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RPHIX vs US Treasuries vs CDs


I am currenlty invested in RPHIX (with the majority of the funds) to see how the market behaves. However, I galnced at the YTD performance, it is about 2%, it is perfect for a mutual fund this year, but I was thinking into transitioning to short term Treasuries, yielding 4% and even shorted term CDs, up to 3 months (maybe 6 months with the Treasuries).
You can even find MMA bank accounts with 3.85%.
What are your thoughts, assuming the Fed will continue to raise/keep rates until early next year modestly?


  • edited November 2022
    i'm wondering if now isn't a great time to buy junk bonds that are not short-duration? they've been severely whacked down low. TUHYX is yielding over 7% but the share price is in the toilet. still, junk bonds tend to do well when equities do, right? Over the past couple of days, TUHYX has had a lovely small-ish bump-up. You did well, protecting your money at that River Park fund.

    So, how much more do you need to preserve, as opposed to growing your portfolio? Changing conditions will require that we all respond. Buy & Hold is dead. I'm 25% in bonds, earning dividends I don't yet need, thankfully. The fact I do not need the monthly divs is a reflection of the fact that I can AFFORD to keep a big slug in equities, where it can grow.

    When I can find a CD for 5% or more, then I'll bite. My T-IRA year-end amalgamated estimated divs and cap gains are over 4%, and this has been a bad year. i won't complain. Markets WILL rebound at some point, and I certainly don't want to cut myself off at the knees from the prospect of any outsized profits by stashing too much in bond funds or treasuries. Or bank accounts. I've been much more fortunate in the brokerage account this year, compared to last year. Still a few hundred dollars to get me back to even-steven, there.

    those other instruments with the FDIC insurance or full faith and credit of the US gov't might serve you better than I judge they would me.
  • When I can find a CD for 5% or more, then I'll bite.

    Is this what is meant by "eating one's words"?:-)

    7 month certificate. Andrews Federal Credit Union. Membership open via American Consumer Council ($8) if you don't meet any of the other eligibility options. Backed by NCUA.
  • edited November 2022
    That's a question I've been pondering also @Mav123. My 'withdrawal' (or safe) bucket is ~40% RPHYX. It was closer to 50% but I did start moving some of that money over the past few weeks and buying short term, 3-12 month CDs or Treasuries, which ever was paying more at the time.

    I'm interested in other's opinions. RPHYX has been a great safe cash-substitute in the past, but as you said its historical 2-3% return doesn't even match a MM anymore.
  • There are several more rounds of rate hikes coming through 2023. Recent October CPI and PPI data are encouraging that indicate inflation is slowing. Even at 7.2% it is still quite high. Additional data from November would ensure a lower rate hike in December. A 50 bps would be more likely, and several 25 bps afterward in 2023. I would not be surprise to see CDs will yield more than 5%.
  • msf
    edited November 2022
    Delete - dup
  • Compare apples to apples. Also be careful whether talking about total return or yield. Personally I prefer total return since a higher yield coming out of principal (declining NAV) seems misleading.

    Of the numbers below, I'm most inclined to look most at the first comparison, though it would be nice to update the figures past 10/31. All the figures suggest that RPHYX will do more than keep pace, though returns will be lumpy. Just look at that 8.2% annualized figure based on last month's total return! (RPHYX) (FZDXX)

    Current projected total return (30 day SEC yield for RPHYX, 7 day yield for MMF) as of 10/31:
    RPHYX SEC yield: 3.41%
    FZDXX 7 day yield: 3.08%

    Total return over last 12 months, as of 10/31:
    RPHYX: 1.81%
    FZDXX: 0.67%

    (Per M*, RPHYX's trailing 12 month yield is 2.11% but I don't know the "as of" date. It roughly matches RPHYX's total return of 2.13% as of 11/15.)

    Current total return (one month as of 11/15/22), annualized:
    RPHYX: 8.2%; calculated as 0.66% (one month return), annualized. ≈ 1.0066^12 - 1
    FZDXX: 3.85% (actually less over past month, this is past 7 day yield, compounded and annualized)

    Monthly RPHYX total return from M*

  • edited November 2022
    Well @msf, your very good post was worth repeating!

    Hard to believe that RPHYX return of 0.66% for 1 month will be sustained. I didn't realize it took that 1 mo jump though.

    And I agree that this fund (any bond MF in my opinion) needs to be looked at as total return, not yield. Especially true since mine is a tax differed account. Who needs a fund that yields 7% but still loses -10%?
  • Those yields, if realized, would result in the fund's best performance ever and would exceed any return short-term CDs are going to offer with, one hopes, the relative safety the fund has afforded since its inception. But would they stretch over the following few years, the way locked-in, medium-term CD rates would? I wish I knew.

