Sock Drawer Discussion

The intent of this area is to include items that all of us consider “sock drawer” holdings.

My definition of “sock drawer” is those issues I own that I consider extremely safe and don’t have to be watched to closely. Normally they would have more modest coupons, but you can sleep well at night (relative to safety)–you know the income stream is extremely safe, althought the share price may move around quite a bit.

Others may have their own definition–in fact I know they do–that is fine

For instance, I have held the Tricontinental 5.00% preferred (TY- or TY-P) issue for years and years. Tricontinental is a closed end fund managed by Columbia Threadneedle. TY was formed in 1929 and this small amount of preferred stock is the only leverage the fund uses–2.2% leverage. Because it is a CEF they must maintain a 200% asset coverage on the preferred stock–the last time I calculated the coverage it was over 4000%. This is a $50/share issue and last traded at $54.66. The issue is callable anytime at $55/share. Shares were issued in 1963.

345 thoughts on “Sock Drawer Discussion”

  1. Picked up TY-P for under $51 yesterday. Only a very small nibble as I feel like I’m going to have better buying opportunities in the future, but it hasn’t been this low in quite some time. My next nibble will be at $48

  2. SJIJ baby bonds. Company going private what would be a concern of continueing to own this one?

    1. David, we have info here somewhere but I cant direct you to it. Largely the risk is, you buy it, you swallow it, and its staying in your belly until you die. They have already declared the issue will be delisted and deregistered. That is a flag that you have to base case assume its going to experts market and wont get an honorable exit price ever….Or it is completely untradeable,ala, WTREP, and you are an owner of private debt with no recourse to sell at all,until it matures 50 plus years from now.
      I have toed in a few and want 8% before I start getting a small mouth bite of this. But Im cool with size I will buy to hold as an unsaleable annuity. Of course the acquisition has to be approved though, but market isnt taking that chance it doesnt happen.

  3. The ole sock drawer area might need some more posting action soon. What are people wanting now days to consider it sock drawer yield and quality?

    MET-A yielding 4.5% without even considering the libor bump?
    DUK-A getting closer to par?
    Some PSA-x/USB-x?
    JPM-K paying basically 5.75%?

    Seems to me when IG is getting close to 6% in some cases it is time to start making a list and checking it twice! Any comments are welcome for ideas.

    1. A number of bank preferreds getting close to 6%. I started inching in and will gradually add as the divvies rise. Switching my taxable account out of Unqualified Dividends.

    2. Fc, I have been hugging mostly the call anchored, term and adjustables. But what I am eyeing is those sub 5% issues that have been torched. I want them to drop a little more and maybe get in high teens. At that point I would give up a small bit of yield to have potential for a cap gain down the road possibly.

    3. fc, thanks for all your posts. You may have spotted the 5.75% yield for JPM-K in the “Sortable Sheet.” If I am not mistaken, and not considering accrual, it would have to drop to approx 19.78 to be 5.75%. So Sortable Sheet appears to be showing wrong yield for this one.
      Best regards, No. 12

      1. You are exactly correct I was using the sortable sheet and did not verify what I was posting was correct. Good catch. The calcs above was using a div of .30 instead of .284. JPM-K is yielding 5.44% with today’s price. Quite the difference!

        I am slowly buying and added some DUK-A and SR-A. I wanted to add some utes for their predictability and quality. I cant always be stretching for yield. I have no idea if either will be called in 2024.

      2. That “Sortable Sheet” may be more than just a sheet, it may be a forecaster of the future. What do you know, as of 4/22, just over a month later, JPM-K closed at exactly $19.78 for a 5.72% yield. Now, how low with it go? Maybe time to load “SS” once again 🙂

    4. I know it’s a month later, fc, but noticed today that MGR is just under par, yielding c 5.9%. Rated BBB- a/o past October. Not QDI, sadly.

  4. Bought FRC-H today. Trading below par, 5.125% and callable in June.

    Seems like a decent short term play. Worse case I am stuck with a 5+ Bank issue. Am I missing something?

    1. I’m curious what makes you consider this a possible short term play? Just because it becomes callable??? Is that why you’re suggesting it to be a possible short termer or is there more to it?

      1. No simply that it becomes callable and they have called every expiring preferred up until now I believe.

        I’m sure you can get a higher rate but with that always comes some risk even if it’s minor in the Bank space.

  5. Any thoughts on FTAI-B. Hit par today with an 8% yield. Callable Dec. 2024.
    Past financials don’t look good, but they were spending on large infrastructure projects. Some of those projects are completed, so there is a big spike in 2022 revenue and earnings.
    Thanks in advance for comments.

    1. Just bought 200 shares on the price drop and upcoming div. Don’t know enough about it to risk much more.

    2. It is one of the guaranteed use of capital partnership securities.
      So as long as you don’t mind getting a fairly simple K-1, the income stream should be fairly secure.

    3. I’ve owned it since 11/26/2019 and this is the only preferred I have which I watch like a hawk. As you say, earnings are not good, but changes may be underway. I subscribed to their news releases and they have won a few new aircraft maintenance contracts recently. If the price ran up a bit I’d sell it and sleep better. If earnings improve I’ll keep holding and worry less. I have a small stake (1.4%) but it still concerns me. The yield is too good to dismiss, but the company is not on stable ground. It’s certainly not in my sock drawer…

      1. Bruce–FTAI is a B Riley deal–they have done so many marginal financial deals that I stay away from their junk.

        1. I never said FTAI was a sock drawer stock! On the contrary, I said it was NOT in my sock drawer. Please read the thread I posted in, (started 2/8/22), which I was following up on.

          This is the only problem with reading comments via RSS- you lose context.

  6. With the recent drop in prices I am wondering what folks are buying in the “Sock Drawer” – i.e buy and hold category these days? I am looking at the Bank preferreds in the 4.25 – 4.75 coupon area myself.

    1. some bank preferreds are approaching 5.5% yield. I’m holding out for at least that much before nibbling now.

    2. Bill W, I bought a couple jpm’s recently and a investment grade no leverage closed end fund NXP. today I added GDV-k @23.39 really big volume after this am. This is about as safe as a cumulative qualified div. comes to bad it’s only 4.54% ,but that takes me to the house.

      1. I bought quite a bit of the JPM/K when it hit around 4.8-4.9%. Happy to just forget about this one. If it heads over 5 I’ll buy more.

        1. WFC-L, 7.5% coupon. Some downside risk like everything in a rising rate environment. Yield around 5.4% (it’s a busted convertible and can’t convert unless Wells common gets to about $203, in which case the world is ending). It’s a $1000 issue trading at around $1400, but the price doesn’t matter if the yield is satisfactory (noncallable!). The only fly in the ointment is that it’s non-cumulative.

          1. Already had some BAC-L. Looking to add WFC-L after further drops. Patience is the key. If this is the bottom then all my other issues will be doing fine.

            1. A small bank with an unusual preferred (FIISO). Very thinly traded. Non callable and cumulative with an 8.48% coupon. Can buy with a yield of about 5.5% the few times it’s available. Is this “Sock Drawer?” It’s not rated but the bank (Five Star Bank) seems well run and solvent (as are all banks when times are good). May meet all of you criteria other than investment grade. This issue was part of a TARP settlement with the FDIC back in 2008 or so. But, it seems secure.

              1. OldmanRb,

                I was this close to calling Ally and buying it but I have no wish to overpay in this env. I have a GTC bid of 145 sitting there for months and after thinking it through I think it should be lowered to 135. I passed on it.

                It is definitely sock drawer material but I don’t feel like seeing 300 shares being sold 3 months from now for 130. On top of that there might be more liquid choices coming up with a 5.5% yield. Can’t hurt to be slightly more mainstream now days even if you never plan to sell.

                1. FC, FWIW I agree with you. I bought 300 of this at $92 several several years ago and could have bought 500, but screwed up. Sold at $150 a couple years ago. The best time to buy these at this current yield is when market expectations are for lower yield and you are wanting to hang onto the yield you have without a call taking it away from you.
                  This issue is largely owned by one of the founding families. The bank gets rumors every now and then of someone wanting it. Though the issue is uncallable, I dont know if that extends to a takeover from another company if that ever would happen.

                  1. As an aside on this, this was issued by the holding company and not the bank, so it is cumulative, unlike practically every other bank preferred.

                    1. Actually the reason its cumulative is it is grandfathered Tier 1 capital as it was issued in 1990s when this was allowed. This was genesis capital from the banks creation. This is because its under that $15 billion or whatever it is now threshold. That allows grandfathered status. But I assume it would just have shifted to tier 2 cummulative unless terms dictated a change clause. I have only seen smatterings of the issues guidelines, so I dont have clear answers of any change of control or tax implication changes.
                      A nice issue would love to own again around $125 which means I wont, ha.

  7. FLC trading at 6 month lows with 3x of avg volume. Do not see any news so perhaps some big investor or fund trying to exit for year end tax loss / re-balancing.

    Not quite a stock but a good actively managed CEF holding preferred shares with over 6.7% yield past few months and trading at relatively lower premium for FLC

  8. AATRL – anyone know what’s up with it? I was trading it but eTrade is “warning” me about it now. And, I get no bid/ask quote. Ideas? I have a few shares left but am wondering if I should sell them or just leave them be at this point.

    1. I can’t find any news on it. I entered a test trade for 10 shares offered at 62 at Vanguard and the order went through without any warning, although no bid/ask showing.

  9. WFC-L the busted non-callable Preferred making new high today. Still yields 4.88% at current $1545-ish price, so still attractive for some but I see more downside risk than reward at these highs

    Sad, but selling some here and hope to buy it lower …

    1. MSquare, exactly my thinking.
      Great (or dumb?) minds think alike?
      I Had to sell some I bot @ $1318, and left open orders to sell more if higher and buy back some when lower. Things begin to not make sense to me anymore.
      Sell WFC PRL 10 Limit$1,544.00 Executed 7/14/2021 12:58 PM
      Sell WFC PRL 10 Limit$1,588.00 Open
      Buy WFC PRL 10 Limit$1,455.00 Open

      And like wfc-l, I have a few others that I know I should sell,…
      Notice also that the similar bac-l which used to trade quite in tandem with wfc-l, is now @ $1441 (yielding just > 5%), so I bot some of these to offset the increasing % of cash in my acct.

  10. The 20-year trend on a 10-year Treasury yield has steadily declined ( There have been periodic spikes but the trend line is clearly down. Early in the last decade the rate hovered between 3% and 3.5% and rarely approached this level since. Even when the Fed “tightened up,” increases in rates were short-lived and low in terms of absolute rate. Coupled with this is a national debt that’s increased to formerly unbelievable levels ( The key beneficiary of low rates is the U.S. Government. Significant spikes in rate will further increase debt, so there is a whole lot of self-interest in keeping rates low. Immersed in all of the Fed’s gobbledygook is the notion that we will make our debt far less appealing to buyers if the nation’s solvency deteriorates (a truism if ever there was one). A Catch 22! Higher rates should attract Treasury investors but higher rates could catapult our debt and materially injure the market for our “newly created” capital.

    My concern is that few of us recall owning preferreds, particularly “sock drawer” issues, in a high-interest rate environment. Over the past 10 years, part of my sock drawer holdings have been in the traditional, illiquid utility utes, mostly from Ameren, Connecticut Light and Gas, Pacificorp, Etc. I’ve been content slowly accumulating positions a few shares at a time with an overall “illiquid portfolio yield” of between 4.9 and 5%. Like most, I own these issues to supplement a reliable income stream. I can tolerate a correction in pricing because my income won’t suffer. Nevertheless, I’m wondering about the level of pain likely to be inflicted if the 10-year went to 4 or above and stayed there. Rates are beginning to rise and I ask myself the question: Will this time be different? Could my sock drawer portfolio value suffer a 40%, 50% loss? Most of my ute illiquids have been around for more than 50 years, so I’ve looked at pricing from long ago. It wasn’t pretty, with some issues now trading between 100 and 110 getting into the 70s. Is that apt to happen again with a real spike in rates? Common sense would say yes. But, with the permanency and reliability of the illiquid utes, something that may not have been fully understood 40 or 50 years ago, I think there’s a possibility that they (particularly those not subject to redemption) will hold up much better in a higher rate environment than do more traditional preferreds . I’d like to hear readers’ thoughts about this. My comments about what might happen are purely speculative. Thanks.

    1. OM – I believe that in the long run the math wins. If rates were to go high and stay high you can see low coupon sock drawer issues go to the teens. The income as you point out won’t change but if you have a mark-to-market mentality it can be bothersome to see values decline.

