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Municipal Bond Forum

FMSbonds, Inc.'s Bond Forum™ is an exclusive opportunity for investors to submit questions and comments on the bond market or to respond to one of our articles.

To participate, just send us an e-mail. Be sure to include your name or initials and your state of residence. Posted e-mails may be edited for length and clarity. If you prefer a private response, please note that in your e-mail. Responses are provided by James A. Klotz, president and co-founder of FMSbonds, Inc., a municipal bond specialist for more than 35 years; Dr. Jay H. Abrams, chief municipal credit analyst; and other members of the firm as noted.

Postings are listed by date. You may also view postings by topic using the search box below. If you have any questions, please call us at 1-800-FMS-BOND (367-2663) or e-mail us.

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Insured vs. uninsured Puerto Rico bonds


With regard to the fiscal situation in Puerto Rico, do you believe there will be any difference between Puerto Rico municipal bonds that are insured and those that are not?


- J.P.
James A. Klotz responds

Municipal market participants apply a clear and distinct premium to the value of insured Puerto Rico bonds.

The rating agencies have recently affirmed the ability of Assured Guaranty (AGM) and National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation to cover any claims arising from the default or restructuring of any Puerto Rico governmental entity.


Puerto Rico question marks


Regarding your article, “Moody's Downgrades Puerto Rico G.O. Debt”: Obviously the new law and downgrades are jolts to investment sanity after recent ups and downs. Puerto Rico has no revenue upside, their society has too many entitlements, etc. Do you envision them stopping payments on certain bonds or defaulting?


- R.B., Arkansas
James A. Klotz responds

It is very difficult to give you a definitive answer to your question.

The most likely scenario, in our opinion, would be a restructuring of one or more of the public companies to protect the General Obligation bonds.

It is encouraging that Moody's has just affirmed Assured Guaranty's rating.


Wait And Watch?


Regarding your article Eye-Popping Yields Are Right Under Your Nose: Waiting and watching is exactly what to do. Rates will revert to the mean and many municipalities that are in debt may default. So unless the bonds are insured by a reliable insurance company, this is no time to put money in munis.

- M.E., New York
James A. Klotz responds

We can’t help but wonder how long you have been waiting and watching. Most economists have been calling for higher interest rates for at least the past five years.

If you do the math, you will probably find that interest rates must rise to unrealistic heights to make up for the income investors have already sacrificed by waiting. The cost of waiting can be more substantial than most realize, and rates might stay low far longer than you think.

Although defaults in the muni market make up less than 1% of total issuance, we certainly have no quarrel with buying higher rated, insured bonds for an extra degree of security.


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This report is produced solely for informational purposes and is not to be construed as a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any securities or related financial instruments. This report is based on information obtained from sources believed to be reliable but no independent verification has been made, nor is its accuracy or completeness guaranteed.