A small but substantial change may be shaking the bond ETF infrastructure to its core. The New York State Department Financial services is allowing insurers to label bond ETFs as individual bonds rather than as equity risk. Companies have issued lots of new debt setting records as record low interest rates have made it appealing. This regulation could change the way the Fed and other regulators interact with bond markets, and could lead to the sort of efforts that saved the bond market in 2020. These will allow more bond products and increase inflows, but for insurers bond ETFs have more complications than a traditional single fixed income security and could provide difficulties in the future.
Finsum: Small changes to regulator practices like this can lead to massive swings in credit creation, keep an eye on bond ETFs.
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