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What is Vanguard's approach to creating alpha?

What is Vanguard's approach to creating alpha?

So, I think, you know, when we think about fixed income, it's very easy to assume that bonds behave and relative to how to macro environment behaves. But in actual fact, bonds are hugely technical. For every single bond out there, there is a finite amount of supply relative to changing demand. As an example, long maturity, on the long duration, bond typically much higher demand for pension funds, shorter duration bonds are for those investors that are looking for casual alternatives. So every part, every different bond has a different supply and demand dynamic.

When we think about security selection, part of the journey is understanding. Letโ€™s just say again, how Volkswagen might behave from a fundamental basis. How much cash does it have on their balance sheet? What is their business strategy? What regulatory environment are they working on? Thatโ€™s sort of fundamentals, but technical it's a really great guide to how you actually generate long-term sustainable outcome, because Volkswagen will issue many bonds, So do you by the senior bonds, or do you buy the subordinate bonds, do you buy the Euro bonds, The dollar bonds, the sterling bonds, do you buy the two year bonds, the five-year bonds, the 10-year bonds? Do you buy the cash bonds? Do you buy the derivatives? Every single one of these markets, the prices in risk differently, every single market has a different level of demand, a different level of supply. And therefore, the bonds will be priced different.

Our job is to make sure we can pick the best bonds for the risk. Sometimes, we'll go overweight, sometimes we'll go underweight, sometimes we'll go overweight and underweight without taking any directional risk and for us it's very much more about the securities selection since inception of our strategy, which has been now, five years. We have generated over 70% of our alpha from security selection.

When we look at the Morningstar corporate dollar universe, which is in the European UCITS Morningstar space which is where our longest strategy came here operates. We have been at the top of the peer group, pretty much every single year since inception. And it's because not only do we have very consistent after fee returns. But our returns per unit of risk has been very competitive and also because we're Vanguard, it's one of the cheapest options in the market which is exactly how our fund is structured here. 

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