      And if rates go low and stay low more of the “uncallables” will get called. Assuming, of course, they are callable. My fingers are still singed from AILLL and I have unloaded some sock drawer issues that were past call and trading a year plus over redemption.

  11. In the spirit of the sock drawer today I bought some SCE-L, 5% coupon, trading below par and with a call date of 9/22. A tick below investment grade but I believe a pretty safe place to park cash for a bit.

      1. Good point on the G. Nothing would make me happier than a qualified 5% for longer period. If it hangs under par for awhile longer I may up my stake.

    1. It did dip to over $1.55 (6Q worth of dividends) in end-March not that long ago. So not exactly a good ‘sock drawer’ ?

  12. A simple question on IPLDP. I was airing out the sock drawer today. Why are these considered socks when the call date is 2018? What normally happens to these type issues? Even if they are socks, we still have to look out for another issuance at a lower rate for possible redemption?

    (I scooped up a few handfuls during the last interest rate spike, wondering if I should continue to do so…)

    1. Hster. About a month ago, someone posted here that IPLDP was getting close to par on a selloff. I bought a ton, and was happy to put it in my sock drawer. I looked at the price today, and was shocked, I let them all go today for $26.40. Very big capital gain. I let my STL-A all go today as well. That one is not a sock drawer issue… but i bought that a month ago at $25.50, and have sold all of them this week and last week for $26.60. Im building up too much cash. Lots of high flyers and lots of cap gains in the last few months.

      1. Dear Lord another forced name change. The tickers of Indianapolis Power and Light wont change, but now they are called AES Indiana now. Kind of odd since AES doesnt even own 100% of IPALCO anymore as they sold about 20% of the shares off a few years ago.
        Seems like “Power and Light” is another politically incorrect term added to the long list.

          1. Howdy stranger! Glad to see you finally paid the electric bill that was in arrears so you can plug back into the grid and post again! 🙂
            I tell you what Azure, its tough out there now. If they would allow unlimited IBond purchases this year, all my jack would be in them and there would be nothing to discuss! You arent going to disappear again for 2 years are you?

            1. I truly have been extremely busy in my early retirement. I just sold a few of my properties and businesses just before the end of the year to lock in the capital gains taxes for 2021. I’m sure with our fools in Washington pushing us past $30+ trillion of debt all of our taxes will be going much higher. Truly have missed you all and hopefully you will all welcome me back into this brilliant and helpful community again ⭐️⭐️🥇⭐️⭐️

            2. BTW, I’m guessing you still own our little Phoenix? I keep hoping they will call it, but am happy to take their quarterly distribution another 10 years 💎

              1. Ha, yes I still do! I guess I have had it 5-6 years by now. At this point being its private and an insurer which makes truly understanding the financials impossible, I dont even think about it until the quarterly interest payment shows up. And I hope it does until maturity early next decade!

                  1. Insurance companies know where every dime is allocated. I’m always surprised that they wouldn’t call a $300MM bond and refi at a better rate. I’m happy to hold as it’s so far under par and collect the quarterly distribution. Viva La Phoenix 🥳

      2. Mr. Conservative, Congratulations on being on the winning end. I myself being a more retentive sort can’t seem to take the gains and run even at $26.50 as I don’t see a better place to store that cash.

        1. i continue to sell. I sold 6,000 shares of MNR-C today. It should be called this Fall, and there is not much meat left to make on it if held to a potential call. Maybe .15. This is another one i wanted to hold, and bought much of it under par, and large gain. I will be upping my qrtly estimate payments with uncle sam, as i am well over 6 figures this year and it is only April. But… i think I am getting close to 40% in cash. eeeh. I like to be fully invested, and I dont feel good about sitting in a lot of cash.

          1. Mr. C – See this is what I don’t get about what you’re saying….. You’re saying you’re close to 40% cash and you don’t like it, but you sold MNR-C anyway… Where do you stash your cash???? If you believe MNR-C is going to be called on Sept 15 as I do too and you sold today at let’s say 25.61, that means holding instead of selling would be the equivalent of having your cash earning 1.5% give or take instead of moving it over to truly earning nothing in cash? If you believe in the call, then you also figure the price will not fluctuate much between now and then and will gradually appreciate toward the next x-div date, so why not just keep it until you’ve identified that vehicle that will make you get over your bad feeling about sitting in a lot of cash… Having said that, admittedly, 1.5% YTC is pretty stingy even for a sitch like this, so thanks for mentioning it…. If nothing else, it is time to at least put a throwaway sell order out there at a near 0% YTC…. BTW, I’m always sitting on way too much cash so that’s why I ask the question as to your rationale for selling instead of holding until you’ve found the alternative you’re looking for.

            1. 2wr. Everything I bought in the Fall all the way through Feb just went through the roof.

              It does seem like every once-in-awhile an opportunity comes up however for a need for cash. Since I am way up for the year, I think i can sit with patience and wait for rebalancing, or false calls, etc.. Ex. I threw some money at the dip in ET-x preferreds the other day. If I was fully invested in things like MNR-C where I already have some gains and very little left to gain, I could earn more by these opportunities. That is a 9% return in a week. It seems like the dips that are pointed out here and other places, it has been very worth while to use the cash for that.

              This weekend I will research more on pinned to par issues and re-invest more. I guess I have been selling 2-3 times more than buying. It is not like I am not buying at all. I have done some buying… I bought some SESCF, AFINO, STAR-I, UEPEP, PRIF-B, ET-E based on all the discussion here. I was a lot more in cash :-).

        2. A few that I still sit on with large gains is ET-E, ASRVP. I bought ET-E on the recent selloff to $23 and it is higher than ever. Picked up 7,000 shares and should have bought more. I could sell, and be close to my avg tax reporting for int, div, and gains for the year. I continue to hold on that one. ASRVP i picked up last spring in the covid sell off at a great price as well. Looking for pinned to par…

  13. PPWLM selling for $155 today, lowest price in months. Pacificorp, 7% coupon, not callable, 4.5% yield (looks good now; in the future, who knows). Company is AA-rated and owned by an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway.

    1. Apparently Pacificorp is defending a class action lawsuit alleging negligence that resulted in some of California’s recent fires. Anyone know more? Real risk? The company is far better capitalized than was PG & E. It’s two noncallable preferreds are mainstays in my sock drawer.

      1. Oldman,
        Is PC part of PGE ? or a part of a holdco? There was so many fires last 2 years across Northern Calif, Southern Ore. and all the way up to Portland.
        Locally Sonoma county DA got a warrant to search PGE offices and seized files as part of a lawsuit.
        Hard to keep track of all the investigations going on.
        Between individuals, businesses, cities, counties, State etc. is why I am holding SCE preferred not PCG

          1. Thanks Grid. What’s your risk assessment? Berkshire tries hard to camouflage individual holding’s financials. Difficult to evaluate actual risk. Have held the two non-callable Pacificorp preferreds for a long time and my greed prevents me from exiting and taking a profit. Yield on basis is about par and that cannot be duplicated. Company’s bonds remain Aa rated. Didn’t the agencies quickly downgrade PG & E bonds after the fire-stimulated class action filings?

            1. Oldman, if memory serves agency’s were painfully slow to truly down grade PCG debt where it needed to be. But of course there is so many moving parts to it all, it was just a guessing game as the end game came out differently than many thought.
              Pacificorp is a bit different. That newspaper article suggested a billion potential. PCG was around $30 billion but its also a bigger ute. Its just at the guessing game stage as this takes a while to unfold. But Pacificorp is acknowledging the risk setting aside some money in addition to the insurance they have..
              California and Oregon 2020 Wildfires – Contingencies – See Note 16 to the financial statements
              Critical Audit Matter Description
              The Company has loss contingencies related to the California and Oregon 2020 wildfires (the “2020 wildfires”). The Company has recorded estimated liabilities, net of expected insurance recoveries, of $136 million as of December 31, 2020, which represents its best estimate of probable losses, net of expected insurance recoveries, as a result of the 2020 wildfires.
              We identified wildfire-related contingencies and the related disclosure as a critical audit matter because of the significant judgments made by management to estimate the losses. This required the application of a high degree of judgment and extensive effort when performing audit procedures to evaluate the reasonableness of management’s estimate of the losses and disclosure related to wildfire-related loss contingencies.
              SCE had billions in wildfire claims and has still been able to raise common stock dividend. Pacificorp doesnt have inverse condemnation in Oregon like what is in CA. So that is a different variable also.

              1. Hi Gridbird,any thoughts on the Pacificorp`s preferred dividend safety with no common to cut?
                Thanks in advance B/L

                1. Big Lou…Hey have you ever heard those “Big Lou” life insurance commercials? Hilarious… Big Lou is like you as he is on meds too.. Or Big Lou is like you and is divorced too. And my second trophy wife wants a lot of insurance on me too.
                  I hold Pacificorp preferreds all the time. The trouble is I cant keep them as somebody will bid them $8-$10 higher so I have to sell. I recently bought last month at $134 and sold off at $142 a week or so later. I have been well aware of these fires, but it hasnt concerned me. Buying and selling at right prices have been more of a concern for me.
                  As far as paying common dividends, that is complicated and probably not relevant like a public company…Technically Pacificorp is a holding company, owned by holding company, and in turn that holding company is owned by hold co Berkshire. Holding companies dont typically ask or need quarterly dividends from subsidiary. In fact at times they are pumping money into them instead of extracting cash and may go years without extracting a cash divi.
                  Granted Oregon is an eco state like CA, but they dont have inverse condemnation like CA does. So that means anyone who claimed to got fat and diabetes over the stress of the fire cant collect also. So its not the same. Personally, if I get a satisfactory entry point again, I wont hesitate to buy. But I make no claims of expertise here. This fire risk isnt near what EIX had and they have kept on ticking even with annual divi increases.

  14. GDL-C

    Having not seen the official announcement as I thought was due, this was received from IR – no surprises. BTW – Can’t post to Reader Initiated right now

    The Board has determined to continue the annual rate of 4% for the Series C Preferred Shares, effective for all remaining quarterly dividend periods. 

    The Series C Preferred may be put back to the Fund during the 30-day period prior to March 26, 2020 and March 26, 2022 at the liquidation preference of $50.00 per share, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends, and redeemed by the Fund, at its option, at the liquidation preference of $50.00 per share, plus any accumulated and unpaid dividends, on March 26, 2021 or March 26, 2023.  The mandatory redemption date for the Series C Preferred is March 26, 2025.

  15. @GridBird or anyone else, any reason why AILLP went down big today? Is it just of interest rates spiking? Thanks in advance.

    1. Rajn, it went down on a recent 100 share purchase. This one trading down though isnt surprising. Its only a 4% par issue. As rates rise more pressure will come. It was at top end pricing. Its longer term more recent home is more in $94-$96 range

      1. “Why did my $100,000 Cadillac Escalade drop in price to $90,000?”
        The MSRP is $75,000, and people are still paying $90,000 for it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Another analogy… 2 guys take a 1 foot rubber band and one of them walks out 10 feet, to stretch it out. Now, the guy on one end walks 3 feet closer to the other guy. The 1 foot rubber band is still stretched to 7 feet.

        Pricing is much like that. You dont see very often a 1 foot rubber band stretched to 50 feet, and you shouldnt expect it to stay there very long if it does. This is why you look at several years of pricing history through different financial cycles, and not just the last month or two of pricing.

        1. @Mr. Conservative – A lot of words to say prices fluctuate.
          @GridBird, @Bob-in-DE thanks for your help as always.

  16. AATRL – We’ll see if it was a good move or not but just sold 300 of my 400 shares of AATRL at $54.49. My average buy was just a tad over $40. Seems to be a bit rich at this point but I guess it can get richer!

    1. Nice price–looks like someone paid top tick for them. I need to re-look at this also.

      1. I stuck all 400 shares out there at $54.49 on the ask and got 100 hit and then 200 more. Now the ask is lower – I’ll keep the remaining 100.

        1. Oh, so I have you to blame, huh, yazzer??? I’ve had a sell in daring someone to pay 54.60 and it didn’t quite get there yet because of you! Booo hiss………:)

          1. oh – hahaha – sorry – I was just thinking to sit it at 1c under $54.50 and someone might bite! Sorry to front run – had no idea!

