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December 28, 2023

CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund

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Celebrating five years of our alternative fixed income solution

In November 2023, CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund reached an important milestone. Having celebrated its five-year anniversary, the fund now has a track record lengthy enough to demonstrate a streak of consistent positive total returns. Given the trend of more Baby Boomers transitioning to partial or full retirement, the desire for a reliable and steady income stream is greater than ever.

We’re pleased with how the fund has performed over the past five years, but before we dive into the numbers, let’s take a look at what this fund is all about and which type of investor it may appeal to.

What is CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund?

The fund is an alternative fixed income strategy focused on enhancing yield relative to conventional fixed income solutions. By maintaining low duration and default risk, as well as low correlation to traditional equity and fixed income markets, the fund may help reduce portfolio volatility. It aims to generate consistent positive total returns with an emphasis on capital preservation, utilizing tools like leverage, short-selling and derivatives to capitalize on opportunities unavailable in traditional fixed income mandates.

What type of investor might want to consider this fund?

If you’re looking for an income solution with the potential for long-term capital appreciation, and you have the ability to tolerate a low-to-medium level of risk, consider CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund. We believe this fund may also be suitable for fixed income investors who seek:

  • To reduce sensitivity to fluctuations in interest rates
  • Exposure to global investment-grade credit and active credit trading strategies
  • Consistent returns (i.e., less volatility) over the course of a market cycle
  • An investment that, when circumstances are appropriate, can employ borrowing, short-selling, leverage and derivative strategies, either to maximize returns or mitigate negative returns

A look under the hood

It’s often true that a picture is worth a thousand words, and that “the proof is in the numbers.” In keeping with that spirit, let’s consider some key metrics to see how the fund has fared over its first five years.

  • Performance relative to the benchmark index. As you can see in the following chart, the fund’s annual total returns compare favourably with its benchmark.

Trailing Performance

CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund4.8%5.2%0.7%1.2%2.0%2.6%2.5%
FTSE Canada All Corporate Bond Total Return Index (benchmark)4.9%3.9%-2.0%-2.0%0.2%2.1%2.1%
+/- benchmark-0.1%1.4%2.7%3.2%1.8%0.6%0.4%

Source: Morningstar Research Inc., Bloomberg Finance L.P., as at November 30, 2023. *Common inception (C.I.) on Nov. 7, 2018.

  • Performance versus major fixed income ETFs. In addition to strong annual returns relative to the benchmark index, this fund has outperformed its well-known core fixed income ETF competitors.

Trailing performance since inception

line graph, Strong Since-Inception Performance vs. Core Fixed income ETFs

 YTD1 Year2 Years3 Years4 Years5 YearsSince Common Inception
Cl Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund Series F
iShares Core Canadian Corporate Bond Index ETF (XCB)4.8%3.8%-2.1%-2.2%0.0%1.8%1.8%
iShares Core Canadian Universe Bond Index ETF (XBB)3.1%1.4%-3.8%-3.9%-1.3%0.8%1.0%

Source: Morningstar Research Inc., as at November 30, 2023. Chart shows cumulative total returns on a weekly basis while table shows annualized total returns on a daily basis. Common inception is Nov. 7, 2018. XCB is used as a proxy for FTSE Canada All Corporate Bond Index, while XBB is used as a proxy for FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index.

  • Yield and standard deviation. As discussed earlier, the fund aims to enhance yield and lower volatility. The chart below illustrates how the fund generates attractive relative yield without taking excessive risk.

Yield and Standard Deviation since 2018.11.07

bar chart, Yield and Standard Deviation since 2018.11.07

Canadian Bond Universe = FTSE Canada Universe Bond Index; Passive Corporate Bonds = FTSE Canada All Corporate Bond Index; High Yield = ICE BofA U.S. High Yield Index. Sharpe Ratio uses FTSE Canada 91-Day T-bill as risk-free rate except for High Yield, which uses USD risk-free rate (Average 3-month US T-bill).

Source: Morningstar Research Inc., Bloomberg Finance L.P., as at November 30, 2023. Yield is yield to maturity for Canadian Bond Universe, Passive Corporate Bonds and CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund; yield to worst is for High Yield. Standard deviation is calculated using daily returns in base currency from Nov. 7, 2018, to Nov. 30, 2023.

A modern strategy for fixed income investors

As the focus on creating regular cash flow continues to grow, CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund may be a compelling solution for income-oriented investors looking for a different way to enhance returns while managing the level of risk. We designed the fund to take advantage of an attractive opportunity set presented by gaining access to a range of sophisticated, alternative fixed income securities that are typically unavailable to the average retail investor.

If you’re interested in learning more about whether CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund (Series F fund code: 4190) could be a good fit for the fixed income portion of your investment portfolio, please contact your advisor or visit our website for more information.

Glossary of Terms:

Correlation: A statistical measure of how two securities move in relation to one another. Positive correlation indicates similar movements, up or down, while negative correlation indicates opposite movements (when one rises, the other falls).

