As investors search for yield beyond traditional money market funds, Northern Funds’ Ultra-Short Fixed Income Fund (NUSFX) and Tax-Advantaged Ultra-Short Fixed Income Fund (NTAUX) have recently drawn assets from investors seeking opportunities for their investments that cover longer term spending needs. Northern Trust, which sponsors and manages the two funds, announced today that together they have exceeded $3 billion in assets.
“The Northern Funds Ultra-Short Funds have exhibited strong asset growth since inception, which validates our view that clients value a consistent, proven investment process in a total return product that is different from a traditional money market fund,” said Colin Robertson, Managing Director of Fixed Income for Northern Trust. “As clients rethink their investment strategies in this low interest rate environment, we expect our Ultra-Short funds and liquidity management ETF strategies will continue to acquire assets and gain significant traction in the marketplace.”
Launched in June 2009, the funds have a highly focused strategy that draws on a legacy of more than 25 years of experience with risk-controlled ultra-short duration strategies. The funds are designed to take modest interest rate risk, credit risk and liquidity risk compared to money market funds.
The two funds have slightly higher volatility and lower liquidity than money market funds and seek to offer less volatility than intermediate and longer-duration fixed income securities.
While both seek to yield more than a money market fund with potential for capital appreciation, the Tax Advantaged Ultra-Short Fund seeks to provide investors in higher tax brackets more after tax yield by investing in municipal securities.
“The investment process for both funds combines a top-down macroeconomic view with intense bottom-up credit research in an effort to generate yield with moderate risk,” said fund manager Carol Sullivan of Northern Trust. “We maintain well-diversified portfolios of investment grade securities with a neutral target duration of one year, plus the flexibility to shorten or extend the portfolio up to another six months depending upon our macro forecasts. This flexibility helps us to position the two Ultra-Short Funds in a way that captures opportunity but also provides some protection in a rising rate environment.”