Plus, Perkins tries its hand at a global all-cap strategy and more.
Investor interest in bank-loan funds may have ebbed over the past few months, but that's not stopping Loomis Sayles.
Launched this week, Loomis Sayles Senior Floating Rate and Fixed Income (LSFYX) is the eighth bank-loan fund opened in 2011. Starting in late 2010, concerns about rising interest rates and demand for high yield created a favorable environment for floating-rate loans, which readjust periodically and are relatively insensitive to interest-rate moves. Within the floating-rate universe, bank-loan funds saw assets grow to $55 billion as of Sept. 30, 2011, from $36 billion Sept. 30, 2010, according to Morningstar data.
But with the Fed committed to keeping short-term rates low through mid-2013, demand for floating-rate loans has started to fade. In August, bank-loan funds saw net outflows of roughly $10 billion. And because bank loans are issued by companies with a lot of debt on their balance sheets, these funds can struggle when fears about the economy's health build, as they have recently. Funds in Morningstar's bank-loan category dropped between 3% and 6% in August, for instance, although they held up better in September.
Credit concerns and stubbornly low short-term rates may temper investors' appetite for bank-loan funds for now, but some diversified-bond managers are reporting that bank loans look more attractive after the recent sell-off.
Loomis Sayles' new fund could make for a compelling entrant, especially considering the experienced corporate-credit research team that backs Dan Fuss and team's credit-heavy Loomis Sayles Bond
Perkins Tries Another Fund Launch
Perkins Investment Management will be launching an all-cap global fund in December, though its launches in recent years have failed to gain the traction that its small- and mid-cap funds have enjoyed.
While Perkins Select Value will enable Perkins to use its successful small- and mid-cap strategies across the world's equity markets, it has tough acts to follow. The annualized returns of Perkins Small Cap Value
Since 2008, Perkins, which is majority owned by Janus Capital, has launched two value funds. The moderate-allocation and large-cap funds employ the same basic approach of their older siblings, but, thus far, neither has assets above $125 million. The greater a fund's asset base, the more its economies of scale can drive down its costs. While neither fund is expensive, there are much cheaper active funds in their respective categories.