What is a Bullet Bond Portfolio?
A bullet bond portfolio, commonly referred to as a bullet portfolio, is made up of a range of bullet bonds, from short-term to long-term bullet bonds. A bullet bond is a non-callable bond wherein the total principal amount or its total value is paid in a lump sum on the bond’s maturity date.
- A bullet bond is a type of a non-callable bond wherein the total principal amount or total value is paid in a lump sum on the bond’s maturity date.
- A bullet bond portfolio, commonly referred to as bullet portfolio, is made up of short-term and long-term bullet bonds.
- Bullet bonds generally carry a relatively lower interest rate. It is a result of the high risk exposure on the debt issuer’s part.
How Does the Bullet Bond Investment Strategy Work?
The bullet bond investment strategy is centered around creating a bullet portfolio, i.e., purchasing a number of bonds with the same maturity date. When the bonds mature on the same date, the portfolio generates substantial earnings all at once at the high end of the yield curve.
While a bullet portfolio is composed of bonds purchased in a way that all bonds come with the same maturity date, it is important to remember that the bonds are not purchased at the same time. A bullet portfolio is built by purchasing bonds at different times but with the same maturity date. It is done with the idea of diversifying the portfolio on the basis of purchase time and consequently spreading the risk of interest rate fluctuations over different purchase times.
Bullet Bond Portfolio – Features
1. Principal value paid in a lump sum
A bullet bond’s total principal value is paid in a lump sum on its maturity date. This is in contrast to the general practice of amortizing a bond’s principal value over its lifetime.
It means that a bullet bond cannot be “called” or redeemed early by the debt issuer.
3. Higher risk level for the debt issuer
A bullet bond generally carries more risk for the debt issuer since it requires payment of its entire principal amount all at once, as opposed to the general practice of amortizing a bond’s value over its lifetime. This results in a very heavy repayment obligation on the debt issuer’s part.
4. Relatively lower interest rate
Bullet bonds generally carry a relatively lower interest rate. It is a result of the high risk exposure on the debt issuer’s part.
Generally, investors adopt the bullet bond investment strategy when they need a sizable amount of capital in the future. The strategy can be used in several real-life applications, including:
- Buying a house or large property
- Remodeling a house
- Financing college education
- Purchasing a car
- Paying for mortgage
An investor wants to pay for his 15-year old daughter’s university education. Anticipating the high cost of full-time university education, the investor decides to implement a bullet investing strategy using bonds. He builds his bullet bond portfolio with a four-year maturity period in mind, as that is when his daughter would be heading off to the university. The investor purchases bonds at different times, i.e., in Year 1, Year 2, and Year 3, all maturing in year 4.
Implementing such a strategy aims to achieve a “bullet boost” of funds in Year 4 to finance the university education. Since the investor uses a bullet bond strategy, which involves purchasing bonds at different times with the same maturity date, the investor does not need to experience a sudden huge outflow of funds. In Year 4, the investor gets his total principal amount back, which helps fund his daughter’s university education.
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