Derivatives: A financial security with a value that is reliant upon, or derived from, an underlying asset or group of assets. The derivative itself is a contract between two or more parties based upon the asset or assets. Its price is determined by fluctuations in the underlying asset.

Duration: A measure of the sensitivity of the price of a fixed income investment to a change in interest rates. Duration is expressed as number of years. The price of a bond with a longer duration would be expected to rise (fall) more than the price of a bond with lower duration when interest rates fall (rise).

Leverage: An investment strategy of using borrowed money - specifically, the use of various financial instruments or borrowed capital - to increase the potential return of an investment.

Sharpe Ratio: A risk-adjusted return measure calculated by using standard deviation and excess return to determine reward per unit of risk. The higher the Sharpe Ratio, the better the portfolio's historical risk-adjusted performance.

Short selling: When a portfolio manager believes a security will decline in price, they may decide to borrow and sell a given asset in the hope of being able to buy it back for a lesser price and return it to the lender at some future date.

Standard Deviation: A measure of risk in terms of the volatility of returns. It represents the historical level of volatility in returns over set periods. A lower standard deviation means the returns have historically been less volatile and vice-versa. Historical volatility may not be indicative of future volatility.

Volatility: Measures how much the price of a security, derivative, or index fluctuates. The most commonly used measure of volatility when it comes to investment funds is standard deviation.

Yield to maturity (YTM): The total expected return from a bond when it is held until maturity – including all interest, coupon payments, and premium or discount adjustments.

Yield to worst: a measure of the lowest possible yield that can be received on a bond with an early retirement provision.

About the Author

Jason Goddard

Jason Goddard

Vice President, Portfolio Manager – Fixed Income
CI Global Asset Management

Jason Goddard has more than 10 years of industry experience. He joined CI GAM in 2021 and is responsible for managing the CI Alternative Investment Grade Credit Fund, Canada’s first liquid alternative credit fund, which is an actively-managed strategy that invests in North American credits and utilizes non-traditional tools such as leverage, short-selling, and derivative overlays. Before joining CI GAM, Jason managed a Long/Short North American Credit Hedge Fund at another boutique Canadian asset manager. Prior to that, he managed a long-only portfolio consisting of Canadian credit, provincial, municipal, and federal bonds at Portico and Long/Short Credit and global macro hedge funds at Gluskin Sheff & Associates. Jason holds the CFA designation, an MBA (Finance) from Wilfred Laurier, and a Mechanical Engineering Degree from Queen’s University.


Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Please read the prospectus before investing. The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns net of fees and expenses payable by the fund (except for figures of one year or less, which are simple total returns) including changes in security value and reinvestment of all dividends/distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or optional charges or income taxes payable by any securityholder that would have reduced returns. Mutual funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently, and past performance may not be repeated.

This mutual fund is an alternative fund. It has the ability to invest in asset classes or use investment strategies that are not permitted for conventional mutual funds. The specific strategies that differentiate this fund from conventional mutual funds include increased use of derivatives for hedging and non-hedging purposes; increased ability to sell securities short; and the ability to borrow cash to use for investment purposes. While these strategies will be used in accordance with the fund’s investment objectives and strategies, during certain market conditions they may accelerate the pace at which your investment decreases in value.

This document is provided as a general source of information and should not be considered personal, legal, accounting, tax or investment advice, or construed as an endorsement or recommendation of any entity or security discussed. Every effort has been made to ensure that the material contained in this document is accurate at the time of publication. Market conditions may change which may impact the information contained in this document. All charts and illustrations in this document are for illustrative purposes only. They are not intended to predict or project investment results. Individuals should seek the advice of professionals, as appropriate, regarding any particular investment. Investors should consult their professional advisors prior to implementing any changes to their investment strategies.

The comparison presented is intended to illustrate the mutual fund’s historical performance as compared with the historical performance of widely quoted market indices or a weighted blend of widely quoted market indices or another investment fund. There are various important differences that may exist between the mutual fund and the stated indices or investment fund, that may affect the performance of each. The objectives and strategies of the mutual fund result in holdings that do not necessarily reflect the constituents of and their weights within the comparable indices or investment fund. Indices are unmanaged and their returns do not include any sales charges or fees. It is not possible to invest directly in market indices.

Certain statements contained in this communication are based in whole or in part on information provided by third parties and CI GAM has taken reasonable steps to ensure their accuracy. Market conditions may change which may impact the information contained in this document.

© 2023 Morningstar Research Inc. All Rights Reserved. The information contained herein: (1) is proprietary to Morningstar and/or its content providers; (2) may not be copied or distributed; and (3) is not warranted to be accurate, complete, or timely. Neither Morningstar nor its content providers are responsible for any damages or losses arising from any use of this information. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

CI Global Asset Management is a registered business name of CI Investments Inc. ©CI Investments Inc. 2023. All rights reserved. Published December 19, 2023.