  • What I noticed was the amount of dry powder !
  • About 1% less dry power than in 1Q22 or 2Q22. See p. 5 in the 2Q22 commentary:

    It is risky to project out the yields (though I did that by quoting SEC yields), because all this "dry powder" will vanish within 90 days. The question is what replaces it? Another risk in reading too much into these numbers is described in the footnote of that 2Q22 report:
    The “dry powder” category includes securities such as called bonds and debt maturing in less than 30 days. Called or maturing bonds with an ultra-short period to redemption may provide a misleading representation of portfolio metrics due to the potential large impact on yields from minor pricing variances versus the upcoming redemption price. Investments represent a snapshot of a specific point in time and may not reflect future positioning.
  • @msf. gotcha! Giggle. 7 months..... Hmmmmm. THANKS for the tip!
  • @MSF What will replace the dry powder is probably better in a rising rate environment than a falling one.
  • My point was a simple one. Extrapolating returns from figures of the moment is a risky proposition.

    Here, reinvestment risk is amplified because it is not just coupons being reinvested but the principal itself is rolling over 1-4 times in a year. "Risk" here means uncertainty, both downside and upside.

    If we want to go further into the weeds, we can look at the high yield option adjusted spread (the gap between junk bond yields and Treasury yields). That spread seems to be declining lately (2nd half of 2022) even as "interest rates" (read Treasury rates) increase. What's the net effect? Haven't looked.


  • edited November 2022
    It is impossible to extrapolate completely as you said, but given that interest rates went from 3% at the end of September when this last shareholder letter came out to 4% on November 2, it is probable that the yield on this fund will be increasing in the short-term as that dry powder debt matures and new higher yielding debt is purchased. Even if high yield credit spreads are narrowing, unless they've narrowed more than the Fed's increase, the absolute yield will still rise. But this is of course just a temporary projection. It is quite different from locking in a yield with a CD or buying an individual fixed rate bond. All of that said, barring any defaults in the portfolio, I could easily imagine a 5% or 6% return for this fund over the next year.
  • I kept small amounts in RPHYX (under $1000) and sold the rest to buy a variety of Brokered CD's. I'd rather lock in some attractive rates than wait for this fund to start returning 3% or more annually !
  • "Dry powder", thanks for the tip @msf.
  • @Crash, @msf I am with Andrews in their 60 months CDs that were offered a few years back and yes I saw this promo.
  • I could easily imagine a 5% or 6% return for this fund over the next year.

    A reasonable person could conclude that that's what those yield figures, in black and white, are intended to suggest, at the very least. If they do not in fact come to pass . . . .

  • Similar to previous comments, I own RPHIX, but have reduced it to a very small position since March of 2020. I can get better returns through Schwab Money Market accounts or short term CDs, but will reconsider RPHIX when I start to see a performance pattern that is more competitive.
  • msf
    edited November 2022
    SWVXX has a cumulative (not annualized) return of 1.218% from March 16, 2020 through Nov 15, 2022. (Fund pays divs in mid-month.) Schwab data source.

    RPHIX has provided a cumulative return of 7.20% over the same time span. M* data source.

    Recent performance (1 month/3 month, through 10/31):
    RPHIX 0.47% / 0.69% (from Morningstar performance page)
    SWVXX 0.25% / 0.63% (from Schwab's page for this fund)

    As I've explained, extrapolating from today's yields is always risky, but FWIW, here are some yields (7 day for the MMF and 30 day SEC for the Riverpark funds).
    RPHIX 3.68% (as of 10/31)
    SWVXX 2.97% (as of 10/31)

    What is it about RPHIX's performance pattern that leads you to feel that you "can get better returns through Schwab Money Market accounts"? There are a lot of factors beyond the raw numbers above that one might look at. I've suggested option adjusted spreads as one factor to throw into the mix. Others?

  • SVWXX 7 day SEC yield is 3.71% today. Taxed at 22% bracket plus Mass ( my state) income tax ( 5%) is 2.75%

    SNOXX ( Govt obligations) is 3.45% or 2.691% without any default risk ( Repos are minimal so now state tax free).

    For PRHIX, I don't see how Fidelity arrives at SEC yield of 3.68%, using October's income of 0.0256 a share

    Using October's distribution ( after expenses) of .0256 a share if continued for next 12 months is .3072 or a yield of 3.2 % without compounding

    Can you find the SEC yield on RPHIX website?

  • I haven't found the 30 day SEC yield on Riverpark's website, which is why I linked to Fidelity.

    Regardless of where one finds the figure, it is calculated by the fund itself. I infer this from the fact that even M* does not compute the yield but relies upon funds to compute it themselves. M* also notes that this is a figure calculated at the end of the previous month, so the most current figure is as of 10/31.

    From M*'s glossary:
    SEC Yield

    This calculation is based on a 30-day period ending on the last day of the previous month. It is computed by dividing the net investment income per share earned during the period by the maximum offering price per share on the last day of the period. The figure listed lags by one month. When a dash appears, the yield available is more than 30 days old. This information is taken from fund surveys.

