The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX) and State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT) are teaming up to create an exchange-traded fund for speculative-grade loans as investors dump more and more cash into riskier investments that come with a higher yield. Recent increases in subprime auto loans and corporate bonds have also been noted.
The new ETF is the SPDR Blackstone / GSO Senior Loan, and it just started trading on the New York Stock Exchange Arca today. A press release from the two companies indicates that it’s managed by GSO Capital Partners, which is The Blackstone Group L.P. (NYSE:BX)’s credit investing arm, and State Street Corporation (NYSE:STT)’s unit State Street Global Advisors.
According to Bloomberg, leveraged-loan issuance set a new record high during the last quarter, reaching $278.9 billion. The new ETF is apparently the third fund like it that was created with the purpose of buying loans. The first loan ETF was created two years ago by Invesco Ltd. (IVZ). Bloomberg reports that that ETF’s market capitalization went past $3 billion last week.
Many investors are turning to loans as a safer investment as interest rates rise because loans are often connected to floating-rate benchmarks. So as rates go up, fixed-rate securities decline in value.
Data from JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) indicates that approximately $15 billion has been placed into funds which buy leveraged loans already this year. That’s just $3 billion away from the record amount, which was set in 2010. Wednesday’s price was $98.33 cents on the dollar, and the Standard & Poor’s / LSTA U.S. Leveraged Loan 100 Index indicates that this number was the highest since July 2007.