Back to top

Image: Bigstock

Is USIBX a Strong Bond Fund Right Now?

Read MoreHide Full Article

If you've been stuck searching for Investment Grade Bond - Intermediate funds, consider USAA Intermediate-Term Bond Fund (USIBX - Free Report) as a possibility. USIBX holds a Zacks Mutual Fund Rank of 1 (Strong Buy), which is based on various forecasting factors like size, cost, and past performance.


We note that USIBX is an Investment Grade Bond - Intermediate option, which is a segment loaded with many different investment options. By targeting bonds that mature in more than three years but less than 15 years, Investment Grade Bond - Intermediate funds are a middle of the curve option. Fixed income instruments at this maturity level usually have medium duration risk, but their yields are respectable, especially in comparison to their short-maturity counterparts. Additionally, a focus on investment grade makes these funds safer, but yields tend to be lower than in the junk bond category.

History of Fund/Manager

Victory is based in Columbus, OH, and is the manager of USIBX. The USAA Intermediate-Term Bond Fund made its debut in August of 1999 and USIBX has managed to accumulate roughly $1.41 billion in assets, as of the most recently available information. The fund's current manager is a team of investment professionals.


Obviously, what investors are looking for in these funds is strong performance relative to their peers. USIBX has a 5-year annualized total return of 1.39% and it sits in the top third among its category peers. But if you are looking for a shorter time frame, it is also worth looking at its 3-year annualized total return of -2.28%, which places it in the top third during this time-frame.

It is important to note that the product's returns may not reflect all its expenses. Any fees not reflected would lower the returns. Total returns do not reflect the fund's [%] sale charge. If sales charges were included, total returns would have been lower.

When looking at a fund's performance, it is also important to note the standard deviation of the returns. The lower the standard deviation, the less volatility the fund experiences. USIBX's standard deviation over the past three years is 6.85% compared to the category average of 12.83%. Over the past 5 years, the standard deviation of the fund is 6.94% compared to the category average of 13.5%. This makes the fund less volatile than its peers over the past half-decade.

This fund has a beta of 0.87, meaning that it is less volatile than a broad market index of fixed income securities. Taking this into account, USIBX has a positive alpha of 1.54, which measures performance on a risk-adjusted basis.


Investors should also consider a bond's rating, which is a grade ( 'AAA' to 'D' ) given to a bond that indicates its credit quality. With this letter scale in mind, USIBX has 45.25% in high quality bonds rated at least 'AA' or higher, while 47.85% are of medium quality, with ratings of 'A' to 'BBB'. The fund has an average quality of A, and focuses on high quality securities.


As competition heats up in the mutual fund market, costs become increasingly important. Compared to its otherwise identical counterpart, a low-cost product will be an outperformer, all other things being equal. Thus, taking a closer look at cost-related metrics is vital for investors. In terms of fees, USIBX is a no load fund. It has an expense ratio of 0.66% compared to the category average of 0.89%. From a cost perspective, USIBX is actually cheaper than its peers.

Investors need to be aware that with this product, the minimum initial investment is $3,000; each subsequent investment needs to be at least $50.

Fees charged by investment advisors have not been taken into considiration. Returns would be less if those were included.

Bottom Line

Overall, USAA Intermediate-Term Bond Fund ( USIBX ) has a high Zacks Mutual Fund rank, and in conjunction with its comparatively strong performance, better downside risk, and lower fees, this fund looks like a good potential choice for investors right now.

This could just be the start of your research on USIBXin the Investment Grade Bond - Intermediate category. Consider going to for additional information about this fund, and all the others that we rank as well for additional information. And don't forget, Zacks has all of your needs covered on the equity side too! Make sure to check out for more information on our screening capabilities, Rank, and all our articles as well.

See More Zacks Research for These Tickers

Normally $25 each - click below to receive one report FREE:


Published in