Bond Ladders and Optimal Portfolios
44 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2008 Last revised: 23 Feb 2018
Date Written: June 17, 2009
Many bond portfolio managers argue that bond laddering tends to outperform other bond investment strategies because it reduces both market price risk and reinvestment risk for a bond portfolio in the presence of interest rate uncertainty. Despite the popularity of bond ladders as a strategy for managing investments in fixed-income securities, there is surprising little reference to this subject in the economics and finance literature. In this paper we analyze complex bond portfolios within the framework of a dynamic general equilibrium asset-pricing model. Equilibrium bond portfolios are nonsensical, implying a trading volume that vastly exceeds observed trading volume on financial markets. Such portfolios would also be very costly and thus suboptimal in the presence of even very small transaction costs. Instead portfolios combining bond ladders with a market portfolio of equity assets are nearly optimal investment strategies, which in addition would minimize transaction costs. This paper, therefore, provides a rationale for bond ladders as a popular bond investment strategy.
Keywords: Bond ladders, reinvestment risk, portfolio choice, bonds, consol
JEL Classification: G11, G12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation