Fixed Income: U.S. - Corporate Investment Grade Intermediate

IBDD Top Performer Intra-day
Price $26.72
Today’s Change +0.09%(0.32)
3:17pm 09/22/2017
IBD Bottom Performer Intra-day
Price $25.15
Today’s Change -0.07%(-0.26)
12:41pm 09/22/2017
  • Overview
  • Efficiency
  • Tradability
  • Fit

ETF.com Insight

Investment-grade intermediate-term corporate ETF space can be split into two groups: those that try to capture the broad market; and target-date ETFs that aim for bullet maturities. TheITR earns our Analyst Pick ribbon here broad ETFs include ITR, which covers the 1-10 year market; CIU, which broadens its scope to include USD-denominated foreign issues; VCIT, which only holds bonds expiring in 5-10 years; and the fundamentally selected and weighted PFIG. VCIT and ITR charge 12 bps each, and trade with tight spreads. The most liquid fund is CIU, largest volume and tightest spreads in the segment. PFIG has the widest market among the broad-market funds, so investors buying into its fundamental methodology would do well to avoid market orders.
The target-date funds only hold bonds with effective maturities in a specific time window. This group can also be further split into three subgroups: Guggenheim’s BulletShares suite, which achieves its stated maturities using a mix of both callable and option-free bonds; iShares’ iBonds suite which achieves its target maturities with only bonds mature in that time window; and iShares’ ex-financial iBonds suite, which exclude debt issued by financial firms and have a target rating of A/A2. All three product lines will behave more like a single bond than a basket of bonds, making them great choices for investors with liquidity events in those years. The iShares funds charge 10 bps a year, while the BulletShares charge 24 bps. None of these funds is particularly liquid—especially the new funds from BlackRock—but investors intending to hold them to maturity can effectively cut their trading spreads in half.
ITR earns our Analyst Pick ribbon here thanks to its broad portfolio that covers the entire 1- to 10-year maturity bucket for a reasonable 12 bp annual fee. VCIT makes its way on to our Opportunities List due to the fact that it only targets the 5-10 year pocket of the corporate bond market, albeit at a very reasonable cost. (Insight updated 09/22/17)

All Funds (25)

