Summary: The Western Asset Core Plus Bond Fund (WACIX) consistently provides a total return that is higher than the market by at least 1% per year. The managers of this fund actively adjust the fund’s credit risk and interest rate risk to reflect their view of the market.
Commentary: Looking at the fund’s current bond holdings gives an inaccurate picture of the fund’s investment style. It would appear that the fund is conservative, that it shuns credit risk by holding high investment grade bonds. This would be wrong. At times, this fund has been known to take on a great deal of credit risk. In fact, the fund’s sharpe ratio, which measures returns versus volatility over the last 10 years, paints a less than flattering picture. While producing great returns, the Western Asset Core Plus Bond Fund makes big bets, creating lots of ups and downs. Right now, the fund believes that holding high quality credit will provide a better return the lower quality credits. However, the fund doesn’t seem to like treasuires.
Short-Term Performance: Excellent Fund has outperformed its benchmark over the last 12 months and 3 years. Performance is particularly strong over the 3 year period, with an annualized return of 10.59%.
Long-Term Performance: Good Fund has outperformed its benchmark over the last 5 years and 10 years. Over 10 years, the total return is 6.86%
Risk Level Relative To Returns: Average Be prepared for lots of volatility.
Fees: Good No Sales load and a 0.70% expense ratio.
Manager Tenure: Excellent Three of the five managers involved with the Western Asset Core Plus Bond Fund (WACIX) have been in place since 1998. The fund embraces a very active trading style with portfolio turning over 700% a year.