Convertible bonds have “bonds” in their name but in reality they are complicated corporate securities with risk characteristics that often have little to do with straight bonds. Are they more like stocks or bonds? And how can investors evaluate and model them?

In today’s convertible bond market, the key driver of returns relates to the value of the underlying equity. In contrast, bond market exposure (in the form of yield curve and spread risk) has played a relatively minor role in driving convertible bond risk and return in the recent past and seems likely to play a minor role in the year ahead, based on our model.

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