ITR $2.2 B 2198039825.3437 Best Fit

A 97
E
94
94
T
90
90
F
97
97

BSCL $756.01 M 756006300 Matures in 2021

A 87
E
92
92
T
87
87
F
87
87

IBDL $395.87 M 395868790 Matures in Dec 2020

A 73
E
95
95
T
90
90
F
73
73

BSCK $1.03 B 1031902650 Matures in 2020

A 69
E
92
92
T
83
83
F
69
69

IBDM $430.19 M 430194300 N/A

B 94
E
87
87
T
91
91
F
94
94

CIU $7.27 B 7273963320 broad credit beyond corporate

B 92
E
93
93
T
78
78
F
92
92

PFIG $47.35 M 47354450 Based on issuer fundamentals

B 85
E
87
87
T
59
59
F
85
85

IBDD $87.92 M 87924540 Matures in 2023

B 77
E
94
94
T
40
40
F
77
77

IBDN $325.22 M 325221120 N/A

B 77
E
84
84
T
84
84
F
77
77

VCIT $17.16 B 17164582522.3 Cheapest portfolio

B 77
E
90
90
T
78
78
F
77
77

IBDP $150.42 M 150423000 N/A

B 75
E
87
87
T
59
59
F
75
75

BSCM $600.94 M 600942000 Matures in 2022

B 74
E
92
92
T
81
81
F
74
74

BSCN $229.73 M 229731000 N/A

B 73
E
91
91
T
62
62
F
73
73

BSCO $188.14 M 188136000 N/A

B 71
E
89
89
T
56
56
F
71
71

IBDC $91.75 M 91747600 Matures in 2020

B 68
E
95
95
T
59
59
F
68
68

IBCD $92.38 M 92376000 Ex-financials, 2020 maturity target

B 65
E
95
95
T
52
52
F
65
65

SKOR $45.81 M 45810140.9001 N/A

C 83
E
86
86
T
57
57
F
83
83

IBDO $199.03 M 199031810 N/A

C 76
E
85
85
T
62
62
F
76
76

IBCE $47.73 M 47726640 Ex-financials, 2023 maturity target

C 74
E
92
92
T
37
37
F
74
74

IBDQ $223.94 M 223936160 N/A

C 74
E
81
81
T
71
71
F
74
74

BSCP $80.72 M 80718300 N/A

C 70
E
77
77
T
65
65
F
70
70

IBDR $58.71 M 58709760 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

IBD $20.05 M 20048000 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

IBDS $9.92 M 9918920 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

BSCQ $35.43 M 35434800 N/A

N/A 0
E
0
-1
T
0
-1
F
0
-1

ETF.com Grade as 09/14/17

Fixed Income: U.S. - Corporate Investment Grade Intermediate

Performance Dispersion
Performance  [as of 09/21/17] 1 Month 3 Month YTD 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 10 Years
Benchmark: Bloomberg Barclays Intermediate U.S. Corporate Bond Index--------------
A 96.948469ITR2198039825.3437ITRSPDR Bloomberg Barclays Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF-0.04%0.61%3.28%1.54%3.03%2.62%--
A 86.753331BSCL756006300BSCLGuggenheim BulletShares 2021 Corporate Bond ETF-0.09%0.51%3.21%1.38%3.59%----
A 73.479775IBDL395868790IBDLiShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF-0.05%0.75%2.74%1.35%------
A 69.124795BSCK1031902650BSCKGuggenheim BulletShares 2020 Corporate Bond ETF-0.21%0.44%2.63%1.26%2.97%2.92%--
B 93.60148IBDM430194300IBDMiShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF-0.19%0.46%2.92%1.42%------
B 91.557554CIU7273963320CIUiShares Intermediate Credit Bond ETF-0.05%0.57%3.39%1.53%2.69%2.38%4.52%
B 84.914711PFIG47354450PFIGPowerShares Fundamental Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF-0.25%0.54%3.48%1.24%2.90%2.35%--
B 77.430192IBDD87924540IBDDiShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF-0.36%0.13%3.52%0.91%3.77%----
B 77.004391IBDN325221120IBDNiShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF-0.09%0.73%3.56%1.49%------
B 76.803766VCIT17164582522.3VCITVanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF-0.27%0.42%4.39%1.72%4.21%3.58%--
B 75.004203IBDP150423000IBDPiShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF-0.05%0.77%5.04%1.99%------
B 74.43511BSCM600942000BSCMGuggenheim BulletShares 2022 Corporate Bond ETF-0.24%0.55%3.77%1.59%3.95%----
B 72.560542BSCN229731000BSCNGuggenheim BulletShares 2023 Corporate Bond ETF-0.12%0.70%4.67%2.38%4.66%----
B 70.889116BSCO188136000BSCOGuggenheim BulletShares 2024 Corporate Bond ETF-0.14%0.74%4.62%1.80%4.60%----
B 67.535486IBDC91747600IBDCiShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF-0.17%0.49%1.89%1.28%2.49%----
B 65.088187IBCD92376000IBCDiShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ex-Financials ETF0.03%0.63%1.62%0.72%2.30%----
C 83.371638SKOR45810140.9001SKORFlexShares Credit-Scored US Corporate Bond Index Fund0.14%0.83%3.93%1.41%------
C 76.267849IBDO199031810IBDOiShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF-0.11%1.00%4.50%1.98%------
C 74.240346IBCE47726640IBCEiShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ex-Financials ETF0.10%0.40%3.34%0.39%3.65%----
C 74.011584IBDQ223936160IBDQiShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF-0.08%0.48%5.40%1.63%------
C 69.967354BSCP80718300BSCPGuggenheim BulletShares 2025 Corporate Bond ETF0.05%0.64%4.91%1.47%------
N/A 0IBDR58709760IBDRiShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF-0.00%0.55%5.07%1.48%------
N/A 0IBD20048000IBDInspire Corporate Bond Impact ETF0.01%------------
N/A 0IBDS9918920IBDSiShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF--------------
N/A 0BSCQ35434800BSCQGuggenheim BulletShares 2026 Corporate Bond ETF0.21%0.79%5.22%1.18%------
All returns over 1 year are annualized. All returns are total returns unless otherwise stated.