            1. Posted on this on RIA. Is the run-up because the “busted” convertible not completely busted now?

              1. Assuming original conversion price hasn’t changed for any reason, AMG still has almost 40% higher to go to make conversion economic. I’m no expert on convertibles, but I’d guess that if there’s a norm for issuing convertibles they’re probably issued with a premium about 20% above current price when issued, right? So imho, convertibilty is still a little bit too far off to be a major factor.. HOWEVER, what about this little feature in the prospectus as well????

                “The trust will pay contingent distributions to holders of the trust preferred securities during any quarterly period commencing on or after October 16, 2012, if the average market price of a trust preferred security for a ten trading day measurement period preceding the applicable quarterly period equals 130% or more of the liquidation amount of $50.00 per trust preferred security. The contingent distribution payable per trust preferred security in respect of any quarterly period in which contingent distributions are payable will equal an annual rate of 0.25% of the average market price of a trust preferred security for the ten trading day measurement period.” I wonder why that was inserted into the language? AATRL would have to hit 65 for that to happen and that would seem hard to imagine when they’re currently callable, but this one’s got such a crazy structure, who knows???? Justin, what would be the tax consequences to the company if they called this one??? Would the consequences be any different than on a normal plain vanilla issue?

                1. Conversion rate has changed at least a little. .2558 per last year 10-Q. Still a way off but probably not worthless feature either.

                  1. Thanks, nhc… Glad to know the current figure = $195.46 now, not $200. I should have said “too far off to be a major factor QUITE YET.” That would have more clearly stated my point. In other words, personally, I wouldn’t think conversion factor would be a strong influencer of market price for AATRL until mkt price of AMG gets within 20% of the conversion price, i.e., 156.37. So we agree, it’s still a little way off at least, but certainly worth noting now after AMG’s strong run up from $112 in just the last 8 trading days since the quarterly earnings report on 2/8. It would only take another 3 trading days at the average rate of increase AMG has had over the last 8 before we’re in the major influencer range. Well worth noting.

                    1. Good to know 2WR. I let mine go. Gigantic run up. Usually investments stay in a range, and since this is out of its normal range. Can it run up another $5+ … it could. I’m fine with the big cap gain and sending more helicopter money to Uncle Sam. I let winners run… but when they have been racing for awhile I cut them loose. Plowing money back into things like MNR-C and other pinned to par ones. I’m happy with the gain since Tim posted the recommendation on this one. If it runs up more, I wont be looking back and playing Monday morning quarterback.

                    2. So I get to blame you, too, for my mistake of setting my dream sell price just a tad too high, huh, Mr. C? …. It’s your fault… lol. I guess my AATRL is going back in the drawer for now…..

                    3. Some more food for thought on this one.
                      Let’s say the value of AATRL consists of two components: 1) the value absent the conversion feature, plus 2) the value of the conversion feature.

                      Given the $2.575 coupon, low IG rating, and roughly 16.7 year maturity, I would put the value of AATRL absent the conversion feature at right about $50 in present market if held in a non-taxable account, maybe a tad more.

                      Valuing the conversion feature is even more subjective. However, I note that JPM is now trading at about the same price as AMG. A January 2023 JPM call option exercisable at $195, about 35% above the current JPM market price, is around $7. I would think that the AATRL conversion feature is worth at least as much, given that: it is out there for 16.7 years vs. about 2 years for the JPM option, AMG dividend is much lower (meaning shareholder return has to come from price increase), and AMG is (I think) more volatile than JPM. On the other hand, AMG can limit the upside by forcing conversion if the AMG common goes above $254, with no such limitation on JPM the call option, but I would say that this is less of a concern.

                      This subjective and highly theoretical analysis implies a value of at least $57 for AATRL. I lightened my AATRL position over the last couple days, but I’m having some second thoughts now.

                    4. nhcoast,
                      I’m just relying on your comments as I haven’t looked at the details of AATRL itself, but it sounds like holders of AATRL are long a call option with a strike price of about $195, but also short a call option with a strike price of about $254. The difference between those is the net value you would apply to the conversion component of the price. As you have found, you can’t get a market price for any 16 year options, but you can use the Black-Scholes model to come up with theoretical values.


                      For such a long-term option, the value will be very sensitive to the volatility assumption. In this case, since you have a long and short call, that issue will be less problematic than usual because the two cancel each other out to some extent.

                    5. KC – Thanks for this.
                      If I plug in a 40% annualized volatility, which seems consistent with AMG call option pricing, I get a net value of about $8. Still trying to get my head around whether ability of AMG to force conversion is equivalent to being short a call option with $254 strike price. Whatever, it’s still pretty much just theoretical.

                    6. nhcoast. yes it’s a short call. Think about it this way: you have a call option with strike of $195 and the company has a call option with a strike of $254. You get the upside between those amounts.

                      But it’s not exactly a strike price of $254 because the price actually has to be higher than that and it’s not known exactly what the conversion price would be. So you could use a somewhat higher number as a guess.

                2. If they called it, any gains or losses are ordinary, not capital regardless of your holding because of the below market interest rate they got when selling it initially triggered a special tax code provision.
                  That is the biggest difference.

                  1. Justin – What I was asking was not the implications for the AATRL shareholder but the implications for MGR should they call…. I suppose they’re involvement is the 5.15% Junior Subordinated Deferrable Interest Convertible Debentures due 10/15/2037 that’s the underlying and not the preferred created by the Trust, but that issue has all the unusual tax implication that generate the same for AATRL, doesn’t it? So I was wondering whether or not you have an opinion as to whether or not all those tax issue could possibly act as a deterrent to MGR for calling the Debenture.. I know it’s callable 3/30/24 but don’t remember if that’s merely a plain vanilla call option.

                    1. 2WR – Justin will correct me on this if I’m wrong, but as I understand it, if it gets to the point where they can force conversion, it’s in their interest to do so as far as the income tax consequences go. If the debentures are ultimately redeemed at $50, AMG has a major tax bill. They have been accruing a deferred tax liability to recognize this. On the other hand, if the debentures are converted, AMG can mitigate, or even possibly eliminate, that income tax liability, as they will be deemed to have surrendered something of value in excess of $50 per unit to extinguish the debt.

                    2. He is correct. They will face a significant tax liability when the conversion occurs.
                      Long story short. Standard redemption language in case of an unplanned event outside their control with an add-on for the market price of the common trading at a particular level.
                      Here is the redemption language from page 5.

                      “AMG may elect to redeem the junior subordinated convertible debentures prior to maturity, without payment of premium, for 100% of the principal amount plus accrued and unpaid interest and other amounts to the date of redemption:

                      in whole at any time or in part from time to time on or after October 15, 2012 if the closing price of AMG common stock for 20 trading days in a period of 30 consecutive trading days ending on the trading day prior to the mailing of the redemption notice exceeds 130% of the then prevailing conversion price of the trust preferred securities; or

                      in whole, but not in part, at any time following certain specified events relating to a change in the investment company or tax laws that adversely affects the status of the trust, the trust preferred securities or the junior subordinated convertible debentures.”

                    3. Thanks, Justin, however if I’m reading correctly, you’re not really agreeing with nhc, you’re saying the opposite…. where am I going wrong? nhc says “if the debentures are converted, AMG can mitigate, or even possibly eliminate, that income tax liability,” while you’re saying, “They will face a significant tax liability when the conversion occurs.” As per usual tax treatment simplicity just doesn’t ever seem to exist with AATRL under any circumstances or at least tax consequences goes far over my head for sure.. lol

                    4. 2WR – I don’t want to put words in anyone’s mouth, but I think that Justin may have intended to say “when the redemption [at $50] occurs” rather than “when the conversion occurs.” As I recall, I had asked about this same matter some time back, and Justin confirmed my understanding. Maybe he can clarify here.

            2. I bought back 200 of the 300 shares I sold yesterday for $54.49 for $51.80 for $2.69 turn-around profit – it’s like get a year’s worth of divvy in a day! Now back to 300 shares – will look to add another 100 at 50-ish.

              1. Nice trade. I sold AATRL at 54 just now, interested to see if you get your next purchase near 50.

                1. I went ahead and bought that last 100 shares at $52.00, so back to my 400 share allotment. Those 300 shares traded yielded a +$2.56/share profit in my tax deferred account – almost a year’s worth of divvy. I just noticed AATRL traded at $57.01 today!

                  1. I saw that trade on AATRL at 57.01 and thought it interesting, since earlier today I put my last 100 out at that price that (picked at random), even more interesting that the market maker selected someone elses lot and there are shares available cheaper.

  17. Folks, I am reviewing discussion on AATRL below and don’t understand why it has (practically speaking) no risk of call.

    The prospectus at says

    “Convertibility of the Trust Preferred Securities … At any time prior to the maturity date of the junior subordinated convertible debentures, AMG has the option to unilaterally and irrevocably elect to settle its obligation to deliver shares of AMG common stock with respect to trust preferred securities converted following such election in cash, and, if applicable, shares of common stock. If AMG makes this election, upon conversion of a trust preferred security, a holder will receive an amount in cash equal to the lesser of (i) the liquidation amount of such trust preferred security and (ii) the conversion value, determined in the manner set forth in this prospectus.”

    Based on subsequent reading in the prospectus, it appears that the conversion rate can somehow vary from the nominal 0.2500 shares of AMG common stock per trust preferred security. So that (and the ‘lesser of’ wording above) implies to me that the conversion rate could be set in such a way that AMG has the right to call at less than $50/share.

    What am I missing (apart from the chance to buy AATRL back in March;-)?

    1. @Bur Davis -The paragraph starts with ” Holders may convert their trust preferred securities at any time into 0.2500 shares of AMG common stock per trust preferred security (equivalent to a conversion price of $200.00 per share) subject to adjustment as described in this prospectus.”
      I think the rest of the paragraph that you quote applies the the situation where the holder initiates the conversion not when the trust initiates the call. I may be wrong so hopefully someone more knowledgeable than me will answer.

      1. danzeb, I think you’re right: Holder chooses to convert, then AMG has an obligation to settle the conversion request. I read “unilaterally” too quickly and thought that meant they could initiate the conversion, but on rereading I think it just means they can choose to settle in cash if they want (it says “cash, and, if applicable, shares of common” but I assume they mean “and/or”).

        I still am confused about how conversion rate is determined, but if the conversion is always and only initiated by the Holder, I guess the question is moot.

  18. Would readers view CBKLP (CoBANK 6.125% non-cumulative preferred Series G; currently redeemable) as having “Sock Drawer” characteristics? I’ve not read the prospectus; any idea why it hasn’t been called? Thanks.

    1. I do, but it is past its call date and not likely to trade at a level where you don’t risk something. It is possible, but would be difficult to pick up shares where you don’t risk something.

      I picked up another 300 shares under par during the dip.

    2. You have to be careful which brokerages you use for CBKLP.
      If you are at schwab, for example, they will let you buy it (if you are jump through hoops to be a qualified investor), but (for practical purposes), they will never let you sell it. To sell, they will require you to go find another qualified investor (on your own), then they will process the transaction for you.

      If you plan to hold it until it is redeemed, this may not be a big big problem – but if you ever want to sell, you are in trouble.

      1. RE: Private on CBKLP.
        That’s curious. I’ve seen plenty of examples the other way around (you can transfer a security into a custodian, but can only sell it once you get there), but have never seen a “buy only” restriction.

      2. This is exactly why I am moving everything out of TD. Their site already states on the opening page (paraphrase) ‘a subsidiary of Charles Schwab’
        Free candy trades are for the general public and the Big 1000 American Listings Fodder. Good luck pivoting toward the rest of a globalized world when the basic menu of American Issues is getting smaller and smaller, esp just when you may need to make a move. Who wants to go through a work-through?
        ADRs? OTC? ETFs? CEFs? ETNs? Curcuit Breakers? Brokerage/Clearing Liquidity? These are real Investment Risks too.
        Alan Parsons: “Just when I need you, you won’t be there…”
        Never forget who wrote the regulations and who they are in ‘business’ for.

  19. Loaded up on FHN-B today after it fell 60 points. Only reason I can see is it fell with the tide because of the news cycle. Fell too far on high volume typically means an institutional investor dumping shares. Could be a 5 year sock drawer holding though that’s not my intention.

  20. Anybody know anything about the HOWMET AEROSPACE INC $3.75 Ticker is HWMpr
    It seems to have been a very old Alcoa issue.
    I got this from a 2007 Alcoa filing.

    “Alcoa’s Articles of Incorporation, as amended, authorize Alcoa to issue two classes of preferred stock:
    660,000 shares of $3.75 Cumulative Preferred Stock, par value $100.00 per share (“Class A Stock”);
    As of November 30, 2001, Alcoa had 557,649 shares of Class A Stock outstanding and no shares of Class B Stock outstanding. No additional shares of Class A Stock may be issued. Alcoa initiated an ongoing program to purchase and retire shares of Class A Stock in 1989.

