)

This segmentation, and the extreme valuation differences between the segments, has cut down markedly on the opportunities for trading.

To make this more clear, it used to be that there were 70-odd Straight Perpetuals and I was more or less indifferent as to which ones I owned (subject, of course, to issuer concentration concerns and other risk management factors). Thus, if any one of these 70 were to go down in price by – say – $0.25, I would quite often have something in inventory that I’d be willing to swap for it. The segmentation means that I am no longer indifferent; in addition to checking the valuation of a potential buy to other Straights, I also have to check its peer group. This cuts down on the potential for trading.

And, of course, the same segmentation has the same effect on trading opportunities between FixedReset issues.

I have argued for a long time that insurers will become covered by NVCC rules similar to the banks, but regulatory process on the issue is very slow.

As a result of prior delays, I initially extended the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies by three years (to 2025-1-31), in the expectation that when OSFI finally does provide clarity, they will allow the same degree of lead-in time for these companies as they did for banks. This had a major effect on the durations of preferred shares subject to the change but, fortunately, not much on their calculated yields as most of these issues were either trading near par when the change was made or were trading at sufficient premium that a par call was expected on economic grounds. However, with the declines in the market over the past nine months, the expected capital gain on redemption of the insurance-issued DeemedRetractibles has become an important component of the calculated yield.

In December, 2018, I extended the DeemedMaturity date for insurance issues by another five years, to 2030-1-31.

The new date has been chosen with the idea that a decision will be made by the IAIS (International Association of Insurance Supervisors) in 2019, and (if favourable) will be implemented with an 11-year grace period, similarly to the banks. We shall see just how accurate these suppositions might be!

I must emphasize that these extensions do not give rise to any desire on my part to alter the fundamentals of my analysis. It is simply a reaction to the excessive time the regulators are taking to discuss the issue.

Sectoral distribution of the MAPF portfolio on August 30 was as follows:

MAPF Sectoral Analysis 2019-8-30
HIMI Indices Sector Weighting YTW ModDur
Ratchet 0% N/A N/A
FixFloat 0% N/A N/A
Floater 0% N/A N/A
OpRet 0% N/A N/A
SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Interest Rearing 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualPremium 0% N/A N/A
PerpetualDiscount 0% N/A N/A
Fixed-Reset Discount 47.1% 6.08% 13.84
Deemed-Retractible 0% N/A N/A
FloatingReset 3.2% 11.20% 8.01
FixedReset Premium 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
FixedReset Insurance non-NVCC 37.4% 9.92% 8.27
Scraps – Ratchet 1.4% 7.76% 13.35
Scraps – FixedFloater 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Floater 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – OpRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – SplitShare 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpPrem 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – PerpDisc 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FR Discount 8.4% 7.69% 11.84
Scraps – DeemedRet 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – FloatingReset 0.8% 8.24% 11.02
Scraps – FR Premium 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Bank non-NVCC 0% N/A N/A
Scraps – Ins non-NVCC 1.2% 8.87% 8.01
Cash +0.4% 0.00% 0.00
Total 100% 7.86% 11.24
Totals and changes will not add precisely due to rounding. Cash is included in totals with duration and yield both equal to zero.
The various “Scraps” indices include issues with a DBRS rating of Pfd-3(high) or lower and issues with an Average Trading Value (calculated with HIMIPref™ methodology, which is relatively complex) of less than $25,000. The issues considered “Scraps” are subdivided into indices which reflect those of the main indices.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator. These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or 2030-1-31 (insurers and insurance holding companies), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

Note that the estimate for the time this will become effective for insurers and insurance holding companies was extended by three years in April 2013, due to the delays in OSFI’s providing clarity on the issue and by a further five years in December, 2018.

Calculations of resettable instruments are performed assuming a constant GOC-5 rate of 1.24% and a constant 3-Month Bill rate of 1.63%

The “total” reflects the un-leveraged total portfolio (i.e., cash is included in the portfolio calculations and is deemed to have a duration and yield of 0.00.). MAPF will often have relatively large cash balances, both credit and debit, to facilitate trading. Figures presented in the table have been rounded to the indicated precision.