ETF.com Efficiency Insight

CIU and ITR are the most efficient broad-market funds in this segment, with reasonable 20 and 12 bp expense ratios, respectively. They offer consistent tracking that adds just a few basisCIU and UTR are the most efficient funds in this segment points to their headline expense ratios. VCIT also charges just 12 bps—but it doesn’t track nearly as well, making its holding cost much harder to predict.
The other funds with reasonable track records charge higher fees and have tended to lag their underlying indexes by greater amounts: PFIG charges 22 bps, while the BulletShares fund suite charges 24 bps.
Most of the largest funds in this segment are extremely stable and well-established. CIU, at the top, has about $6B in AUM, and VCIT has a healthy $4B asset base. Excluding recent launches, the remaining funds have plenty of assets to make them viable in the long term. The iBonds fund suite is accumulating assets slowly but steadily. Taxable investors should also be aware that VCIT, ITR and CIU have all made recent capital gains distributions.
iShares’ iBonds suite will need more seasoning before we can evaluate their tracking prowess, but their 10 bp expense ratios put them on sound Efficiency footing. In fact, they are now the cheapest funds in the segment. (Insight updated 09/22/17)

All Funds (25)

95
95.37945
95
95.232309
95
95.182753
94
94.47313
94
94.352254
93
93.443755
92
92.318317
92
92.0098
92
91.873556
92
91.641751
91
91.062527
90
89.632985
89
89.246442
87
87.45597
87
87.369201
87
87.210047
86
86.053726
85
84.744226
84
84.091429
81
80.721693
77
76.805494
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0

ETF.com Grade as 09/14/17

Fixed Income: U.S. - Corporate Investment Grade Intermediate

Tracking Difference (12 Month)

Ticker Expense Ratio Median Max. Upside Max. Downside Max LT/ST Cap Gains Rate Rule Legal Structure Fund Closure Risk Efficiency
BSCK Guggenheim BulletShares 2020 Corporate Bond ETF 0.24% -0.16% -0.01% -0.30% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 92.318317
IBDL iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -0.18% -0.14% -0.22% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 95.232309
IBDR iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
BSCL Guggenheim BulletShares 2021 Corporate Bond ETF 0.24% 0.12% 0.29% -0.13% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 92.0098
IBDM iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 87.369201
IBD Inspire Corporate Bond Impact ETF 0.61% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
BSCM Guggenheim BulletShares 2022 Corporate Bond ETF 0.24% -0.09% 0.04% -0.42% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 91.873556
IBDN iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 84.091429
IBDS iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 0
BSCN Guggenheim BulletShares 2023 Corporate Bond ETF 0.24% -0.21% 0.01% -0.48% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 91.062527
IBDO iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 84.744226
BSCO Guggenheim BulletShares 2024 Corporate Bond ETF 0.24% -0.45% -0.09% -0.76% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 89.246442
IBDP iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 87.210047
BSCP Guggenheim BulletShares 2025 Corporate Bond ETF 0.24% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 76.805494
IBDQ iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% Low 80.721693
CIU iShares Intermediate Credit Bond ETF 0.20% -0.26% -0.16% -0.39% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 93.443755
ITR SPDR Bloomberg Barclays Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF 0.12% -0.03% 0.07% -0.40% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 94.47313
IBCD iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ex-Financials ETF 0.10% -0.20% -0.02% -0.23% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 95.182753
PFIG PowerShares Fundamental Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF 0.22% -0.05% 0.25% -0.24% 20.00% / 39.60% Medium 87.45597
IBCE iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ex-Financials ETF 0.10% 0.09% 0.18% -0.03% 20.00% / 39.60% Medium 91.641751
SKOR FlexShares Credit-Scored US Corporate Bond Index Fund 0.22% -0.39% -0.25% -0.63% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 86.053726
IBDC iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -0.21% -0.14% -0.30% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 95.37945
VCIT Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF 0.07% 0.01% 0.32% -0.51% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 89.632985
IBDD iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF 0.10% -0.07% 0.13% -0.38% 20.00% / 39.60% Low 94.352254
BSCQ Guggenheim BulletShares 2026 Corporate Bond ETF 0.24% -- -- -- 20.00% / 39.60% High 0

