The problems that led to the collapse and subsequent closing of Third Avenue's high-yield fund are not indicative of the entire sector, said Gershon Distenfeld, director of high yield at AllianceBernstein.
"They were investing in the distressed part of the market almost exclusively. Other high yield funds might invest a little bit in it, but it's nowhere near 100% of the portfolio," said Distenfeld.
Distenfeld added that Third Avenue also held very concentrated positions which made it hard for the fund manager to sell its positions without taking a major haircut. He said liquidity has been a problem for the high-yield market for a long time, especially now that Wall Street has been cutting staff on bond trading desks.
"It's no longer enough to focus on the amount of credit and the amount of duration you have in your fund," said Distenfeld. "You have to take liquidity into account."
Distenfeld said he has seen outflows from high yield in the wake of the Third Avenue fund's closure, but not worse than other periods like the so-called taper tantrum or the European debt crisis.
The AllianceBernstein High Income Fund (AGDAX) - Get Report , which Distenfeld co-manages, is down 4.7% so far this year, according to fund-tracker Morningstar. The $5.7 billion fund sports a trailing 12-month yield of 7.7%.
"We had pretty muted energy exposure to start with," said Distenfeld. "We are still taking a cautious approach and may possibly miss some upside here, but given the asymmetric risk in bonds in general we would rather miss a little bit of upside than take the potential downside."
Distenfeld said high-yield ETFs have not added to any problems that have arisen this week in the wake of the Third Avenue meltdown.
Junk bond ETFs have taken a lot of criticism this year from the likes of billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who questioned their liquidity in the face of such a crisis. Distenfeld did say that active managers of high yield are preferable for exactly this reason, as long as investors know how much risk the manager is taking on.
"It's one of the few areas where the average active manager beats the ETF by a considerable amount over time," said Distenfeld.