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T Rowe Price launches Ultra Short-Term Bond Fund

T Rowe Price has launched the Ultra Short-Term Bond Fund, a no-load mutual fund that seeks to provide a high level of income consistent with minimal fluctuations in principal value and liquidity. 

The fund offers a conservative investment alternative for investors who want higher yields than a money market fund and less volatility than short-term bond funds.

The fund fills the gap between money market funds and traditional short-term bond funds in terms of a risk/reward trade-off.

The fund takes on slightly more credit and interest rate risk than money market funds with greater return potential. Unlike money market funds but similar to other bond funds, its net asset value can increase or decrease as interest rates change, with the potential for principal gains or losses. At the same time, the fund will be managed with an eye toward reducing risks if rates rise.

The Ultra Short-Term Bond Fund will invest in a highly diversified portfolio of shorter-term investment-grade corporate and government securities, including mortgage- and asset-backed securities, money market securities, and bank obligations.

The new fund will invest in securities with an approximate average maturity of 1.5 years or less, with a broader credit spectrum that includes any investment-grade security rated BBB or better. By contrast, most money market fund investments tend to have average maturities of three months or less and are typically rated AA or better.

The bond fund will offer similar flexibility to the firm's money market products, allowing for check writing capabilities and no trading restrictions.

The fund is managed by Joseph K. Lynagh, who currently manages the firm's taxable and municipal money market portfolios and other cash investments.

Lynagh, who has 18 years of investment experience, all of which have been with T Rowe Price, says: “Given the current interest rate environment, this new fund is attractive for investors who want to take on more risk for potentially greater yields, while still providing a relatively safe place for cash investments. It may also be useful for those who are invested in bond funds with longer maturities but want to reduce the potential principal risk from rising interest rates."

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