After raising billions of dollars in the hope of bumper returns in a low-yield environment, TALF 2.0 fund managers may strike out when it comes to achieving the kind of double-digit returns of between 20% to 40% produced by circa 2008 TALF funds.
TALF fund managers said they are holding off on investing because credit spreads tightened dramatically for the asset-backed securities money managers put up as collateral to receive loans under the Federal Reserve Bank's Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, which was announced in March and went live in mid-June.
Many TALF funds were raised in relatively quick order during the early part of the second quarter, said Alice Lee, London-based director, investments and head of securitized credit manager research for investment consultant Willis Towers Watson PLC, in an email.
However, by the time the first TALF loan was issued in late June, Ms. Lee said "spreads in new issue AAA ABS tightened by more than 70% from levels seen at the end of March," noting that AAA prime auto ABS bonds traded at 60 basis points over the 2-year U.S. dollar swap rate at the end of June compared to 260 basis points at the end of March.
New issuances of securitized assets have been few and were "oversubscribed, which has led to tighter spreads and lower expected returns," Ms. Lee said, adding "as such, capital deployment (by TALF managers) has been slow so far."
The problem with tightening spreads in securitized credit assets for TALF managers is the loss of potential upside returns as asset prices rise and yield falls, said Christopher D. Long, founder, chairman and CEO of credit manager Palmer Square Capital Management LLC, Mission Woods, Kan.
"In addition, as all-in yields tighten below the TALF financing rates, it doesn't make sense to buy more assets using the leverage provided by the TALF program," Mr. Long said.