Credit distribution is:

MAPF Credit Analysis 2019-8-30
DBRS Rating Weighting
Pfd-1 0
Pfd-1(low) 0
Pfd-2(high) 22.40%
Pfd-2 36.7%
Pfd-2(low) 29.9%
Pfd-3(high) 3.5%
Pfd-3 3.9%
Pfd-3(low) 2.4%
Pfd-4(high) 0%
Pfd-4 0%
Pfd-4(low) 0%
Pfd-5(high) 0.8%
Pfd-5 0.0%
Cash +0.4%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.
The fund holds a position in AZP.PR.C, which is rated P-5(high) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-5(high) total.
The fund holds a position in EMA.PR.C, which is rated P-2(low) by S&P and is unrated by DBRS; it is included in the Pfd-2(low) total.
A position held in INE.PR.A is not rated by DBRS, but has been included as “Pfd-3” in the above table on the basis of its S&P rating of P-3.

Liquidity Distribution is:

MAPF Liquidity Analysis 2019-8-30
Average Daily Trading Weighting
<$50,000 4.8%
$50,000 – $100,000 69.8%
$100,000 – $200,000 16.0%
$200,000 – $300,000 7.0%
>$300,000 2.0%
Cash +0.4%
Totals will not add precisely due to rounding.

The distribution of Issue Reset Spreads is:

Range MAPF Weight
<100bp 0%
100-149bp 29.7%
150-199bp 22.9%
200-249bp 22.3%
250-299bp 14.3%
300-349bp 0.8%
350-399bp 3.8%
400-449bp 1.9%
450-499bp 0.4%
500-549bp 2.1%
550-599bp 0%
>= 600bp 0%
Undefined 1.8%

Distribution of Floating Rate Start Dates is shown in the table below. This is the date of the next adjustment to the dividend rate, if the issue is currently paying a fixed rate for a limited time; which in practice is successive terms of 5 years. Issues that adjust quarterly are considered “Currently Floating”.

Range MAPF Weight
Currently Floating 7.5%
0-1 Year 24.9%
1-2 Years 35.8%
2-3 Years 16.1%
3-4 Years 10.6%
4-5 Years 4.8%
5-6 Years 0%
>6 Years 0%
Not Floating Rate +0.4%

MAPF is, of course, Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund, a “unit trust” managed by Hymas Investment Management Inc. Further information and links to performance, audited financials and subscription information are available the fund’s web page. The fund may be purchased either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited. A “unit trust” is like a regular mutual fund, but are not sold with a prospectus. This is cheaper, but means subscription is restricted to “accredited investors” (as defined by the Ontario Securities Commission). Fund past performances are not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in MAPF or any other fund.

A similar portfolio composition analysis has been performed on the Claymore Preferred Share ETF (symbol CPD) (and other funds) as of July 31, 2017, and published in the August, 2017, PrefLetter. It is fair to say:

  • MAPF credit quality is much better
  • MAPF liquidity is lower
  • MAPF Yield is higher
  • Weightings
    • MAPF is much less exposed to Straight Perpetuals
    • Neither portfolio is exposed to Operating Retractibles (there aren’t too many of those any more!)
    • MAPF is equally exposed to SplitShares (that is to say, currently no exposure)
    • MAPF is less exposed to FixFloat / Floater / Ratchet
    • MAPF is significantly higher weighted in FixedResets, with a much greater emphasis on lower-spread and insurance issues

MAPF Performance: July, 2019

Monday, August 5th, 2019

Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund’s Net Asset Value per Unit as of the close July 31, 2019, was $8.1297.