    Since it is trading at 68, I am guessing Howmet isn’t actively trying to retire the shares.

    1. I am too have took a closer look at them when they were about $ 50, but they’re junk rated. Therefore, it does not fit to the sock drawer stuff, IMHO. So I bought some HWM 5.95 notes which was below the par then and which are the IG rated. Today these notes are trading at 111/113 (bid/ask) and are about 4.8% YTM.

      1. I wont go there either…They are the aerospace version of a hospitality preferred. If it was closer to 7% now, my attitude would be different. Its a small $55 million float, but company despite present adequately capitalized is a new spin off in a horrible sector now. The 5.5% ish just isnt there risk reward for me.
        Fitch believes the coronavirus pandemic will negatively impact 2020 and 2021 revenue, profitability and cash generation. However, Fitch expects the company will return toward metrics consistent with the rating by around 2022. The risk of supply chain disruption exists, and many of the company’s customers, including Boeing, are also experiencing difficulties. The magnitude of a potential impact is unknown and will largely depend on the return to service of Boeing’s 737MAX, the duration of the coronavirus’ disruption to the aviation industry, and whether HWM has any facility closures that persist for an extended period of time.

        1. Hi Gridbird, I know you have held SCE preferred in the past they called the SCE-E.What is the capital stack trust issue SCE-H verse the SCE-E?
          Thanks in advance B/L

          1. Hey Lou, I went digging on this several years ago as I was curious then also. If my memory serves the old legacy ones redeemed actually sat above the trust preferreds in priority. I would also suspect being these were very old they also had more specific protections afforded them than the “current generation” trust preferreds have.
            As I have been around in general these preferreds, trust preferreds, and subordinated debt more and watched from a distance of failed or stressed ones; I have come to the conclusion these types of protections, are of only mostly theoretical importance. Because when crap hits the fan, these things would all most likely go down as unrecoverable. It doesnt scare me as I know the realities. I just wince anytime I see SA writers call a preferred reco “safer”. That is a very relative term. They all will most likely get zero in a reorganization. Look where the CBL preferreds are at now.

            1. Morning Grid,
              With Edison calling almost 1/2 the outstanding SCE preferred doesn’t that make what is left a good bet? even if they issue new preferred or baby bonds at lower rates? Interesting comment you made on crap hitting the fan. This market seems frothy. We see examples every day now of how cazy its getting like that Quarte retail giving out preferred stock as a dividend.
              I bought the SCE-PL last week just to park some money but really don’t feel like buying much of anything right now

              1. Hey Charles. My comment on crap hitting the fan maybe wasnt clearly directed. I was just inferring that to mean if a company in general was financially stressed or heading to bankruptcy. In other words buying a subordinated note such as say NSS is really no safer than its lower preferred sister NS-A.
                In other words, I have a deeply receding hairline on my head. Just because I am standing next to Kojak doesnt make me all the sudden have a full head of hair. If one generally plays below senior unsecured of anything, the chances of any recovery is very slim.
                As far as SCE goes. I am relying on posted info from an earlier poster, but he said Edison was going to a 5% preferred stock cap structure from near 10%. Im suspecting the regulators were not allowing full recovery of preferred dividends in consumer rates. SCE was highly unusual in having 9%-10% cap structure of QDI preferred anyways. Most are 0% now and the rest maybe 1%-5% tops. So I suspect going forward owning SCE preferreds is more about your comfort in the company and future long term rates than any reissues or future redemptions. I am presently out but they are certainly still in my rotation list to own though.

                1. Grid,
                  You may have discussed what I’m about to ask b4 and I may have missed it.
                  As far as the oldies but goodies utilities, do you generally consider one about as good as the other. I pulled up a list of 13 with coupons 4 percent or less from QOL.
                  Some haven’t traded in awhile but several have. So for instance do you consider AILLP or UEPEM as good as say UEPEN. All are Ameren issues.
                  Same question on Connecticut P&L issues. Thanks for your knowledge, studiousness and enthusiasm of preferreds in general and especially utilities.
                  And along with what others have said, thanks for being generous on this board.

                  1. Razor, you are free to pick my brain for whatever, and it shouldnt take you long, ha. Short answer, yes those in reference including all the old 4% issues I have no problem owning. I say I own about 50 utility preferreds all the time, its just I only actually have money in 10-15 of them at any given time. I will rotate around for a few bucks if bid and ask and selling price allow to.
                    AILLP/UEPEM are different subsidiaries of Ameren with different credit ratings. Currently Ameren Ill is a smidge higher but 5 years ago it was a bit lower. No material difference. Ameren Mo (Union Electric) is a triple vertical aligned monopoly utility while Ameren Ill is just a Transmission and Distribution electric and gas monopoly utility. Union Electric has Callaway and if it blew up Fulton, Mo ya, I would say the preferreds are toast, ha. But since I watched it be built and could see the cooling towers from my house growing up, I am not too concerned.
                    I generally just go to where I see some movement. If I see an ask being lowered to a “reasonable price”, I will then lay a “reasonable bid” to snag. UEPEN played that way in low $87 range the other day. But some will just sit and then out of the blue have a quick 100-200 share dump and then its over. So in those cases you just set your bid and wait and hope. Make sure you see the past year and multi year pricing so you arent overpaying.
                    Ones well below their redemption price will have some pricing support even if rates trickle back up. They just wont drop to the level of a true ute market yield because the spread of price and redemption price would be too great and people would start buying it up.
                    I like the CLP issues too. You generally have to decide if you want to scrape up a few more basis points and pay above redemption price a bit, or go a bit lower and get some spread between purchase price and redemption price.
                    The safety of these types are off the charts with coverage ratios via profits of over a 100 times for entire series of each of the above. There several people on this forum (not me) that have personal wealth more than the yearly cost of each of the above subsidiary preferreds entire series.
                    That being said, I only own a portion of my stash in these. An entire stash dedicated to low 4% preferreds is just too much for me to stomach! 🙂

                    1. Thank you Grid. I love utilities although i am a buy and hold investor. Currently in my situation a QDI security in a taxable account will give me as good a net as I can get from anything else with quality if i can get a 4 percent yield. . E.G.. these o-b-g utilities @4 percent beat tax exempt bonds which i also like.
                      I’m getting killed with calls from build america bonds which turned out to be a good investment for me – average 7 percent coupons, IG and 10 year call protection. But the call dates have arrived with a vengence. I think some of these oldies will help me if i have some luck and can purchase them. You have been very helpful.

                    2. Razor, there are also a few issued noncallable also. I noticed Uncallable
                      WELPM has current bid of $139 and ask of $142. That is a small 3 millionish Baa1 par float that would net 4.2% or so if that interests you.

                    3. Good morning Grid,
                      A small eureka today I hope. I purchased some AILLP @ par this am and have orders in for several more issues. This will get me the 4 percent I need on this one. Thanks again for your help.

    2. In any case, HWM traded very weakly during the drawdown and took a long time to recover. Wall Street doesn’t like them too much, apparently.

    3. tim, don’t know how to make a general comment? this is a response to your reply to my post of 8/20 “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth”. on usb-h I did nothing but must “You” must have hit a nerve with several folks. usb-h traded that day at $23.48 and is now down to $21.92 off $1638 on my 1050 shares I’m not going “anywhere” cause I got plenty but If what you said was “right”: a buying opportunity was created for somebody? always open to any help from anyone

      1. Mike, it is rotation. When a stock goes up, and up, and up… you ask what is up with it going up? And the yield drops in the 3% + range. It is rotation. You can get better deals elsewhere. Stocks drop and rise as investors figure out the value of them. When the value becomes not aligned, a stock tends to move the other way. If you are a trader, then last month was a good time to sell. If you are a buy and hold kind of a guy, well, just hold onto it. If you are a buy and hold kind of guy, you could ask the same question on hundreds of stocks every month as they shoot up, fall out of value, and then move down. When they fall too far, too fast, they normalize and go the other way. This of course is independent of any news of the company causing the stock to move up/down.

        1. mr. conservative thanks for your thoughts I originally bought usb-h as a potential inflation hedge when rates started up several years ago added some in March, then the FED slammed on the breaks, which may now last awhile, but my average cost still leaves me a 15%+ upside potential and a yield over 4%, there fore “Sock Drawer”. learning from you folks everyday, thanks again

  21. As a fixed income investor I generally buy preferreds to hold to maturity much like I would a CD but at much better rates. I can accept the higher risk for much higher yields (particularly now when CDs are pitiful).

    Since I hold to maturity I try and buy below par and then just forget about it. This is clearly just a mental “win” as paying above par for a good yield on a solid issue can also be prudent. I’ve done this a few times but I still like buying below 25 and just holding until call and then doing it again.

    Lately, below par and investment grade (or close) have become difficult to find whereas May and June it was easy pickings.

    My July purchases have been ASB/D, PRE/I, SJIJ, AHL/E, AHL/D, EQA/A – all below par. Most have now climbed above. I’ll also admit to buying some of the WCC/A just for entertainment.

    I have a couple of CDs expiring in August – who knows what that will bring…

    This is a great site as I research individual issues. I really appreciate the knowledge of the “old hands” here. I wonder if there are others here in a similar boat as me taking a similar approach.

    1. Glad you are here Bill. I am awaiting more deals in the investment grade preferred arena–I may be waiting a long time I guess.

    2. Bill, I do the same thing, I’m basically too lazy to track the items, so I always try to buy <=$25.00 par.

      To your point, hard to really find those any more.

    3. Bill – with your style of investing there is no harm in letting the cash pile up while waiting for the next market swoon. There will always be another one.

      There are other things to do but they require daily attention to markets to work effectively.

  22. CNTHO from Connecticut Light and Power has a sell order out there for $53.25 for a yield of 4.96%.

      1. D, The life of an illiquid makes things always a bit deceitful. There was a 200 share one block purchase at that price, and then one other before close… 20 shares at $53.25. Current ask 53.25, current bid at close was $53. Reminds me of my recent INPAP adventure. Last September I saw it go off at $94. I said Im getting me a 100 at that price. Well I got $94.50, 8 months later finally. As it only had 10 block share trades during that time, ugh. That is the tightest sealed $40 million drum issue I have ever encountered. CNTHO is not even 1/5th the market value size and trades considerably more often than INPAP does.

        1. Very interesting, Grid, appreciate your insights into how these trade, or don’t. I managed to get a small piece of the CNTHP maybe a year and a half ago but sold when it went over 63, still have a bit of IPWLK from the same time. I look out for CNLPL and the like from time to time, INPAP seems like a very long range pursuit, maybe after I retire and have some more time to track. Always enjoy your insights and war stories.

          1. D, Someone informed me IP bought up a bunch in past couple years and under 10 million in par value. That would make more sense why it doesnt trade. I couldnt find actual numbers on this one in SEC filings which I usually can.
            LXP-C, I flipped out on a $5 rush up or so last year and havent been back. I only casually observe. I probably should being it fits my thesis…Find anything with decent yield and in predictable industrial reit segment and hang on. I own REXR-A and B. Bought A mostly under par recently then bought B to rotate out of A when their prices were the same. So I am overexposed here and need to rotate out of A sometime as B has the longer protection.
            LXP has 98% plus rent collection in May and higher in April, so that is the life blood of a reit and this is why my preference is Industrial reits, and it has good credit ratings. LXP is now 85% IR so they continue to jettison the office segment which was very smart.
            I wouldnt be afraid to own it, again.

            1. Grid, very interesting, hadn’t looked at Rexford before but it seems like it could be a good fit putting together my collection a few years out from taking social security. Added Lexington to my watch list too. I think Tim is right, that we’re headed for a break point and buying opportunity one of these days and I’m working to make the most of it when it comes. Thanks very much, I appreciate the conversation.

              1. D, Interestingly, Lexington and Rexford have very similiar credit ratings, though the methods reached are very different in terms of actual numbers. For example Fitch has Rexford downgraded because they have never accessed public market for debt. So art and science definitely collide on credit ratings.
                If one finds present interest rates to stay this low finding issues with uncallable features would benefit in the long run. The Lexington issue has that feature. The credit spreads on preferreds are very high now, especially with financials. This on the surface creates an opportunity now for many…..If they pay and remain viable. Im only dabbling at best in financials myself though.

  23. Any holders the Partners Insurance preferreds here? I bought some of the I issuance today below par which seemed like a safe bet as an investment grade.

