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Andy Sparks

Andy Sparks
Head of Portfolio Management Research

About the Contributor

Andy Sparks is a Managing Director and Head of Portfolio Management Research. Previously, Andy was responsible for Fixed income Research Strategies. Prior to joining MSCI, he was Head of Product Management at Barclays Capital for the POINT portfolio analytics platform. He had joined Lehman Brothers in 1995, serving in a number of senior positions. Andy has an M.A. in Economics from the University of Chicago and a B.A. in Economics from UCLA.

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Blog posts by Andy Sparks

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  1. BLOG

    Home bias in fixed income: Has it helped or hurt? 

    Jul 29, 2019 Anikó Maráz , Andy Sparks

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    Has global diversification historically helped reduce risk in the fixed-income portfolios of U.S. defined-benefit (DB) pension plans? Our backtests show that globalizing bond allocations would have increased risk measured relative to a liability benchmark. For such plans, home bias in bond portfolios would have reduced active risk over the period of our study.

  2. BLOG

    Three scenarios for Fed rate cuts 

    Jul 23, 2019 Andy Sparks , Thomas Verbraken

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    A consensus has emerged that the Federal Reserve will lower rates in the coming months, but investors remain uncertain over the timing and magnitude of the cuts. What impact could three rate-cut scenarios have on markets?

  3. BLOG

    A more politicized Fed? The market yawns 

    Apr 16, 2019 Andy Sparks

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    Could the Federal Reserve Board (the Fed) become less independent, with political forces exerting more influence?

  4. BLOG

    A new day for monetary policy? 

    Mar 22, 2019 Andy Sparks

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    Listen as MSCI’s Andy Sparks discusses potential implications of the US Federal Reserve’s sharply softening monetary policy, and whether the role of central banks has changed.

  5. BLOG

    U.S. real yields: opportunities and warning signs 

    Dec 12, 2018 Andy Sparks

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    Despite the recent rally in the U.S. government bond market, real U.S. bond yields (i.e., nominal yield minus the market-implied rate of inflation) still remain substantially higher than at the beginning of the year. This may be both a blessing and a curse for investors.

  6. BLOG

    Remember, US inflation is a long and winding road 

    Sep 5, 2018 Andy Sparks

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    A remarkable calm has settled upon the U.S. bond market, with interest rate and inflation risk now at their lowest levels of the decade. This optimistic sentiment was underscored at the annual Jackson Hole, Wyoming conference where Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Powell highlighted that there is “…no clear sign of an acceleration (of inflation) above 2% and there does not seem to be an elevated risk of overheating.”

  7. BLOG

    Bonds and equities: still happy together? 

    Jun 25, 2018 Andy Sparks

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    For many years now, stock and bond returns have consistently moved in opposite directions. But the timing of selloffs earlier this year in the bond and equity markets combined with inflation concerns and higher interest rates have market participants asking whether the relationship has changed.

  8. BLOG

    How easy is it to track a bond market index? 

    Feb 15, 2018 Andy Sparks

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    Many investors may have only a qualitative understanding of the ability of passive fund managers to track the returns of a fixed-income index. Our analysis uses tracking error to provide a quantitative measure of the ease – or difficulty – of consistently tracking an index.

  9. BLOG

    Are corporate bonds vulnerable to ECB tapering? 

    Jun 7, 2017 Andy Sparks

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    With employment generally strengthening and inflationary pressures rising, fixed income markets are increasingly focused on central banks tapering bond purchases and ultimately retiring their quantitative easing (QE) programs. Key questions now facing institutional investors include: What has been the impact of the QE programs? How much of this impact could be reversed as the programs are eventually wound down?

  10. BLOG

    Are convertible bonds more like equities? 

    Mar 2, 2017 Andy Sparks

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    Convertible bonds have “bonds” in their name but in reality they are complicated corporate securities with risk characteristics that often have little to do with straight bonds. Are they more like stocks or bonds? And how can investors evaluate and model them?

  11. BLOG

    What is the future of the ECB’s corporate bond program? 

    Sep 27, 2016 Andy Sparks

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    With average purchases of €7.8 billion ($8.7 billion) per month, the European Central Bank’s corporate bond buying program (CSPP) has become a major driver in the market. But will the program deliver on a core goal of funneling new lending to the private sector? If not, ECB support for the program could weaken and the program could be scaled back or terminated.

  12. BLOG

    Analyzing Credit Strategies from a Risk and Return Perspective 

    May 3, 2016 Andy Sparks

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    Understanding the performance of credit portfolios is essential in explaining a strategy’s merits to clients and prospects.

  13. BLOG

    INTEGRATED FIXED-INCOME RISK AND PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS 

    May 27, 2015 Andy Sparks

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    Asset managers look at both risk and return in their portfolios. However, it is not always so easy to report and analyze risk and performance attribution on the same platform and along the same dimensions. This type of integrated ex‐ante and ex-post analysis can be carried out in BarraOne, MSCI’s multi‐asset class, multi‐currency, risk and performance analysis platform.

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