Returns to July 31, 2019
Period MAPF BMO-CM “50” Preferred Share Index TXPR*
Total Return
CPD – according to Blackrock
One Month +0.50% +1.51% +1.31% N/A
Three Months -3.58% -1.49% -0.94% N/A
One Year -17.86% -12.08% -9.25% -9.84%
Two Years (annualized) -4.69% -3.05% -2.27% N/A
Three Years (annualized) +5.11% +4.12% +3.75% +3.29%
Four Years (annualized) +2.13% +2.51% +2.18% N/A
Five Years (annualized) -0.56% -0.35% -0.71% -1.14%
Six Years (annualized) +1.03% +0.35% +0.18% N/A
Seven Years (annualized) +1.16% +0.55% +0.22% N/A
Eight Years (annualized) +1.37% +1.03% +0.71% N/A
Nine Years (annualized) +2.88% +2.31% +1.75% N/A
Ten Years (annualized) +4.07% +3.04% +2.36% +1.83%
Eleven Years (annualized) +8.01% +3.35% +2.67%  
Twelve Years (annualized) +6.66% +2.39% +1.71%  
Thirteen Years (annualized) +6.58% +2.26%    
Fourteen Years (annualized) +6.43% +2.32%    
Fifteen Years (annualized) +6.49% +2.50%    
Sixteen Years (annualized) +7.25% +2.72%    
Seventeen Years (annualized) +7.60% +2.92%    
Eighteen Years (annualized) +7.80% +2.98%    
MAPF returns assume reinvestment of distributions, and are shown after expenses but before fees.
The full name of the BMO-CM “50” index is the BMO Capital Markets “50” Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees.
“TXPR” is the S&P/TSX Preferred Share Index. It is calculated without accounting for fees, but does assume reinvestment of dividends.
CPD Returns are for the NAV and are after all fees and expenses. Reinvestment of dividends is assumed.
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Income Fund (formerly Omega Preferred Equity) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are -%, -% and -%, respectively, according to Morningstar after all fees & expenses. Three year performance is +%; five year is +; ten year is +%
Manulife Preferred Income Class Adv has been terminated by Manulife. The performance of this fund was last reported here in March, 2018.
Figures for Horizons Active Preferred Share ETF (HPR) (which are after all fees and expenses) for 1-, 3- and 12-months are +%, -% & -%, respectively. Three year performance is +%, five-year is -%
Figures for National Bank Preferred Equity Fund (formerly Altamira Preferred Equity Fund) are -%, -% and -% for one-, three- and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +%; five-year is -%.

Acccording to the fund’s fact sheet as of June 30, 2016, the fund’s inception date was October 30, 2015. I do not know how they justify this nonsensical statement, but will assume that prior performance is being suppressed in some perfectly legal manner that somebody at National considers ethical.

The last time Altamira Preferred Equity Fund’s performance was reported here was April, 2014; performance under the National Bank banner was first reported here May, 2014.

The figures for the NAV of BMO S&P/TSX Laddered Preferred Share Index ETF (ZPR) is -% for the past twelve months. Two year performance is -%, three year is +%, five year is -%.
Figures for Natixis Canadian Preferred Share Class Series F (formerly NexGen Canadian Preferred Share Tax Managed Fund) are -%, -% and -% for one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is +%; five-year is +
Figures for BMO Preferred Share Fund (advisor series) according to Morningstar are -%, -% and -% for the past one-, three- and twelve-months, respectively. Three year performance is +%; five-year is -%.
Figures for PowerShares Canadian Preferred Share Index Class, Series F are -% for the past twelve months. The three-year figure is +%; five years is -%
Figures for the First Asset Preferred Share Investment Trust (PSF.UN) are no longer available since the fund has merged with First Asset Preferred Share ETF (FPR).

Performance for the fund was last reported here in September, 2016; the first report of unavailability was in October, 2016.

Figures for Lysander-Slater Preferred Share Dividend Fund according to Morningstar are -%, -% and -% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +%.
Figures for the Desjardins Canadian Preferred Share Fund A Class, as reported by Morningstar are -%, -% and -% for the past one, three and twelve months, respectively. Three year performance is +%.

MAPF returns assume reinvestment of dividends, and are shown after expenses but before fees. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. You can lose money investing in Malachite Aggressive Preferred Fund or any other fund. For more information, see the fund’s main page. The fund is available either directly from Hymas Investment Management or through a brokerage account at Odlum Brown Limited.

The preferred share market has suffered a sharp reverse in the past five months, leaving a lot of room for outsized gains. The Seniority Spread (the interest-equivalent yield on reasonably liquid, investment-grade PerpetualDiscounts less the yield on long term corporate bonds) is extremely elevated (chart end-date 2019-7-12)

pl_190712_body_chart_1
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Note that the Seniority Spread was 390bp on July 31, an astonishing 45bp wider than reported at the end of May. As a good practical example of the spreads between markets, consider that on March 20 the redemption of IGM.PR.B was announced; the redemption of this 5.90% Straight Perpetual was explicitly financed by the issue of 4.206% debentures, implying a Seniority Spread for this issuer of about 350bp at that time.

