Getting Some TIPS from PIMCO

Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund manager by assets, launched its second ETF, the PIMCO 1-5 Year U.S. TIPS Index Fund (STPZ). The ETF began trading Monday on the NYSE Arca. It tracks the Merrill Lynch 1-5 Year U.S. Inflation-Linked Treasury Index. This unmanaged index holds TIPS (Treasury Inflation Protected Securities) with a maturity between one and five years, and averaging about three years. The fund charges in expense ratio of 0.20%.

STPZ is the first of three ETFs on TIPS, U.S. Government-issued fixed-income securities that give investors explicit inflation protection and the potential for additional yield. The principal value of TIPS is adjusted monthly according to the rate of inflation measured by the U.S. consumer price index.

Pimco said in a written statement that the new fund is the “first ETF to focus specifically on the short maturity segment of the TIPS market and aims to offer investors a high degree of protection against the immediate effects of inflation on their portfolio. Shorter-dated TIPS have historically shown a significantly higher correlation with current inflation and lower volatility relative to an index that covers the entire TIPS maturity spectrum.”

Currently, inflation remains close to non-existent, with deflation a bigger threat to the economy. But, that situation just can’t last. The government’s spending surge from the unprecedented fiscal stimulus bill passed earlier this year has the potential to significantly boost prices across the economy.

Pimco has been one of the most active participants in the TIPS market since the product’s inception in 1997. Next month, the bond fund firm expects to launch two more TIPS ETFs. The PIMCO 15+ Year U.S. TIPS Index Fund (LTPZ) will address the long end of the market while the PIMCO Broad U.S. TIPS Index Fund (TIPZ) will give TIPS exposure across the maturity spectrum. These two will take on the two TIPS ETFs already on the market, the iShares Barclays TIPS Bond Fund (TIP) and the SPDR Barclays Capital TIPS ETF (IPE).

“By focusing on the short end of the maturity curve, we’re addressing the two main concerns we’ve heard from investors (inflation protection and protection against the risk of rising interest rates),” John Cavalieri, a Pimco senior vice president and real return product manager, told IndexUniverse. He said while the ETFs on the market provide inflation protection, STPZ is uniquely positioned to protect against the risk of rising interest rates. “It boils down to this ETF providing exposure to the short end of the maturity curve, which limits interest rate sensitivity.”

Pimco launched its first ETF in June.

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