No. of Recommendations: 0
Stas,

In terms of execution, the combo of Treasury Direct and Fidelity is as much as you need. You're not going to get lower commissions costs --or much better bond prices-- anywhere else. Plus, Fidelity's breadth of product is better than IB's, who doesn't offer agencies, multi-steps corporates, or convertible bonds. In terms of analysis, Fido is difficult to deal with --as is Schwab-- for having clunky, bond-search engines compared to E*Trade, especially for junk bonds.

In part, that's due to my long familiarity with E*Trade's platform, and in part it's due to how I look for bonds, which involves dumping the output of a scan into a spreadsheet, discounting as many as 500 bonds at a time for the impact of taxes and inflation, and then doing comparatives among the several best opportunities which then have to be vetted by digging through the issuer's financials, pulling the Moody's report, looking at what the stock analysts are saying, the trading history of the bond, etc.

This is way more work than the "average" bond investor is willing to do, but it helps me to (mostly) stay out of avoidable trouble, as well as push the risk boundaries in terms of achieved total yields. In other words, I buy a lot more junk than most bond investors are comfortable with and need to be a lot more careful about both security selection and position sizing.

Arindam
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