… and the relationship between five-year Canada yields and yields on investment-grade FixedResets is also well within what I consider ‘decoupled panic’ territory (chart end-date 2019-6-14):

pl_190712_body_chart_5
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In addition, I feel that the yield on five-year Canadas is unsustainably low (it should be the inflation rate plus an increment of … 1%? 1.5%? 2.0%?),and a return to sustainable levels is likely over the medium term.

It seems clear that many market players are, wittingly or not, using FixedResets to speculate on future moves in the Canada 5-Year yield. This is excellent news for those who take market action based on fundamentals and the long term characteristics of the market because nobody can consistently time the markets. The speculators will, over the long run, lose money, handing it over to more sober investors.

FixedReset (Discount) performance on the month was +1.50% vs. PerpetualDiscounts of +1.64% in July; the two classes finally decoupled in mid-November after months of moving in lockstep, but it still appears to me that yields available on FixedResets are keeping the yields of PerpetualDiscounts up, even though a consistent valuation based on an expectation of declining interest rates would greatly increase the attractiveness of PerpetualDiscounts:

himi_indexperf_190731
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Floaters managed to rally, returning +3.78% for July and -35.91% for the past twelve months. Look at the long-term performance:

himi_floaterperf_190731
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Some Assiduous Readers will be interested to observe that the ‘Quantitative Easing’ decline was not as bad as the ‘Credit Crunch’ decline, which took the sector down to the point where the 15-year cumulative total return was negative. I wrote about that at the time and still can’t get over it. Fifteen years! Not only that, but the total return on this index since 2003-11-28 has been zero! Just over fifteen and a half years!

It seems clear that Floaters are used, wittingly or otherwise, as a vehicle for speculation on the policy rate and Canada Prime, while FixedResets are being used as a vehicle for speculation on the five-year Canada rate. In support of this idea, I present an Implied Volatility analysis of the TRP series of FixedResets as of July 31, which is comprised of six issues without a Minimum Rate Guarantee and two issues which do have this feature:

impvol_trp_190731
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The two issues with floors, TRP.PR.J (+469, minimum 5.50%) and TRP.PR.K (+385, minimum 4.90%) are $0.74 and an incredible $3.68 rich, respectively. These are decreases from last month but are still very high values, despite the fact that their floor will not become effective unless five-year Canadas dip below 0.81% and 1.05%, respectively. For all the gloom, we’re still a long way from those levels!

Relative performance during the month was not correlated with Issue Reset Spreads:

perf_190731_1mo
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… and correlations over the quarter were also negligible:

perf_190731_3mo
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And, for those curious about how the current downturn compares with prior ones:

perf_index_190731
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As for the future, of course, it’s one thing to say that ‘spreads are unsustainable and so are government yields’ and it’s quite another to forecast just how and when a more economically sustainable environment will take effect. It could be years. There could be a reversal, particularly if Trump’s international trade policies cause a severe recession or even a depression. And, of course, I could be just plain wrong about the sustainability of the current environment.

Yields on preferred shares of all stripes are extremely high compared to those available from other investments of similar quality. A I told John Heinzl in an eMail interview in late November, the best advice I can offer investors remains Shut up and clip your coupons!

I think that a broad, sustainable rally in FixedResets will require higher five-year Canada yields (or a widespread expectation of them) … and although I’m sure this will happen eventually, it would be foolish to speculate on just when it will happen!

