Income, Income, Income!

Chief Investment Officer – Model Portfolios

This article is relevant to financial professionals who are considering offering Model Portfolios to their clients. If you are an individual investor interested in WisdomTree ETF Model Portfolios, please inquire with your financial professional. Not all financial professionals have access to these Model Portfolios.

“Well, all I hear all day long at school is how great Marcia is at this or how wonderful Marcia did that…Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!”

(Eve Plumb as Jan Brady on “The Brady Bunch,” 1971)

We last looked at our income Model Portfolios in March. At that point in time, the 10-Year U.S. Treasury yield had finally reached the S&P 500 dividend yield for the first time in more than a year. Here we are, two to three months later, and every client or prospect we have is asking about generating risk-controlled yield in the current market environment. In response, we recently launched HYIN, our alternative credit ETF.

But we also offer several yield-oriented Model Portfolios, specifically our Global Dividend, Global Multi-Asset Income and Siegel-WisdomTree Longevity models. Given our current yield-starved market regime, let’s check in with them. Financial professionals can find details on all these models via our Model Adoption Center (“MAC”).

Rates and Credit Spreads

Let’s start with rates and credit spreads. After rising sharply over the first two to three months of the year, U.S. interest rates have stabilized over the past several weeks.

Figure 1_UST Performance

We continue to believe that rates will “grind higher” as the economy improves, but the rapid increases we saw earlier in the year appear to have abated, for now.

At the same time, credit spreads continue to “grind tighter” and trade at the “tights” of their pre-pandemic ranges.

Figure 2_US corporate spread

So where does that leave us? Because of aggressive price appreciation in the stock market, dividend yields have also fallen. Using the above indicated Treasury rates and “OAS” credit spreads as a “sample” outcome, here are indicative yields available in the equity and credit markets:

Figure 3_Current Yield 

Not much to go on for income-focused investors. Many corporations are reinitiating or increasing their dividends and stock buybacks following the pandemic-induced cutbacks, so the yield from equities may improve over the course of the year.

We also think corporate balance sheets are in good shape, so default rates should be reasonably low, and investors can probably feel safe about their coupons. 

But the total return picture for fixed income is not great, and we certainly would not recommend “stretching for yield” by taking on excessive duration or credit exposure. That defeats one of the primary purposes for owning bonds to begin with—to hedge equity risk.

WisdomTree Income-Focused Model Portfolios

Many of the WisdomTree products have a yield or income “factor tilt” associated with them. Income generation is one of “our lanes” from an investment perspective.

We have three publicly available Model Portfolios designed specifically to optimize current income in a risk-controlled manner: Global Dividends, Global Multi-Asset Income and Siegel-WisdomTree Longevity. In each of these, we focus on yield-producing equity investments versus taking excessive risk in our fixed income allocations. Here are how the yields on those portfolios stack up versus more “traditional” models, as of March 31, 2021.

For standardized performance of model portfolios in the table, please click the respective model: Siegel WisdomTree Model Portfolio, WisdomTree Global Dividend Model Portfolio, WisdomTree Global Multi-Asset Income Model Portfolio.



In an income-starved world, there is no free lunch. If you want to generate current income, you must take risk. But we continue to believe the better way to do so is by seeking to generate income via the equity market, and not by taking excessive duration or credit risk.

Our income-focused Model Portfolios are designed for exactly this purpose—“Income, Income, Income!”—but without the teenage angst Jan Brady experienced all those years ago. 

Important Risks Related to this Article

WisdomTree Model Portfolio information is designed to be used by financial advisors solely as an educational resource, along with other potential resources advisors may consider, in providing services to their end clients. WisdomTree’s Model Portfolios and related content are for information only and are not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal, accounting, investment or financial planning advice by WisdomTree, nor should any WisdomTree Model Portfolio information be considered or relied upon as investment advice or as a recommendation from WisdomTree, including regarding the use or suitability of any WisdomTree Model Portfolio, any particular security or any particular strategy. In providing WisdomTree Model Portfolio information, WisdomTree is not acting and has not agreed to act in an investment advisory, fiduciary or quasi-fiduciary capacity to any advisor or end client, and has no responsibility in connection therewith, and is not providing individualized investment advice to any advisor or end client, including based on or tailored to the circumstance of any advisor or end client. The Model Portfolio information is provided “as is,” without warranty of any kind, express or implied. WisdomTree is not responsible for determining the securities to be purchased, held and/or sold for any advisor or end client accounts, nor is WisdomTree responsible for determining the suitability or appropriateness of a Model Portfolio or any securities included therein for any third party, including end clients. Advisors are solely responsible for making investment recommendations and/or decisions with respect to an end client and should consider the end client’s individual financial circumstances, investment time frame, risk tolerance level and investment goals in determining the appropriateness of a particular investment or strategy, without input from WisdomTree. WisdomTree does not have investment discretion and does not place trade orders for any end client accounts. Information and other marketing materials provided to you by WisdomTree concerning a Model Portfolio—including allocations, performance and other characteristics—may not be indicative of an end client’s actual experience from investing in one or more of the funds included in a Model Portfolio. Using an asset allocation strategy does not ensure a profit or protect against loss, and diversification does not eliminate the risk of experiencing investment losses. There is no assurance that investing in accordance with a Model Portfolio’s allocations will provide positive performance over any period. Any content or information included in or related to a WisdomTree Model Portfolio, including descriptions, allocations, data, fund details and disclosures, are subject to change and may not be altered by an advisor or other third party in any way.

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About the Contributor
Chief Investment Officer – Model Portfolios
Scott Welch is the CIO of Model Portfolios at WisdomTree Asset Management, a provider of factor-based ETFs and differentiated model portfolio solutions. In this capacity he oversees the creation and ongoing management of the WisdomTree model portfolio solution set. He is also a member of the WisdomTree Asset Allocation and Investment Committees. Prior to joining WisdomTree, Scott was the Chief Investment Officer of Dynasty Financial Partners, a provider of outsourced investment research, portfolio management, technology, and practice management solutions to RIAs and advisory teams making the move to independence. He remains an outside member of the Dynasty Investment Committee.  He sits on the Board of Directors of IWI, the Advisory Board of the ABA Wealth Management & Trust Conference, and the Editorial Advisory Boards of the Journal of Wealth Management and the IWI Investments & Wealth Monitor. Scott earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from the University of California at Irvine and an MBA with a concentration in Finance from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.