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Investors increasingly considering unconstrained and absolute return fixed-income strategies, says Cerulli

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Against a backdrop of heightened market volatility in October, total mutual fund flows were negative (-USD6.7 billion) for the second month in a row, according to a the latest issue of The Cerulli Edge.

The taxable bond mutual fund asset class experienced its second straight month of redemptions, while international equity mutual funds garnered the most flows in October (USD3.4 billion). ETF assets grew 2.9% in October, bringing total assets closer to USD2 trillion. ETF flows reached their highest level thus far in 2014, reaping USD29.9 billion in October.
 

Cerulli believes major changes are occurring in the fixed-income markets that are driving asset managers to position clients against volatility and future rate tightening. As such, investors are increasingly considering unconstrained or absolute return fixed-income strategies.
 
Managers distributing municipal bond funds must determine a plan to direct investors to the appropriate solutions to boost asset retention and attract new investments. Cerulli believes retail investors' appetite for income and reduced tax exposure will persist as Baby Boomers shift into retirement. Most financial advisors (78%) surveyed currently use municipal bond funds, and generally have sufficient understanding of their role in a portfolio.

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