Calculation of MAPF Sustainable Income Per Unit
Month NAVPU Portfolio
Average
YTW
Leverage
Divisor
Securities
Average
YTW
Capital
Gains
Multiplier
Sustainable
Income
per
current
Unit
June, 2007 9.3114 5.16% 1.03 5.01% 1.3240 0.3524
September 9.1489 5.35% 0.98 5.46% 1.3240 0.3773
December, 2007 9.0070 5.53% 0.942 5.87% 1.3240 0.3993
March, 2008 8.8512 6.17% 1.047 5.89% 1.3240 0.3938
June 8.3419 6.034% 0.952 6.338% 1.3240 $0.3993
September 8.1886 7.108% 0.969 7.335% 1.3240 $0.4537
December, 2008 8.0464 9.24% 1.008 9.166% 1.3240 $0.5571
March 2009 $8.8317 8.60% 0.995 8.802% 1.3240 $0.5872
June 10.9846 7.05% 0.999 7.057% 1.3240 $0.5855
September 12.3462 6.03% 0.998 6.042% 1.3240 $0.5634
December 2009 10.5662 5.74% 0.981 5.851% 1.1141 $0.5549
March 2010 10.2497 6.03% 0.992 6.079% 1.1141 $0.5593
June 10.5770 5.96% 0.996 5.984% 1.1141 $0.5681
September 11.3901 5.43% 0.980 5.540% 1.1141 $0.5664
December 2010 10.7659 5.37% 0.993 5.408% 1.0298 $0.5654
March, 2011 11.0560 6.00% 0.994 5.964% 1.0298 $0.6403
June 11.1194 5.87% 1.018 5.976% 1.0298 $0.6453
September 10.2709 6.10%
Note
1.001 6.106% 1.0298 $0.6090
December, 2011 10.0793 5.63%
Note
1.031 5.805% 1.0000 $0.5851
March, 2012 10.3944 5.13%
Note
0.996 5.109% 1.0000 $0.5310
June 10.2151 5.32%
Note
1.012 5.384% 1.0000 $0.5500
September 10.6703 4.61%
Note
0.997 4.624% 1.0000 $0.4934
December, 2012 10.8307 4.24% 0.989 4.287% 1.0000 $0.4643
March, 2013 10.9033 3.87% 0.996 3.886% 1.0000 $0.4237
June 10.3261 4.81% 0.998 4.80% 1.0000 $0.4957
September 10.0296 5.62% 0.996 5.643% 1.0000 $0.5660
December, 2013 9.8717 6.02% 1.008 5.972% 1.0000 $0.5895
March, 2014 10.2233 5.55% 0.998 5.561% 1.0000 $0.5685
June 10.5877 5.09% 0.998 5.100% 1.0000 $0.5395
September 10.4601 5.28% 0.997 5.296% 1.0000 $0.5540
December, 2014 10.5701 4.83% 1.009 4.787% 1.0000 $0.5060
March, 2015 9.9573 4.99% 1.001 4.985% 1.0000 $0.4964
June, 2015 9.4181 5.55% 1.002 5.539% 1.0000 $0.5217
September 7.8140 6.98% 0.999 6.987% 1.0000 $0.5460
December, 2015 8.1379 6.85% 0.997 6.871% 1.0000 $0.5592
March, 2016 7.4416 7.79% 0.998 7.805% 1.0000 $0.5808
June 7.6704 7.67% 1.011 7.587% 1.0000 $0.5819
September 8.0590 7.35% 0.993 7.402% 1.0000 $0.5965
December, 2016 8.5844 7.24% 0.990 7.313% 1.0000 $0.6278
March, 2017 9.3984 6.26% 0.994 6.298% 1.0000 $0.5919
June 9.5313 6.41% 0.998 6.423% 1.0000 $0.6122
September 9.7129 6.56% 0.998 6.573% 1.0000 $0.6384
December, 2017 10.0566 6.06% 1.004 6.036% 1.0000 $0.6070
March, 2018 10.2701 6.22% 1.007 6.177% 1.0000 $0.6344
June 10.2518 6.22% 0.995 6.251% 1.0000 $0.6408
September 10.2965 6.62% 1.018 6.503% 1.0000 $0.6696
December, 2018 8.6875 7.16% 0.997 7.182% 1.0000 $0.6240
March, 2019 8.4778 7.09% 1.007 7.041% 1.0000 $0.5969
June 8.0896 7.33% 0.996 7.359% 1.0000 $0.5953
July, 2019 8.1297 7.53% 1.006 7.485% 1.0000 $0.6085
NAVPU is shown after quarterly distributions of dividend income and annual distribution of capital gains.
Portfolio YTW includes cash (or margin borrowing), with an assumed interest rate of 0.00%
The Leverage Divisor indicates the level of cash in the account: if the portfolio is 1% in cash, the Leverage Divisor will be 0.99
Securities YTW divides “Portfolio YTW” by the “Leverage Divisor” to show the average YTW on the securities held; this assumes that the cash is invested in (or raised from) all securities held, in proportion to their holdings.
The Capital Gains Multiplier adjusts for the effects of Capital Gains Dividends. On 2009-12-31, there was a capital gains distribution of $1.989262 which is assumed for this purpose to have been reinvested at the final price of $10.5662. Thus, a holder of one unit pre-distribution would have held 1.1883 units post-distribution; the CG Multiplier reflects this to make the time-series comparable. Note that Dividend Distributions are not assumed to be reinvested.
Sustainable Income is the resultant estimate of the fund’s dividend income per current unit, before fees and expenses. Note that a “current unit” includes reinvestment of prior capital gains; a unitholder would have had the calculated sustainable income with only, say, 0.9 units in the past which, with reinvestment of capital gains, would become 1.0 current units.
DeemedRetractibles are comprised of all Straight Perpetuals (both PerpetualDiscount and PerpetualPremium) issued by BMO, BNS, CM, ELF, GWO, HSB, IAG, MFC, NA, RY, SLF and TD, which are not exchangable into common at the option of the company or the regulator (definition refined in May, 2011). These issues are analyzed as if their prospectuses included a requirement to redeem at par on or prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or the Deemed Maturity date for insurers and insurance holding companies (see below)), in addition to the call schedule explicitly defined. See the Deemed Retractible Review: September 2016 for the rationale behind this analysis.