ETF.com Tradability Insight

The most liquid fund in this segment is CIU, closely followed by VCIT. Both funds trade $30M+ most days, at narrow spreads. The biggest difference between the two is at the institutionalThe most liquid funds in this segment are CIU and VCIT. level—large traders are likely to get a better deal on large blocks of CIU than VCIT—but both should be relatively easy to trade at any size.
Many of the established funds are still tradable, especially in retail quantities. ITR trades at least $2M most days, at manageable spreads.
While the BulletShares suite is not designed for active trading but funds in the suite trade comfortably more than $500K a day at wide but manageable spreads. iShares’ iBonds suite struggles with secondary liquidity–low median daily volumes and wide spreads–as its market has yet to mature. However, the silver lining for all target date funds is that buy-and-hold investors pay spreads only one way, effectively cutting trading costs into half.
PFIG–a tilted exposure to the broad corporate market–doesn’t trade well. As such, investors need to use great care when trading the fund.
Caution: Intermediate-term investment grade corporate bond market is not particularly liquid. So be sure to enlist the help of market makers when transacting large orders. (Insight updated 09/22/17)

All Funds (25)

91
90.753212
90
90.439082
90
90.358074
87
87.221526
84
84.343123
83
83.318462
81
80.821393
78
78.349015
78
77.728337
71
70.901636
65
65.381716
62
61.852035
62
61.550482
59
59.129829
59
58.620368
59
58.510926
57
56.723997
56
55.92824
52
52.206106
40
40.216927
37
37.440329
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0

ETF.com Grade as 09/14/17

Fixed Income: U.S. - Corporate Investment Grade Intermediate

Ticker Median Daily Volume ($) Average Spread Creation Unit/Day Market Hours Overlap Underlying Volume/Unit % Creation Cost Per Unit (%) Impediment to Creations Score - Tradability
BSCK Guggenheim BulletShares 2020 Corporate Bond ETF $2.89 M 0.07% 0.89 100.00% -- 0.02% None 83.318462
IBDQ iShares iBonds Dec 2025 Term Corporate ETF $666.86 K 0.17% 0.53 100.00% -- 0.02% None 70.901636
BSCL Guggenheim BulletShares 2021 Corporate Bond ETF $2.43 M 0.09% 0.76 100.00% -- 0.02% None 87.221526
ITR SPDR Bloomberg Barclays Intermediate Term Corporate Bond ETF $8.35 M 0.04% 2.42 100.00% -- 0.01% None 90.358074
BSCM Guggenheim BulletShares 2022 Corporate Bond ETF $1.94 M 0.12% 0.60 100.00% -- 0.02% None 80.821393
PFIG PowerShares Fundamental Investment Grade Corporate Bond ETF $418.25 K 0.29% 0.33 100.00% -- 0.04% None 58.620368
BSCN Guggenheim BulletShares 2023 Corporate Bond ETF $848.34 K 0.16% 0.27 100.00% -- 0.02% None 61.550482
SKOR FlexShares Credit-Scored US Corporate Bond Index Fund $108.2 K 0.19% 0.04 100.00% -- 0.02% None 56.723997
BSCO Guggenheim BulletShares 2024 Corporate Bond ETF $713.3 K 0.19% 0.23 100.00% -- 0.02% None 55.92824
VCIT Vanguard Intermediate-Term Corporate Bond ETF $85.37 M 0.02% 9.65 100.00% -- 0.00% None 78.349015
BSCP Guggenheim BulletShares 2025 Corporate Bond ETF $362.58 K 0.12% 0.12 100.00% -- 0.02% None 65.381716
BSCQ Guggenheim BulletShares 2026 Corporate Bond ETF $270.57 K 0.23% 0.09 100.00% -- 0.02% None 0
CIU iShares Intermediate Credit Bond ETF $28.28 M 0.02% 5.14 100.00% -- 0.01% None 77.728337
IBDR iShares iBonds Dec 2026 Term Corporate ETF $209.77 K 0.27% 0.17 100.00% -- 0.03% None 0
IBCD iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ex-Financials ETF $142.91 K 0.19% 0.12 100.00% -- 0.01% None 52.206106
IBD Inspire Corporate Bond Impact ETF $38.96 K 0.53% 0.01 0.00%% -- 0.02% None 0
IBCE iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ex-Financials ETF $56.49 K 0.32% 0.05 100.00% -- 0.01% None 37.440329
IBDS iShares iBonds Dec 2027 Term Corporate ETF $87.1 K 0.12% 0.05 -- -- 0.02% None 0
IBDC iShares iBonds Mar 2020 Term Corporate ETF $173.37 K 0.18% 0.13 100.00% 34.17% 0.01% None 59.129829
IBDD iShares iBonds Mar 2023 Term Corporate ETF $97.27 K 0.26% 0.07 100.00% 41.24% 0.01% None 40.216927
IBDL iShares iBonds Dec 2020 Term Corporate ETF $1.62 M 0.09% 1.27 100.00% -- 0.03% None 90.439082
IBDM iShares iBonds Dec 2021 Term Corporate ETF $1.68 M 0.13% 1.34 100.00% -- 0.03% None 90.753212
IBDN iShares iBonds Dec 2022 Term Corporate ETF $1.4 M 0.15% 1.11 100.00% -- 0.05% None 84.343123
IBDO iShares iBonds Dec 2023 Term Corporate ETF $786.99 K 0.14% 0.62 100.00% -- 0.05% None 61.852035
IBDP iShares iBonds Dec 2024 Term Corporate ETF $501.14 K 0.17% 0.40 100.00% -- 0.05% None 58.510926

