Add a new concern to the stable of high-yield bond risks: ownership of some companies' issuance has become concentrated in the hands of just a few fund managers.
"A reduced number of asset managers hold a significant amount of the debt of large corporate issuers across advanced and emerging market economies," the IMF said in a report issued earlier this month, noting the top-five fund families hold at least 50 percent of reported bond ownership filings by many large non-resource companies in the JPMorgan Corporate Emerging Markets Bond Index.
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Some managers hold large chunks of a company's debt, with the report highlighting that Pimco holds more than 20 percent of Ally Financial's total bonds outstanding and around 15 percent of Navient's, while in emerging markets, the top-five hold around 30 percent of Digicel's bond issuance and more than 20 percent of Melco's. Pimco didn't immediately return an emailed request for comment
But while the IMF is concerned about how dependence on just a few funds may affect issuers' access to markets in "times of stress," others believe the risk may be to the fund manager.