    Do they have a history of calling them?

    1. Bill. i have a small position of 400 shares, i picked up in March in low 20’s. I picked up for the same reason, and investment grade. Exor bought them out about 4 years ago, so it is a little fun looking at financials. Exor recently has been trying to sell them which hasn’t shaken up the investments. They did take a few hits with insurance regarding cancellations with Covid. I don’t see any skeletons in their closet as of yet… They have some bonds over par in the 2.+ % range.

      They did have a history of calling the preferreds. They do have 1 that can be called, but they have not done so. I own the PRE-I.

      1. Lucky, This may not appeal to you, but I stealth bought 84 more shares at market close of EP-C at $44.85 today. That nets out 6.44% YTM of $50 in 2028. I havent been flipping this one, just keep buying on dips, and am slightly overweighted now. This was rated Baa3/BB+ after the Mid March rout. If one looks at the KMI bonds they are very strong now. They even raised common divi last quarter a nominal amount. KMI is the premier nat gas carrier in US. Plus when many preferreds got routed 50% and more before rising, EP-C dropped less than half of that.
        Everything has its risks, but these are points I like about it. Solid subordinated debt rating, defined intermediate maturity, solid yield no worse than plus 6% and higher if they ever redeem earlier, not a nebulous company such as a BDC where you dont really know what it owns. EP-C and KTH (bought a lot lower) plug a needed hole of defined intermediate length little and no call risk income issues. I do have a smaller amount of Rily bonds also, which hits that target area also, but I dont trust it. The biggest knock to EP-C is it must really be bought in tax free account or your exposed to phantom income tax ala AATRL (and KTH).

        1. You sure about the phantom income? EP-C and KTH have similar terms, they would only produce phantom income if they deferred an interest payment at some time during their history. (like Hillman just did, for the 2nd time)
          PECO was priced below par at issuance, so it had market discount at issuance. (Page S-19), which is how they got an 8.0% coupon on a 7.38% underlying bond.

          1. Justin, maybe I am wrong. It seems every one of these trust convertibles I am aware of such as AATRL and NYCB-U have that onerous feature. You have more expertise in understanding these than I do. I have only owned these various issues in tax free accounts so I have no experience.
            I thought the conversion factor in the trust contributed somehow to the tax set up via through an original discounted coupon. The Hillman issue is not a convertible. But as mentioned I could be wrong. If you deep dived I would trust your opinion over mine on this.

            1. Hi Gridbird, CTA-B would you consider this a Sock Drawer issue?
              Thanks for your help B/L

              1. Lou, Without question it is. The question is can you stomach the 4.5% ish yield. It is a very old Dow preferred issued 70-80 years ago or so. But it was issued as a then huge $170 million or so float so it stays rather liquid and thus open to more liquid price swings despite its age.
                Corteva was broke off from Dow/Dupont when it split up last year and left it highly capitalized with senior unsecured A3 debt rating. It has a tremendous amount of intellectual capital and pipeline research. Is number one or two in sales in many of the various seed sectors also. A great way to sector diversify. I own some of it myself. You are not going to get rich off it though, ha.
                Last winter I was playing around with it flipping on $108 to $112 swings. Then got lost in shuffle and kind of forgot about it and recently reentered in $99 area. At this price will just hold, as it is one with a redemption price well above its trading price ($120). It wont go anywhere as they have had two opportunities to redeem on merging and spin off and passed on the chance to redeem either of both of the preferreds.

                1. I noticed that CTA-B spent a good amount of time trading around $110-115 over the past 12 months. This one doesn’t seem to have recovered close to its previously highs like so many other preferreds have. Is there any reason for this other than it being somewhat obscure? It would appear that there’s perhaps an opportunity to buy now at around $102 and sell around $115 when this one catches up to the rest of the preferred market.

              2. Hi Gridbird,how is CTA-B eligible for the 15% tax rate?and hopefully Vanguard picks that up.Thanks in advance, happy 4th B/L

                1. Lou, they cant screw this one up. Traditional QDI and on NYSE board so they will do it right.

                  1. The pricing is very erratic on this one. I bought it in 3 separate transaction the last 2 days, 99.1, 98.75, and 98.6. Just set a limit price and let it swing.

                    By the way, it goes ex-d next week so it might be a little more volatile.

                    1. In perspective, if it was a $25 stock it would be like .05-.10 price fluctuation. It also doesn’t trade much, and you can have itchy investors wanting out or in and will pay a few more pennies to do that. You also have an upcoming $1 + dividend and usually for any stock that means a little more buyers and exitors. This is not one for day trading, but long term holding or could be monthly or quarterly trading. But with the low volume… once you are out or in… you might have to wait a bit to get back in/out, and then factoring in missed/gain dividends while you are waiting. With a 4% yield it is probably pinching pennies in the long run, which makes this more of a long term holding.

                      In the end, the company makes billions, and this 8ish million dollar annual payment for this preferred is peanuts, and will probably be around for awhile. This makes it a more of a sock drawer holding in my opinion.

                2. Lou, I forgot to answer one of your questions as I was answering on phone after bogeying the 3rd hole on the course. CTA-B is capital stock. As mentioned before I said this was an old Dow preferred (Im pretty sure it was, but Dow and Dupont both had Ag Science divisions) and CTA-B in its original ticker form was first callable way back in 1937. So its been around.
                  Anyways these preferreds were assigned to the Ag division so Corteva got them in spin off last year. It will be QDI because its capital stock. All C Corp capital stock are QDI 15% tax treatment just like a common stock dividend and must be declared by BOD. Like any C Corp QDI preferred, the company must generate profits that equal the payments or risk it being considered return of capital, tax wise. As Mr. Lucky already said, the payments of these preferreds are just a speck on their earnings….So in other words, sweat its stock price movement, not its ability to pay the dividend. 👍

                  1. Gridbird,appreciate all your help your the best,looks like our Missouri weather is heating up for the weekend enjoy.
                    All the best B/L

                    1. Lou, Always take your sweat towel with you, as summer heat and humidity are here to stay a while. Dont like it, but if we had San Diego weather here we would have San Diego house prices too, and I wouldnt be able to afford to live here anyways, ha.

                  2. Just for fun I looked up the origins of the word ‘bogey’ and how it got associated with golf. The word has Scottish origins from “bogle”, meaning ghost or phantom. The jump over to golf occurred in the early 1890s, when golf clubs devised a standardized stroke total for each hole that was the maximum a good player should take to sink the ball in the cup. This maximum score was assigned to a phantom golfer named Colonel Bogey and golfers would strive to “beat Bogey” or “beat the Colonel”. Nowadays, scoring one over the maximum strokes assigned to a hole is simply called a bogey, with double-bogey and triple-bogey (terms I’m most familiar with) used to indicate the number of additional strokes after that.

          2. Justin, I think you are correct. The only OID I see referenced in prospectus is the deferral you mentioned. So it may be just fine.

        2. Nice. Grid. I bought KTH near $30 so a pretty good deal. But EP-C is another story. I bought last year in the $49 range, so I am down a good chunk on that one (even with 3 dividend payments). I am just letting it sit there.

          I am about 95% invested. I just dont want to miss out on div and interest payments as that is 2 x my current salary. I wish I flipped more sock drawer items during March. :-). Those have some hefty gains that I will just sit on. ASRVP – $24ish, PPX – $16ish, SOJA – $23ish, LANDP – $25, DLR-C – $21ish, KKR-A – $21ish, QTS-A – $25ish, AXO- $22ish… for commons, i bought walgreens, AT&T, US Bank, Vodafone

          1. Lucky, I churn things frequently so I really have few real cost basis, lol.
            EP-C is a prime example..Earlier in year I was buying $48-$49 and flipping $51-$52 ranges. But in March it made me money by losing money. I think I just got back in it at $48ish, but market crashed.. It, however, didnt drop in tandem with issues like SJIJ, PPX, and SR-A that dropped like a rock. So I dumped a goodly portion at a nice loss in $43-$44 range bought others that dropped significantly more…A most odd way to generate profits, but I was fully invested and it was unique times so I did it. Worked out very nicely getting me in black quick, but cant say I wasnt nervous cause I was. But, anyhow, I rebuilt my EP-C position after those 30%-40% drop off preferreds recovered and I sold.

      2. I had bought a few shares of PRE-I at 23.75 and then bought again when it went below 25. I like the insurance preferreds amongst the financial sector. As they are quasi-regulated and in my opinion will really have to screw up badly to not pay preferred dividends.

        What do you guys think of GBLIZ and GBLIL? Now it has become a US corporation (shifted from Bermuda).

      1. Nope it was just on my watch list and seemed a good opportunity. I bought 3000 shares at 24.98. I see it went back above par later in the day.

        To Mr. Lucky’s point I looked in the news but saw nothing exciting on the parent that would scare me off.

        I am a buy and hold investor so it will go in the drawer and I’ll see if they call it next April.

      2. msq, quick question before heading off to work. Which broker is good for low commissions and ability to buy bonds through and how do you find the correct symbol? I tried on TDA a couple times to find the cusip 505588BAO with no luck. I don’t want to call them and pay for help in buying. I know its been discussed her on the site before, but not easy to look this up again.

        1. Charles – Are you sure you have the cusip right??? There is cusip 505588BA0 [#0 on the end, not letter O] and that brings up Laclede Gas 7.90 9/15/30 at Fidelity, but search even at FINRA doesn’t bring up any results for 505588BAO.

          1. 2WR….You are such a tease! Laclede Gas (Spire) 7.9% A rated bond? I was selling everything and just owning it. I was really shocked when I checked it was long ago redeemed. 🙁

            1. Grid – Hey I didn’t say it was current or anything only that the cusip exists if you change the O to 0. lol Didn’t even looked to see if it was a bond that’s still around, only that it was legit Cusip – I was too busy patting myself on the back for finding a possible answer to Charles’ conundrum.

              1. Ha, I was just teasing. I knew before I looked it was long gone. But I still had to make sure. 🙂

        2. Charles M, in my experience Etrade has the best tools to search for bonds and also some actual ability to buy them, but it will depend on exactly what you are looking for. TD, Fidelity, Schwab – they might show you a bond exists but you may never see them offered.

          1. Having tried TDA and ETrade and recently having talked to Schwab, for my purposes Fidelity has the best bond platform. They charge a flat fee of $1/bond with a maximum amount which I think is $250. They show you depth of field on each individual bond, sort of like Level II for bonds, and, unlike any of the other platforms, they allow you to set a bid or an asked just like you’d set a limit price on a stock…. You can set your levels either inside or outside of the given best bid and asked, provided that it’s not farther than 2.50% away from the quote. The thing I don’t like is they do not allow you to set a minimum amount you’re willing to act on.. For example if you want to buy 25k of bonds but would be happy if yo ugot hit with 5k only, you can’t do that unless you put in 5 bids at 5k each instead of one bid for 25k.

            A couple of weeks ago, a very loyal Schwab bond platform guy gave me a phone number for a senior bond guy at Schwab to discuss what I wanted to have in bond desk capabilities. Oddly enough, and honestly enough, when describing what I liked about Fidelity he admitted that he felt Fidelity had an edge on them right now…. BTW, I also know that TDA does not show you the actual best bid and asked quotes out there in the market… When you compare platforms it’s quite obvious they’re showing marked up offerings vs what’s truly out there at the moment… I think they still operate as principal though, thus explaining that…. They sell with the marked up price included… That rules them out completely imho.

            1. 2ww Thank you for your response, hope you enjoy the holiday. I knew folks on here keep accounts at several brokers because of discussions that no one broker seems to be the best at everything. I think people have called Fidelity the Nanny broker, but that doesn’t seem apply to buying and selling bonds with them?
              There was a reason for my picking that cusip #, Recently both on here and on Yahoo it was mentioned Spire did a tender offer for their bonds. There was a link to another page that showed after the offer expired not all the bonds were tendered to Spire. I guess some people like the dividends better 🙂
              I just picked that cusip trying to find any of Spires bonds still out there.
              One thought, after a bond is called, even if not all of them are turned in do they no longer list them as active and drop them off Finra ? even if say final call date is 2030 or 2050 ?

              1. Charles – Well good, I’m glad your mystery cusip number problem got solved and that what you were looking for was that exact Laclede Gas issue. Implementing that one change to the cusip # at the end, can you now find it at TDA? I couldn’t.