ETF.com/ Block Liquidity

IBDL
5
4
3
2
1
IBDM
5
4
3
2
1
VCIT
5
4
3
2
1
BSCK
5
4
3
2
1
BSCL
5
4
3
2
1
BSCM
5
4
3
2
1
IBDN
5
4
3
2
1
ITR
5
4
3
2
1
IBDR
5
4
3
2
1
BSCP
5
4
3
2
1
CIU
5
4
3
2
1
IBCD
5
4
3
2
1
IBDC
5
4
3
2
1
IBDQ
5
4
3
2
1
PFIG
5
4
3
2
1
SKOR
5
4
3
2
1
BSCQ
5
4
3
2
1
BSCN
5
4
3
2
1
BSCO
5
4
3
2
1
IBDO
5
4
3
2
1
IBDP
5
4
3
2
1
IBCE
5
4
3
2
1
IBDD
5
4
3
2
1
IBD
5
4
3
2
1
IBDS
5
4
3
2
1

This measurement shows how easy it is to trade 25,000 shares of each ETF.

ETF.com Fit Insight

Even though the investment-grade intermediate-term corporate bond segment is home to 19 ETFs, but only five ETFs—ITR, CIU, PFIG, VCIT, and SKOR—try to capture the broad market.The 19 ETFs hold very different portfolios, by design. The rest of the segment is populated with target date funds.
ITR comes the closest in mimicking the market with just over 1,300 holdings. CIU allocates more than 15% of its portfolio to supranational, foreign agency and foreign government debt, areas excluded by our benchmark. PFIG only holds debt issued by companies with strong fundamentals, and weights holdings based on issuer strength. The last fund, VCIT, is a plain-vanilla fund that only holds debt with 5-10 years to maturity.
Of the broad market products, VCIT, unsurprisingly, has the longest maturity and duration as well as the highest yield: Its 3.1% YTM, easily trumping ITR, CIU, PFIG, snf SKOR. CIU and ITR each allocate more than 50% of their portfolios to bonds expiring in less than 5 years, and PFIG allocates about 44% to the shorter-term market that VCIT excludes by rule. CIU overweights bonds rated AAA. PFIG heavily overweights industrial debt and excludes utilities. CIU also underweights industrials to make room for its foreign and supranational debt.
The key difference between the two groups of target-maturity funds is selection and inclusion. The BulletShares suite pulls from all sectors, and use callable bonds to achieve their various maturities. The ex-financial iBonds suite excludes financial debt, and have a bias to higher-quality credit. They exclusively hold bonds expiring in the year of their stated maturities. The most obvious impact of their target maturities is on their weighted average maturities, yields and effective duration. The highest maturities, yields and durations go along with the furthest target years, though the maturity and duration of each fund will decrease over time as their target dates approach. These target-date funds can be used as building blocks for an income ladder. (Insight updated 09/22/17)

All Funds (25)

97
96.948469
94
93.60148
92
91.557554
87
86.753331
85
84.914711
83
83.371638
77
77.430192
77
77.004391
77
76.803766
76
76.267849
75
75.004203
74
74.43511
74
74.240346
74
74.011584
73
73.479775
73
72.560542
71
70.889116
70
69.967354
69
69.124795
68
67.535486
65
65.088187
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0
N/A
0

ETF.com Grade as 09/14/17

Fixed Income: U.S. - Corporate Investment Grade Intermediate