The Bond Fund is invested in various debt obligations of the Canadian federal and provincial governments, issues guaranteed by these governments, certain municipal issues and investment-grade, highly-marketable corporate debt issues. The Fund may also hold units of the UBS (Canada) Core Plus Bond Fund to a maximum of 30% of the total Fund. The Core Plus Bond Fund broadens the current opportunity set to include U.S and European investment grade credit, securitized paper, as well as allocations to emerging market and high yield debt.
The average term to maturity and the composition of the Fund is continuously adjusted to reflect the expected future direction of changes in interest rates. The Fund seeks to add value to the returns from the market primarily through interest rate anticipation, yield curve strategies, and sector and securities selection. The objective of the Fund is to outperform the SC Universe Bond Index over moving four year periods.
A very high quality portfolio is maintained to reduce the possibility of default on payment by any of the issuers. The main risk in a bond portfolio is with the direction of interest rates. Bonds have market values similar to stocks. Bond prices move in the opposite direction to changes in interest rates, rising when interest rates fall and vice versa.
Bonds are generally considered to be lower risk investments compared to equities (returns are less volatile), but the long term performance of bonds is more modest compared to stocks. Since 1980, annual returns from the DEX Universe Bond Index have varied between -5 and +34 per cent.
The Fund is suited for investors with a longer-term outlook (minimum five years). The expected return from the Bond Fund, in any given year, is largely unpredictable due to the uncertain direction of interest rates.