                Interesting thought on Fidelity being considered the nanny broker but that not carrying over to their bond platform I never thought about it that way but I guess that’s true…. There’s not much that they nanny over on straight bonds, but probably by design, they do make it just a tad more difficult in their nanny type philosophy for someone to research and/or buy or sell non-investment grade issues. The bottom line, however, is you can and you can buy/sell with more flexibility than at any other broker I’ve tried…. What I think you can’t do at all, though, is research a bond to act on that does not carry any rating whatsoever.. I don’t think they support that ability and if you come across a f/f type true bond (meaning a 1k bond not a baby) I bet you can’t buy that either without calling in if at all.

                On your question about call, you’re a bit confusing… If a bond is called in entirety today, then what are you talking about when you’re asking about a final call date of say, 2030 or 2050? If it’s called it’s called (thanks, Yogi!), so from the issuers point of view, if it’s called no one holding it beyond that call date will be entitled to further interest payments no matter how long they continue to hold..

                1. Fidelity is very open about their “nanny policy” on buying individual bonds. Internally they call it “putting bumpers” in place. They do it a little on corporates and a lot on munis. For example, they will not let you buy any Puerto Rico muni bonds, even the ones that are money good, insured rated A2/AA. Fidelity lives in fear of an investor buying something that goes South then coming back and saying “you should have told me NOT to buy XYZ.” They are willing to let investors take standard, broad based market risk, but are more likely to restrict investors from buying anything far out on the risk spectrum. BTW, Schwab also has a nanny policy but it is less restrictive than Fidelity.

                  Interactive Brokers by design has no bumpers on corporates and/or munis. However, due to quirks in their data feeds, there is some percent of bonds that are not tradeable on their platform. And their platform lets you but in way out of the market prices, either on purpose or by accident. Say a bond is offered at 105 and you mean to offer 100, but accidentally enter 110. You just bought all of the bonds @ 105 and more than likely cannot bust the trade. In this case having bumpers would have saved you. Stated differently without bumpers your odds of doing a fat finger trade go way up. And don’t ask why I know this. . .

                  1. Good point on munis at Fidelity, Tex. I hadn’t really considered munis in what I wrote, which is ironic since my background was as an institutional muni bond trader……….that was way back in the pre-internet, pre online broker days. Also pre price reporting, wild wild west days…

                  2. Interactive Brokers does not allow you to buy variable rate bonds at all. You can look them up in the Trader Workstation and see offers, but that’s as far as you can get!

                    1. Karma, IB does let you buy some variable rate bonds, but not all of them. My worst performing coporate is a variable that I bought the last time short term rates were zero. I had the mistaken thought that once rates rose from the ashes, they would stay up. . . 100% wrong on my part, which means that the variable rate has collapsed. Kind of like the risk we have on fixed to float preferreds if rates stay low when they convert to float.

                2. For those interested in Fidelity’s bond platform capabilities, it just occurred to me that I have a transcript of a webinar they did back in March that is very thorough in explaining everything one can do via way of research and execution on their platform. The webinar was an hour long so this is not a quick read and the transcript is without screenshots or pictures, but it’s worthwhile to understand what Fidelity does…. If you already have a Fidelity account, it becomes just that more easy to follow along with them as to what they’re saying. The pdf file is 6.8mb and if anyone’s interested, you can PM me thru SA and I can send it to you…….

        3. Charles M
          I own no bonds, but when I did in a TDA account, you call the bond reps, not the phone # for the stocks. There is no cost for the reps to work with you on bond trades. Maybe everything has changed. If so, sorry.

    2. I am a long-term holder of the “H” series, added greatly to my position during the December, 2018 dip. The issue was created to incent preferred stockholders to vote in favor of the acquisition mentioned above. The company has a good credit rating and can replace this funding at a lower cost. It is callable next April and I do expect it to be called at that time. Won’t be able to replace the dividends at the same level, with a similar credit unless I consider a good quality Canadian reset, but who knows where rates will be next April.

  24. AILLL is one of the Ameren preferreds resulting from the company’s acquisition of Central Illinois Public Service, I think about 10 years ago. Periodically, some of the legacy CIPSCO preferreds have been discussed as “sock drawer.” When I read the very dated AILLL offering, it says the the issue is “redeemable at par ($25) at the company’s option at any time…” but goes on to say it is “not subject to mandatory redemption.” I’m confused. If it indeed is not subject to redemption it would seem to be “sock drawer.” If it is subject to redemption, it can be called at any time (and it’s trading at a 16% premium to par). Gridbird, I think you’ve discussed the Ameren issues in the past, as have other preferred aficionados. Can I impose on you and your brethren to educate me? Redeemable or not? Sock drawer? Thanks for you guidance.

    1. No inconsistencies there. It’s redeemable at the company’s option, but they have no obligation to do so. The company just don’t seem inclined to bother.

      I know that grid does a little happy dance every time Ameren declares a dividend, as he should. It’s a large call exposure that the folks are willing to take for an outsized yield.

      1. I began selling mine today at 28.99/share. $4 over par, even for these guys is just leaving too much of my junk hanging out in the breeze. Nothing wrong with ringing this register. Tried to sell it multiple times above 29/share but nobody bit at that level in over a month – although some sold in that area and even higher if I recall correctly.

        1. A4I, Me personally I agree with your decision. The yield has been driven down so far its not worth the risk/reward for a few basis points and 15% or whatever so above redemption price. I have done this with a few issues myself not chasing the few extra bps, and have started off in a different direction now.

    2. AILLL is callable at any time at $25. That said, it has been outstanding like this for quite a while.

      You pays your money, you takes your chances

      I own it but would probably not buy at the current price

    3. Oldman, yes they are correct… I am presently not in AILLL, but my arse is sticking out far enough in AILNP to more than compensate the call risk. In fact its even higher, lol. I have been in these for many years on a thesis of many reasons…Wont go into them all but will mention a few.. One these are presented as one series to PSC. So collectively due to the majority of dollar amounts residing in the 4%- 4.25% collectively they average well below 5% when rate filing comes. Still cheap…Secondly the holding company owns a considerable amount of these.. In fact they own about 70% of all the floats (the shares outstanding are just scraps of the original issues except AILLL which is still intact.). They have voting rights and thus they control the preferred votes if it was ever a reason it was needed. Pretty standard for older issues.

      1. Thanks to all for the education and, of course, to Tim for creating the vehicle to educate and inform.

        1. Oldman, a little more history for you if you like. Ameren Illinois is made up of 3 acquistions, CIPSCO, Illinois Power, and CILCO. All these acquistions occured in past 20 years or so. All of the CILCO preferreds were called when acquisition was completed around 2010. I dont know the reasons. All of the other preferreds were left outstanding and eventually renamed to Ameren Illinois. They were actually $50 par preferreds that were reconstituted into $100 issues with the 2010 folding in of all companies into one subsidiary. AILLL was left at $25 because it actually is a $1000 preferred stock with depository shares of $25 representing part of the $1000 preferred.
          The vast majority of these preferreds are Illinois Power which was owned by Dynegy. Dynegy before selling it to Ameren, offered tenders of all the preferreds to get voting majority for approval. Then after Ameren bought it, Dynegy handed over the tendered shares to Ameren. They have not been redeemed. Ameren in SEC filings from 2003 ish closing stipulated they would continue to buy in open market and offer tenders up to acquistion period.
          So these were never redeemed or retired, the hold co has them and thus represents the majority voting block in addition to owning all the common stock. Why they never redeemed these I have no idea, but they clearly went out of their way not to. And they cant redeem the outstanding preferreds unless they are willing to redeem theirs in the process also.

    4. Could not resist the spike up and sold 20% of my AILLL at $29.75.
      A bittersweet event, as I had held those for a long time.
      But am confident I can get them back at a lower price.

        1. Grid, as you yourself have said, it’s difficult to see AILLL selling for such an elevated premium and not doing anything.

          And look at CNLPL & CNTHP. they are selling at nosebleed levels. I own CNTHP from 2015, and still holding on, but sure as heck tempted to unload.

          Many illiquid Ute preferreds are on fire today – wonder why?

          1. I dunno Inspy. My frequent past push into them was squeezing out better yield and risking modest call exposure. Now many of these are really yielding no more and also having potential for a huge call loss smack. Of course I am one to criticize holding 300 plus shares of one that is 25% above par, past call myself. But other than that my indulgence in the way above par past call issues is pretty muted.

            1. I look at it a bot differently Grid. I have a couple of these illiquids bought at very nice prices – so while I am sitting on a call risk loss with them, I also didn’t buy them for potential capital gains.. I bought them for the yield they pay me and the fact they don’t move much when the market goes to hell.

              So while I have debated playing the flip game with them, I have been reluctant to do so, especially in the low rate interest environment we are in. I just don’t have the time or patience like you do with the very illiquids to do flip like that. Now that does not mean I won’t at some point – shoot every person has their price and if someone wants to get really silly and buy my shares at ridiculous prices, I will let them. But I guess I don’t look at the unrealized capital gains I currently have as something to count on. I am more about focusing on that long term income stream with these. May not be the best idea for everyone, but it works for me.

              1. Maverick, There certainly is no right or wrong. And of course its all about what one wants…And also which issue and how far above call price. This is only my opinion so it certainly is no definitive answer. But lets say CNLPL sitting at $62 over $10 past call price with a 5.23% yield. There are many ute issues around that yield without the capital risk of a call.
                When I was buying these I was getting 6.2% or so a few bucks over redemption instead of buying 5.5% types. But that scenario is gone now. Now one is getting same yield on these and risking call losses. The risk/reward seems tilted the other way. I personally mark to market so I dont over expose myself to call outside of a few. Who knows…. But I tilted off away from these to get other ones like KTH (too high now, but uncallable so I keep), gulp, and lower yielders like CTA-B and INPAP without call loss risk. Also I have over recent times acquired quite a bit of the Fortis Series F which is around 5.2% but under par, and low IG (but Canadian priced). I love that utility.
                But again, I am not without sin, I own over 300 shares of AILNP. Talk about call loss risk!

                1. Grid

                  Oh yeah. I hear you there. I certainly wouldn’t be putting new money in some of these issues trading far over par because as you said, you can buy other UTE issues that yield the same without the call risk.

                  I guess if they get a bit more crazy in pricing I may change my tune. Because people have different objectives, I agree no one size fits all answer. It’s a matter for me of figuring out the realistic spot I think I could buy them back at and figuring out if its worth it from the risk and time aspect. Thanks

  25. USB-O fell to even if called, 5.15% until then. Could be a holding place for some money just sitting on the sidelines doing nothing. But I’ll probably end up flipping it a few times.

    1. Not sure about flipping, but if I were buying for the sock drawer I would rather buy the A or H issues. Lower yield, but I have protection from rising rates with the floating coupon.

  26. Is Alliant Energy getting ready to call IPLDP? Alliant is issuing senior debt offering of $400 million to pay off current senior debt that matures on September 1. That leaves $200 million for “general corporate purposes” which equals the value of the IPLDP preferred shares which have been callable since June 2018. IPLDP is dipping today as it just passed it ex-div date.

    1. Steve, Based on what you wrote, very little chance on your scenario. It would be highly unusual to move subsidiary capital to holding company debt.

  27. Today I traded in my UMH-D at a slight gain and bought PPX @ 25.25 for the sock drawer. Slightly lower yield but hopefully its a set it and forget it purchase. Any other PPX fans out there? I will likely add more below $25.25.

    1. I have both PPX and the common, PPL. PPX is past 1st call, so don’t go too much above par. Yes, I am a fan

      1. Tim and Bill, I have a full allotment of PPX myself. I have traded it often for flips, if it presents itself but always get back in. Not many near 6% ute debt issues around like this. It is a solid core hold for one so inclined.

        1. Hi Gridbird,what are your thoughts on percentage of a portfolio to hold of cumulative preferred utility shares for long term income?
          Thanks in advance B/L

          1. Big Lou, There is “by the book” and there is “Crazy Gridbird”. Traditional money strategies recommend no more than 10%-20% of a portfolio in preferreds. But that is generic. All of my money has been in preferreds since 2013, and I have never been below 10% returns and am creeping to up 8% this year already.
            But…That is being done by trading also, and of course a near perpetual tailwind of downside in interest rates.
            It really depends on what you want and the yield you are needing. Because utility preferreds are 5% range at best and other sectors pay more. And what is worse, outside of the 1940s issued ute preferreds which were yields of sub 4%, this is worst time ever to be buying them in terms of yield. There are many good ways to skin a yield cat besides utes. But admittedly Im probably 80% ute preferreds now. I dont want the worry of what banks are hiding on their balance sheets or leveraged issues blowing up like many have recently. Only 3 utes have went bankrupt since Great Depression. Pacific Gas and Electric (twice), Public Service New Hampshire, and El Paso Electric. The latter two were disastrous nuke building projects. And PCG is well, PCG, but the preferreds are in line to be paid in full yet a second time. You dont get that from normal business, typically just a pat on the back and thanks for playing.
            There are other more diverse ways to play also through various funds of preferreds, there is even a utility type preferred fund also if memory serves.
            Im sure they a very reasonable ways to get income also. But I have no interest in them. I prefer buying my food and eating my own cooking.
            So long story short, Lou, I dont have a good answer for you personally. About 75% of preferred universe in monetary value issued are financials/banks. One thing is damn sure for me is I wouldnt have a preferred portfolio that “mirrored the market” in terms of being 75% in financials and banks.

