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Income Investor: how to keep track of bond investments
Our yield-seeking investor columnist reveals the websites he uses to find information on fixed-income securities now that Bondscape has closed.
As of 1 November, Bondscape is no more. The website now bears this sad message:
'When created in 2001, Bondscape filled a gap in the market when there were very few options available to the UK retail network. In 2012, with platforms such as ORB and Bloomberg offering access to broad liquidity in the sterling fixed income markets, as well as RSPs [retail service providers] such as Proquote, the need for Bondscape had reduced dramatically and, as such, we felt the platform served its purpose and reached its natural end.'
How to keep track of fixed-income investments
High-yield fixed-income securities make up half of my portfolio. Keeping track of them has never been easy: it is now a little harder.
Information on fixed-income securities, such as corporate bonds, has traditionally been difficult to get hold of for retail investors. This is, perhaps, a market that the ‘professionals’ want to keep for themselves, as it can be quite lucrative.
My first nervous forays into the bond market were made based on the daily data that Bondscape used to offer – not only on corporate bonds but also gilts.
It was through Bondscape that I discovered perpetual bonds and gilts (which have made me money but – I hasten to add – are not necessarily right to buy now) as well as some underpriced corporate bonds that are now showing some attractive capital gains.
The pages of income and redemption yields made it relatively easy, perhaps even too easy, to identify and compare potential high-yield purchase targets in order to study them further.
Where to find information
So what other sources of information remain? There are two leading websites, with very similar names:
- Fixed Income Investments. This is run by Mark Taber as a labour of love, it seems. It has one of the most comprehensive resources on UK fixed-income securities, including price and yield data as well as information about redemption and calls. The website also provides well-informed comment on market developments.
- Fixed Income Investor. This is operated by Stockcube Research and sponsored by Canaccord Genuity. It has a comprehensive summary table of corporate bonds, although – annoyingly – it provides only income yields and not redemption yields. The security names link through directly to price charts. Their Bond of the Week feature is usually informative and thought-provoking.
There are many other sources of market data, although with less supporting information, including:
- Selftrade has a fairly comprehensive list of European corporate bonds including gross redemption yields, which links through to Fixed Income Investor for more information.
- Canaccord Genuity provides weekly data for a range of UK, US and Canadian fixed-income securities, including UK retail bonds.
If you are looking for even more resources, check out Fixed Income Investor’s list of links.
Although there are clear risks to the high yields on offer, this has been a great area in which to invest in recent years. However, these investments can be a tricky, and people new to the sector would do well to immerse themselves in the two key websites listed above before making any decisions.
If you've enjoyed this article, why not visit DIY Income Investor's blog. The views in this article are the author's own, and do not constitute advice.
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What others are saying
- Fixed Income Investments
- Fixed Income Investor
- Canaccord Genuity
- DIY Income Investor's blog
- Bondscape (closed)
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by Michelle McGagh on Dec 12, 2013 at 10:57