More stable yield and lower risks than in the equity market
The yield on fixed income funds is based on the performance of the fixed income market, which is more stable than that of the equity market. The flip side of stability is a lower yield. The yield paid on fixed income funds is dependent on the interest rate level and its fluctuations, the selected investments and the timing of buys and sells.
In fixed income funds the main risks consist of the interest rate risk and the credit risk.
The interest rate risk describes the sensitivity of a fixed income investment to changes in the interest rate level. Changes in the interest rate level have a reverse impact on the price of the fixed income investment; in other words, when the interest rate level rises, the price of a fixed income investment falls, and vice versa.
The credit risk refers to uncertainty over the solvency of the bonds' issuer. When the credit risk involved in the investment is expected to rise, the value of the investment will decline, and vice versa.
All investments in fixed income instruments are exposed to the risk of a rise in interest rates during the investment period.
If market interest rates rise and the investor sells his or her fund units, the yield may be lower than expected, or even negative. This is due to the fact that, as interest rates rise, the market value of bonds or money market investments in the fund's portfolio declines, lowering the value of each fund unit. How much this mechanism impacts each fund varies, depending on whether it is a money market fund, medium-term fixed income fund or a bond fund.
The value of fund units may increase or decrease depending on the market situation. The investor may lose a part or all of the invested capital.