            1. Thanks Gridbird,when you say all total portfolio in preferreds?i do own lots of old illiquids most from my hometown ute Ameren also the old Connecticut power and Alabama power.More recent SR-A,IPLDP and ETI.I see your point on the banks they got hit hard in March.Thanks for your help B/L

              1. Lou, Ameren your local provider too? Same here… I could have all my money in them and not lose any sleep.. Price point matters as bid ask spread is always an issue with these, but I got AILIH, AILNP, UEPEP, and UELMO now. If any of them move around, I will scalp and buy a different one.
                Bought a little CNTHO today to join my recent CNLPL and CNTHP repurchases. First time I have got the CNL trio band all back together since 2015, lol.
                See this is why they are safe… I am using CLP as the example, but Ameren is in the process already with PSC….CLP said govt told them to accept non payments for next 24 months…Then next sentence CLP said they already were doing it as they were working with state PSC to set up accrual account, and then get it all back next regulatory rate filing.. They gonna get theirs… But CLP did also say very few people were not paying anyways.
                When things went to hell in 2008-09 banks were getting clobbered and preferreds were down 75% or more and many needed bailouts. Utes needed nothing and prices bottom out down a third instead of 3/4 before recovering quicker. Just like the flash crash in March. Price doesnt always indicate stress of company but how am I supposed to know? I cant read a bank balance sheet and it doesnt mean anything anyways as the devil is in the minutia that is unknowable for peons. Utes were clearly just buy/sell imbalances.
                But remember safety in payment doesnt always equate to safety in price. You have to be careful on entry points especially the illiquids as they tend to trade counter to liquid issues. Take my UELMO purchase though its a very low yielder it was buyable near its 5 year low today. During the March route it actually went up on a few minimal trades. So these will trade oddly due to the extreme illiquidity and small old floats.

                1. Grid,

                  I, too, was able to pick up 100 CNTHO at $52.08 this morning. Wish I had put in for more, it went as low as $52.00.

                  1. Ya I know Inspy, I screwed up also and didnt react quick enough to get more of those.

                    1. Looks like someone is testing the waters of some Illiquid Ute Preferreds today. 1 share trades at a high price in AILLN, AILLM, AILLI.

                      Alabama Power ALPVN traded $47.70 higher with 1 share as well.

                      Wonder what is the intent behind all these trades?

                    2. Inspy, It is possible they are testing to see if there are any hidden shares that could be intercepted lower and see if there is a trading price limit wall somewhere below ask.
                      What is shown is not always what price can be had. For example me today, as I start to prune a few of my PCG shares… On way home from course I noticed my standing ask of $23.61 for 200 for PCG-D was unmolested and standing bid was $23.40…I changed my order to sell at market and guess what..They sold at $23.735.. Over 12 cents higher than my all day ask was at…They are thieves and they have to be taught a lesson every now and then and this is how I do it.

                    3. Grid – Re what you did today with PCG-D shares, meaning changing your limit order SELL to a market order SELL and then ending up getting your trade executed HIGHER than your original, sat there unmolested all day limit order – out of curiosity what percentage of the times have you done this and had it work against you instead of in your favor??? I’ve got to assume you’ve got a second sense about you as to when you think this will work before you do it, right???

                    4. 2WR, I actually do it quite often and it works in this manner quite often. As basically I only play in illiquids which these generally are. It also works the opposite way too. Getting no where with a bid, and then change and fire off a market order buy. Last week I did it with EP-C and bought a dime cheaper than my stranded bid was sitting at.
                      I always make sure the standing bid or ask provides a necessary floor (or ceiling) to handle my transaction though. Also, volume has had to gone dead for a few hours also.

                2. For someone in my age group and life circumstances, Gridbird has been a Godsend. I now have ~40% of my holdings in illiquid IG preferreds he has discussed and have also harvested mid-5 figures of cap gains from them without even really trying, certainly not to the extent that Grid does. My call risk is now zilch. Any calls will bring me even more cap gains.

                  I’ve never felt so comfortable with what I hold. My only major changes in this Covid black swan era have been to sell down my IG bank preferreds–SBNCM, BAC-L, WFC-L, CBKLP, etc., so that they now make up only ~7% of my holdings. Another 30+% are in the very best MLPs–mostly EPD & MMP–which have never cut their tax-deferred distributions. Huzzah! Those I’ve had for over a decade & will die with them. The rest of my stuff is a gaggle of old treasuries at rates that I will never see again. How fortunate.

                  If you are a player, fine. Do that. I am not. I just want to get paid and sleep well, knowing I have the finances to handle the contingencies I see before me. In short, I believe I am set, come what may.

                  I say all this not to brag, but as an homage to Gridbird. I can’t believe the knowledge and wisdom he dispenses daily. For free. Just tosses it off to anybody who has a question. I bow to the light within him and hope that those who can benefit will listen and absorb what he says.


                  1. Well Camroc, it works because mostly its an extension of what you already did. Invest in quality and trust and believe in what you own. And like you, if things appear to be changing, its better to get out early than late. You have gotten a bit too good though. Too many times I will tell you about something available or something I just missed and you will say…Ya, I know, I already bought some. 😀

                    1. I’ve said it before Grid, you’re a gem. For those who may not have considered it, sharing info about illiquid securities can make it harder to execute strategies. Gridbird has always helped others just because that’s who he is.

                  2. camroc, Thank you for sharing that thoughtful note. I too would like to recognize Gridbird, as a mentor and now a friend. For countless hours of selfless giving, for teaching, guiding and providing enough intel for those willing to do the homework to be successful in the preferred arena – how could any of us repay him.

                    When I bumped into Gridbird on SA in January of 2018 I knew just a little less than zero about preferreds. It was an article regarding SO and I’d written a comment and he responded talking about something called preferred shares maybe being a better option. Well, I remembered the term from grad school but the definition was long-ago lost. As is so easy to do with Gridbird, we struck a chord and the rest is history.

                    Two and half years and 1000s of hours of study later, running a good-sized book with all the bells and whistles, Wall Street worthy spreadsheets, data feeds, owning rock-solid preferreds I may never sell, navigating crashing markets with ease and knowing what the CEOs had for dinner…whenever self aggrandizement or a bit of swagger challenges the better sense of modesty, it is quickly extinguished remembering that fundamentally, the entire project was built on the coaching and tolerance of someone else.

                    The opportunity to give back on Tim’s site has been satisfying in it’s own right as well, but then again, it’s nothing more than paying it forward with a guiding light not quite as bright as the one provided to myself.

                    Grid, I know you’ll find some humorous way to deflect the gratitude, though from Camroc, myself and I know many others, take a bow.

                    We’d of course be remiss not to also thank Tim. Inexorably patient and pragmatic, so many of us, knowing it or not, are deeply in debt to him. Thank you again Tim. Thank you.

                    1. Camroc and Alpha8 well said. Thank you to everyone contributing here especially Grid and Tim. ATB

                  3. Camroc,well said couldn`t agree more Gridbird has helped me a lot along with this site.
                    Thanks B/L

  28. I have been looking at SRC-A as a sock drawer holding.

    It has a C rating on III. I’m not exactly sure what this is and if its even relevant.

    Any experts on this or SRC-A as a sock drawer in general thanks.

    1. Hi Bill W, Just an opinion and not an expert on anything, though I would not classify an issue rated Ba1/BB+ (Below Investment Grade aka Junk) as a sock drawer holding.

      1. Alpha – I just found the credit rating (had not seen that earlier). Agree with you thanks.

  29. Some of my young adult children have modest savings, but the 1.4% bank savings account rates are rather bare-bones. They’d be new to the market, looking for safety(!), stability, simplicity, not shooting for highest yields, probably buy-and-hold, with no mess, no fuss, and no smell. To them, 4.5% – 5% is a huge jump from current savings rates.

    If I were to recommend some uber-sock-drawer options for them, would I misleading them by suggesting any of these?
    PSA-* (several good options near par, such PSA-J or -K)
    GGT-E or -G
    maybe USB-O or -P
    or possibly SR-A or IPLDP?

    1. Dave, I am reading (maybe incorrectly) they are wanting savings income. The options presented are misappropriating objectives and investments. If they are wanting to just save and thus preserve capital for say a house in a couple years, this has never been the way to do it. This is a miss match of combining short term goals to perpetual investing instruments.

      1. Good comments, thank you. For most of them, “saving for a house in a couple of years” isn’t on the radar. It’s probably more long-term (4 to 10+ yrs), so that they’re not falling behind inflation (or barely keeping up with inflation). It is money I expect they’ll have for a good period of time. They’re probably too cautious for commons, especially in this volatile time. Just trying to find something that would be considered quite reasonably safe but is in the 4-5% range… thank you!

        1. Dave, the ones you mentioned are definitely considered in the safe range of preferreds, in terms of ability to pay dividend. Of course you would need to explain to them the value of these issues could go up or down a lot based on several factors despite income stream. And of course proper price entry point matters and bid spread fleecing varies with the above issues also.
          Also there are income funds out there to provide instant diversification for smaller investors, they may provide an option.

  30. I bought some WELPM today for $123. It is non-callable from WEC and yields 6% at that price. It looks like there are still shares available for those that are interested.

    1. @ Tex
      I got excited when I read your post.

      But you should check your math on the 6% yield at $123.
      I’ll pass.

        1. The ask for WELPM is $126 today. That’s a yield of 4.76% for those looking to add to their sock drawer.

          1. Tex,

            For 4.76%, I would rather buy something like USB-A. Same yield, both qualified. WELPM rated Baa1, USB-A rated A3. The big kicker…WELPM yield is set, while USB-A is trading at the “floor” rate with potential to rise if interest rates rise.

  31. Folks, what are you thinks about a HWM-P (former Arconic/Alcoa) as a sock drawer candidate? It’s fell about 1/3 of his pre-covid price and now offer nice 5,9% divi.

    1. Yuriy, Stock symbol I found was ARNC-P Which now looks like the security is going to be liability of Howmet and symbol may be changing to HWM- see some interest in the stock but not a lot of shares selling and low to high bid ask.
      There are articles about how it was doing a reverse split into 2 companies. It merged with Alcoa in 2016 now they are splitting the company back up into 2 companies again. The rolling mills will be ARNC and Howmet will be the Alum specialty products for aviation and aerospace. Alum is a commodity, same as the lead I work with.
      Anything with aviation you need to do a deep dive, who their competitors are, who they do business with ( think Boeing and G.E )
      I don’t follow so know nothing. If You like it do like several others here have said. Put in a low ball bid ( 68.00 ? ) see if you get it once trading picks up when the split companies have time to adjust and investors know more.

      1. Tried to look into this ARNC- issue just for fun….. It seems to be a tiny issue totaling $55 mil. so it’s certainly not going to be a burden, however, it also seems as though quantum has it wrong as far as ratings…. Based on the CUSIP listed this issue is NOT rated by Moodys at all, however Moodys did downgrade the preferreds that they do rate from B1 to B2. I think both Moodys and S&P have them on negative watch. Interestingly Fitch actually upgraded Howmet from BB- to BB on 4/1 It seems tough to figure out exactly where this preferred ends up corporate wise in the split, but I suppose the guaranty remains no matter what. I suppose everyone might have a different definition of a sock drawer eligible security, but a perpetual preferred below investment grade would at best end up in a special drawer of socks in need of darning. Still a tiny little preferred issue originally issued in 1947 does seem to have some survivability to it, doesn’t it.

        1. Thank you 2whiteroses for the more in depth look. Does it have cumulative dividends ?
          Done with my posts for now. Being a plant nut I am going to run over to Davis to pickup a Avocado tree from another member of the Rare Fruit Growers.
          Enjoy your day.

