Harbor Convertible Securities Fund Institutional Class (HACSX)

Investment Strategy

Under normal market conditions, the Fund invests at least 80% of its net assets, plus borrowings for investment purposes, in a diversified portfolio of convertible securities. While the Fund's portfolio consists primarily of convertible securities of U.S. issuers, it may, from time to time, include non-convertible corporate debt, non-U.S. dollar-denominated securities, convertible securities of foreign issuers, synthetic convertibles or common stock of issuers. In addition, the Subadviser may, from time to time and subject to market conditions, utilize macro hedging techniques. However, it is not the Subadviser's intention to normally hedge on a security-specific basis.

Convertible securities are "hybrid" securities that possess both fixed income and equity characteristics. These convertible securities include corporate bonds, preferred stocks and other types of securities that are convertible into common stock or its equivalent value. A convertible security generally performs more like a common stock when the price of the underlying stock is closer to or above the conversion price because it is more likely that the convertible security will be converted into stock. A convertible security generally performs more like a bond when the price of the underlying stock is well below the conversion price because it is more likely that the convertible security will mature without being converted. While the Fund has broad discretion to invest in all types of convertible securities, the Fund focuses primarily on investments in convertible bonds. The Fund also focuses primarily on convertible securities of corporate issuers with debt rated below investment-grade (below Baa3 by Moody's or below BBB- by S&P or Fitch), commonly referred to as "high-yield" or "junk" bonds. As a result, all, or substantially all, of the Fund's assets may be invested in below investment-grade rated securities. The Fund invests primarily in U.S. dollar denominated securities; however, the Fund may invest in securities denominated in other currencies.

The Subadviser seeks to maximize portfolio return and minimize default risk by generally adhering to the following elements of its philosophy when selecting securities for investment:

  • Bottom-up, fundamental analysis
  • Broad diversification
  • Direct communication with management
  • Monitoring issuers on a systematic basis
  • Credit committee disciplined approach
  • Comprehensive reporting and risk control systems

The Subadviser conducts in-depth analysis using proprietary research tools in addition to communicating with management of the issuers to select securities for investment in the Fund and to monitor the selected securities on a systematic basis. The Subadviser seeks to select securities issued by companies that generally exhibit or are believed by the Subadviser to have the prospect for, positive credit momentum with the potential for credit rating upgrade and/or equity appreciation. The Subadviser may consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors that might impact a company's future prospects, operating performance, or valuation. In addition to considering company fundamentals, the Subadviser also considers a range of more technical factors related to the convertible nature of these securities, including:

  • The optimal entry point to acquire the company's convertible securities based upon the relationship between the underlying equity and bond valuations and convertible security price
  • Determining the catalysts for growth on the equity side of the company's balance sheet relative to the resiliency of bond valuations if the company's equity valuations were to decline
  • Assessing the volatility of the underlying common stock and its relationship with the price of the convertible security
  • Determining whether there is sufficient liquidity to support purchase and sale activity
  • Assessing the historical relationship between the price of the convertible security and the Subadviser's view of the security's implied value
  • Assessing/monitoring the positive risk/reward characteristics of the convertible security versus the movements (up/down) in the price of the underlying equity
  • Assessing the potential for risk/volatility by first identifying the "bond floor" (the price of the convertible security if valued solely based on the underlying bond price) as the main convertible component

The Subadviser tends to acquire convertible securities that have valuations more closely aligned with a company's bonds than common stock. The Subadviser believes this approach can provide greater downside protection for the Fund's portfolio, although at the expense of potentially greater appreciation that can come with holding convertible securities whose price is more dependent upon the price of the underlying common stock.

All securities in the portfolio are typically reviewed at least four times a year. As part of the selection and monitoring process, the Subadviser actively seeks to avoid holding securities of issuers that it deems to have a high risk of default.

Duration/Maturity. Although duration may be one of the characteristics considered in securities selection, the Fund does not focus on securities with any duration or maturity and does not seek to maintain the maturity of the Fund's portfolio in any particular range. The weighted average maturity of the Fund's portfolio was 4.1 years as of December 31, 2018.

Risks

Convertible securities generally tend to be of lower credit quality and the value of a convertible security generally increases and decreases with the value of the underlying common stock, but may also be sensitive to changes in interest rates. As interest rates rise, the values of convertible securities held by the Fund are likely to decrease and reduce the value of the Fund's portfolio. Credit risk is higher for the Fund because it invests primarily in convertible securities of companies with debt rated below investment grade. High yield investing poses additional credit risk related to lower-rated bonds.