    M* Fixed Income Survey Guidelines

    As to how the figure is calculated, it is more complicated than just looking at the latest dividend payment. "SEC yield requires averaging the yield to maturity of the fund’s holdings over the prior 30 days and accounts for fund expenses."

    Shorter term yields have increased significantly in November. I expect (with qualifications already stated) that the 11/30 SEC yield for RPHIX will therefore be notably higher than the 10/31 3.68% yield. Especially given all its "dry powder" (see Lewis' post above).

    With respect to SNOXX's state tax exemption, though it is named Treasury Obligations MMF, the name is misleading. Only 69% of the fund's income in 2021 came from government obligations exempt from state taxes in any state. And less than 50% was from actual Treasuries, making the fund fully taxable in California, Connecticut, and New York.
  • edited November 2022
    30-day SEC yield isn't DIY stuff. Many funds use 3rd party services for it.

    Edit/Add: Both Fido & Schwab are showing RPHIX 30-day SEC yield as 3.68%.
  • edited November 2022
    RPHIX TTM yield, per M*, is 2.36%, but I don't care about yield, by itself, for a bond oef like RPHIX. For a bond oef, like RPHIX, I only care about total return. For RPHIX, its YTD total return is 2.09%. Its shorter term TR is .90 for 3 months, but there is no guaranteed TR with a bond oef, so everything is a projection based on a performance pattern.

    For a MM, I get 3.71% for SWVXX and 3.85% for SNAXX--and so I know what my total return pattern, for now, is and there is no threat to principal. CDs are paying about 4.8% for 1 year. Will RPHIX produce a TR over 3.71% or 3.85%, up to a CD high of 4.8%%? Its a guess, but currently I prefer my guaranteed 4.8% for a large part of my principal, and 3.71% and 3.85% for my more liquid holdings. I look at MMs and CDs in combination for my total return projections for my cash.

    So, just for me, I need to see RPHIX total return performance hiigher than .90% for 3 months, before I will start "believing" that in this environment of rising interest rates, likely recession, that this is the time to abandon my guaranateed total return, via MMs and CDs.

    Each person can read the market and decide what they want to invest their cash in, based on their analytical criteria for risking their cash. I am not recommending any investment action for others, but that is my current personal criteria, subject to change in the future.
  • @dtconroe - I appreciate your sharing your thoughts. There is indeed a risk/reward tradeoff. I tend to view RPHIX as something between a MMF and a CD, in that I expect it to have a higher total return, even quarter by quarter, than a MMF, but without the certainty (or commitment) of a CD.

    (I don't view MMF returns as guaranteed since they are not locked in. Though it is hard to imagine a scenario where their yields decline in the short term.)

    Because of the (short term) volatility in RPHIX I wouldn't put 100% of my cash there, but would still consider holding a sizeable position. I likely place a higher value on liquidity than you, as I'm more hesitant to lock money into a CD without a reasonable escape clause (not just a thinly traded market). Two reasons for my interest in liquidity: helping out relatives (which has been erratic) and potentially higher returns in the near term (opportunity cost).

    As you wrote, each person can decide for themselves.
  • edited November 2022
    @MSF I agree completely with your thinking here about liquidity and tradeoffs. RPHIX is really a different animal from a CD.
  • Funds with rates that can float upward like RPHIX will continue to do better until rates start to drop. Unless you are sure you can tell when that is, you make be behind your CD or Treasury rate over almost any time period.

    While I assume most of us have a great deal of confidence in RPHIX and it seems transparent, I am always a bit leary of funds that invest in high yield securities and things that can go bust. Don't forget IOFIX

    Reaching for an extra half point of yield will probably be Ok, but you never know.

  • edited November 2022
    msf: "(I don't view MMF returns as guaranteed since they are not locked in. Though it is hard to imagine a scenario where their yields decline in the short term.)"

    msf, I probably did not use the best wording in my commentary. The term "guaranteed" can apply to both rates and principal. With CDs, both principal/investment amount is guaranteed and its interest rate is guaranteed. With MMF principal, that may not be technically guaranteed, but it is a rarity that they ever lose principal value. The interest rate will vary periodically, but you will get the posted rate for short periods of time, and since it is very liquid, you can sell it quickly without any significant loss. With RPHIX, the principal/investment amount is not guranteed, and is based on junk bond holdings, and you cannot predict the amount of interest it is going to produce. I have been a long term investor in RPHIX, but I never forget it is a junk bond oef, that can lose money quickly, with no certainty of its dividend yield. In this current market, I choose to stay with the safer and more predictable MMFs and CDs, but I value RPHIX and it is one of the few funds I have chosen to maintain in this turbulent market. Because of the risk aspects of RPHIX, I don't find the reward a compelling enough alternative to the much safer MMFs or CDs.
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