The same reasoning is also applied to FixedResets from these issuers, other than explicitly defined NVCC from banks.

The Deemed Maturity date for insurers was set at 2022-1-31 at the commencement of the process in February, 2011. It was extended to 2025-1-31 in April, 2013 and to 2030-1-31 in December, 2018
Yields for September, 2011, to January, 2012, were calculated by imposing a cap of 10% on the yields of YLO issues held, in order to avoid their extremely high calculated yields distorting the calculation and to reflect the uncertainty in the marketplace that these yields will be realized. From February to September 2012, yields on these issues have been set to zero. All YLO issues held were sold in October 2012.

These calculations were performed assuming constant contemporary GOC-5 and 3-Month Bill rates, as follows:

Canada Yields Assumed in Calculations
Month-end GOC-5 3-Month Bill
September, 2015 0.78% 0.40%
December, 2015 0.71% 0.46%
March, 2016 0.70% 0.44%
June 0.57% 0.47%
September 0.58% 0.53%
December, 2016 1.16% 0.47%
March, 2017 1.08% 0.55%
June 1.35% 0.69%
September 1.79% 0.97%
December, 2017 1.83% 1.00%
March, 2018 2.06% 1.08%
June 1.95% 1.22%
September 2.33% 1.55%
December, 2018 1.88% 1.65%
March, 2019 1.46% 1.66%
June 1.34% 1.66%
July, 2019 1.40% 1.65%

Significant positions were held in NVCC non-compliant regulated FixedReset issues on July 31, 2019; all of these currently have their yields calculated with the presumption that they will be called by the issuers at par prior to 2022-1-31 (banks) or 2030-1-31 (insurers and insurance holding companies) or on a different date (SplitShares, when present in the portfolio) This presents another complication in the calculation of sustainable yield, which also assumes that redemption proceeds will be reinvested at the same rate. It will also be noted that my analysis of likely insurance industry regulation as updated is not given much weight by the market.

I will also note that the sustainable yield calculated above is not directly comparable with any yield calculation currently reported by any other preferred share fund as far as I am aware. The Sustainable Yield depends on:
i) Calculating Yield-to-Worst for each instrument and using this yield for reporting purposes;
ii) Using the contemporary value of Five-Year Canadas to estimate dividends after reset for FixedResets. The assumption regarding the five-year Canada rate has become more important as the proportion of low-spread FixedResets in the portfolio has increased.
iii) Making the assumption that deeply discounted NVCC non-compliant issues from both banks and insurers, both Straight and FixedResets will be redeemed at par on their DeemedMaturity date as discussed above.