          1. Charles M – I’d only be going by what quantum says were I to confirm it’s cumulative…. They say they are… I say I only did this for fun and didn’t happen to see a definitive answer anywhere nor did I find a prospectus…. I wonder if you searched EDGAR if they go back to 1947? Grid, you probably know that answer……lol

            1. 2WR, Usually you can track down the meat of the prospectus of these old issues through supplemental links (usually there are many so you gotta poke and hope and then keep poking) on their annual filings in SEC. Being I have no personal interest in a cyclical industry low yield preferred, I am not going to dig this one out. 🙂

        2. Many of these very old issues arent held up in price by their credit rating but by their illiquidity. Hence the reason I love illiquids as they generally hold up in times of turmoil. But I try to buy illiquids in quality commiserate with price and credit, not just illiquidity.
          Look at KSU-. An old NONcumulative rail preferred. About BB+ quality if last 2018 credit rating of BBB senior unsecured is still correct. KSU- is 4%, $25 “par” non callable old issue that last trade at $28.02. Who would assign any value to that? There are gillions of preferreds with that quality that pay better than its 3.57% perpetual yield. Yet it always trades above relative value because of its illiquidity. International Paper also has one that trades like this also. I would be a player of IP preferred around $80 but that isnt happening despite that is really what its worth at best on a relative basis.

        3. “Fitch Upgrades Howmet (formerly Arconic Inc.) to ‘BBB-‘ On Spin-off Completion; Outlook Stable”
          They are IG by the Fitch, isn’t it?
          I just seek something from the Aerospace-Industrial sector for my pref’s portfolio asset allocation and there are only two companies which have prefs issues – GE who have a lot of non-exchange traded $1000 prefs and the this one.
          I don’t like GE mainly cause of their high debt level and chronically loss-making. And they are certainly not quite an Aerospace company…

          1. Yurly – Fitch rates senior unsecured BBB- You’ll see at the bottom of the article they rate the preferred BB up from BB-.

            1. Yep it was my mistake – I read the commentary inattentively and was also confused by the fact that I own some of their senior debentures which are IG according to Morningstar bond center.
              Thank you guys for a heads up.
              P.S. Btw now I see what their senior debt is trading with the 6+% yield so it make no sense to buy prefs.

    2. Yuriy, this from the S&P Global bond report on Alcoa:

      Research Update: Howmet Aerospace Inc.
      Outlook Revised To Negative On Weaker Credit Metrics Due To Coronavirus; Ratings Affirmed April 16, 2020

      Rating Action Overview- The coronavirus is having a significant impact on global air travel that will likely lead to lower commercial aircraft production and aftermarket demand, which will likely result in Howme tAerospace Inc.’s earnings and cash flow in 2020 being weaker than we had previously expected.- Therefore, we are revising our outlook on the company to negative from stable and affirming all of our ratings, including our ‘BBB-‘ issuer credit rating on the company.- The negative outlook reflects the likely weaker credit metrics due to lower earnings and cashflow as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

  32. I bought 100 shares of AILLI today at $102.50 for a yield of 5.03%. Redemption price is $102. Looking at, I’m seeing that this has only traded 12 times since 1/1/2019 so it doesn’t trade much but I’m not sure why that is. It looks like AILLI has 50,000 shares outstanding while some of the other Ameren Illinois issues have similar shares outstanding but seem to trade much more frequently.

    I primarily sold some past call bank preferreds to free up the cash to buy it. Given the current climate, it felt safer to be in a cumulative utility rather than a non-cumulative bank.

    1. Tex, Congrats you beat me by 5 seconds….They were still there when I entered matching ask bid and by the time I hit the buy button I saw the 100 shares trade and assumed they were mine….They werent….I pulled the bid immediately as I knew it was a waste of time from there.

        1. I was lucky enough to get a measly 20…slow process but patiently building a nice size position in this issue.

  33. Tim,
    Thanks for your post on the mReits on Wednesday. Helpful in these chaotic times. Good luck with your SDS trade. I do the same with VIXY, crazy volatility.
    I currently own AATRL based on previous sock drawer comments. Like everything it has traded down significantly but given that AMG is a solid Investment Grade company it seems very over sold. I re-read the prospectus today to better understand the rules for deferring payments and it seems very unlikely AMG would do that unless their business was in severe trouble. Any reason not to be buying here under $30 ?

  34. Tim,
    GDL-C is puttable until March 26.
    Now trading below $50.
    Isn’t this like free money (assuming GDL does not go bk in 7 days), so we should buy millions of shares < $50?

    I think my question is: how is it possible it trades below $50, and are you buying lots of it?

  35. For those looking to add, the ask on APRDM from Alabama Power is currently $106 x 300. The yield is 4.64% at that price. This is BBB+ rated by S&P. It was issued in 1961 so the call risk is probably fairly low. The redemption price is $103.23.

    Also, the ask on IPWLK is $104 which yields 5.43%.

    1. Now is a good time to add to sock drawer issues. I sold some holdings at a loss, and looking to put the proceeds into IPWLK.

      If we are facing several years of low interest rate environment like Japan, these Utility illiquids are a safe way to go.

        1. IPLDP just above 23 today. PPWLM at 130 if you can get it at that price.

          SR-A 23.51. Bargains galore?!

          1. Having a little trouble understanding why SR-A has become such a darling of so many on the board, here. It’s a split IG perpetual preferred from a company that while it may be strong, still has most of its eggs in one basket – that being nat gas. Nat gas pricing has been obliterated the past few years as most know. There’s little diversity in services that I see with this company, however, I note that I do own a small slice of this issue. Not questioning why anyone is buying it, just find it interesting that it’s being named in so many posts.

            I thought that sock drawer issues were more favorably viewed if they were very illiquid, dual IG, term dated, etc. Perhaps some of my fellow posters have multi-layered chests of drawers?

            1. I think it may be that it’s a darling of the venerable Gridbird. It’s not in my sock drawer, much less my lockbox, but I did sell some WELPM (out of my lockbox) and bought more IPLDP and SR-A, something I may regret later, but it improved my portfolio yield a bunch. I think both will continue to pay, but unlike my WELPM, they are not uncallable and will likely be gone someday. After me, I hope.

              P.S. EPD printed a 12 today due to oil’s continued malaise and more funds deleveraging. I bought a bit more of that, too. Couldn’t help myself. In for a penny…


              1. Cam,
                You’ve got ____ of steel to still be buying EPD down here. I first got in about 6 yrs ago and have added and sold some along the way, but always maintained a core position. Reality tells me though, that I will not live long enough to see this thing ever turn to the green in my portfolios. Same with XOM common shares or KMI. While they weren’t necessarily bought for cap appreciation, they also weren’t bought to continue bleeding all down my leg. But such is the chance that we take when we roll the dice. GLTA.

                1. Nah, my cojones are pretty much like everybody else’s. I’m just topping off as a calculated risk that EPD will pay longer than I can live. Randa & Teague continue to buy in the open market, recently over 200K units between 15 and 19.

                  I have no expectation of ever getting even, but I don’t have heirs to worry about. So I just enjoy the income now. Whatever’s left when I leave the party will mostly go to charity. They can deal with any fallout.

                  Most of my buying now, as I said, is in IG ute preferreds. If things get bad enough so that their lights go out, well… I suspect dividend income will not be high on the list of things to worry about.

                  I can’t believe I ate all that freeze-dried food I had stashed away a couple years ago. The mac & cheese actually wasn’t that bad. lol


            2. A4I, Let me take a stab for my reasons…Remember this is almost entirely a regulated nat gas utility. Very tiny minor operations outside of this. It is not an MLP or piper, it provides nat gas heating to residential and industrial customer. For many people like me in my area its the YING to Yang of Ameren. Ameren provides my A/C and lighting and Spire heats my house and water heater. Main operations are in Alabama and MO which are positive regulatory environments for utilities.
              Earnings are projected to increase 4-7% ongoing and they just increased common dividend 5% last quarter. EBIDTA up 5% from last year…Have an almost billion dollar credit facility. The origins of the company date back to 1840s. Im just very familiar with it being my local ute and headquarters are here locally.
              Now on illiquids….This is my opinion only…But, dont confuse illiquidity with stability. Illiquids wont trade in tandem with liquids because they dont have the general sell pressure…But trust me the selling will come in time…The yield differential is getting just way too much..Look at the price charts of old illiquid utes. Most are around 4% and pretty close to par price. That is not sustainable over a period of time when issues with same quality are yielding near 6% and more..They will drop in time. Look at their 20 year price charts. It isnt like they just stay around par because they are illiquid. Go back ten years ago on old $100 low yield issues and you can see many of these issues trading in $60-70 range. And it will take a return to that to generate a 6% yield.. Its really just a matter of math, credit quality and time…
              IPLDP is higher quality for example credit wise than many of these, but it has dropped way more than illiquids now. Has it suddenly become less safer? No, it just has the liquidity and people are selling liquidity. I have rotated a bit too early into more liquids from illiquids…Ouch…But eventually the worm will turn one way or the other in time, because the discrepancy is too much. Either the liquids will climb back, or the illiquids will fall back more in line yield wise with their sector and same quality peers.

              1. Grid
                Thanks the very clear explination. Are we to assume that the SRAs of the world could find themselves selling for under 25 for a longer period time giving their other qualities? If we buy low and they continue to pay this may be acceptable for part of a portfolio but the buyer certainly has to understand this when they get into it. Thanks again your insights. SC

                1. SC, These can go under par and stay under par for years. If credit spreads widen (or panic and forced selling doesnt ever stop, ha) these could go lower. As one can see if takes a lot of painful price movement just to raise an issue 25 basis points in yield, let alone 200-300 bps.
                  And the fact many were issued with this generational low yields at par it could find many trapped. Take my favorite example UEPEN 3.5% issue from 1940s…It basically has been under par for 70 consecutive years! In 2008-09 crisis, many high quality 6% “par issues” with no credit stress languished in the 15-17 range for quite a period of time. The market owes us nothing price wise.
                  Seller interest, volatility, credit quality, credit spread between government bonds and corporate debt will all factor into the pricing. Its just at various times different ones mentioned above will effect them more at different times.
                  As far as say using SR-A as the example, I definitely enjoyed it more buying at IPO and flipping for $2 and flipping 4-5 other times for $1-$2 at a time more than my most recent foray…Buying at $26, $25, and 24, and $23. In fact I enjoyed the former a lot more, ha!
                  But for me if it sits at $22 forever, I can accept that too (as if I would have a choice) as I reinvest all proceeds and it would just increase my yield longer term. If I am going to stay invested, job one for me is to own issues that I can sleep and snore knowing the divi check is coming! Its not in me to buy PEI-B at $3 and try for a big score (which very well could happen, who knows). But every day I would worry about the divi suspension notice coming.
                  In these times liquidity and cash is king. Look at Boeing. In just a few days time it has went to completely drawing down revolver and requesting Federal loans for cash..They are in crisis mode despite a still BBB- bond rating (that just got lowered). Credit ratings cant keep up with day to day events.
                  This is why hospitality reits have been excoriated, nobody knows if they have cash to get through the crisis.

                  1. Well said, Grid. I think what has complicated the game here has been the ‘newer’ tendency of some to get into ‘flipping’ the securities on the fixed income side – or what used to be known as fixed income, in my mind. Isn’t this what jacked up the common side of things so much – meaning speculators, or these damned machine trading algo’s and bot bots driving the car like they stole it? Seems like a lot of this type of activity has now migrated over to the fixed side because it’s typically been deemed ‘safer’ to play in that sandbox. The only thing that is fixed right now is that the recent ‘up’ days are not as high as they used to be and the ‘down’ days are getting worse than they used to be. Lower highs and lower lows. Until this plays out and stabilizes, the playbook is useless. And we’re still far from the max pain point, IMO.

                    1. Fixed investments is no longer fixed investments. It is being traded like common stocks and other gambling methods.

                    2. A4I, At the end of the day as you know, these really are just an income stream play mostly at the lower end of the capital structure with some residual annuity sell off value. That value is down now.
                      I am in preferreds for the income stream only. It was only several years later I learned I could stay in same credit quality and exploit trading movements to squeeze some cap gains out with the income. A good run of 5 yrs doing that. Im assuming now its back to the original purpose. But if I see increase value by losing money to sell, and buy something else, that I will too.
                      I have no special mental brain power to determine if many of these go bankrupt or even mine down to $5. I have posted many times through the past year how these $25 preferreds have cratered to $5, and eventually go belly up or continue paying. As my dad said several years ago.” I dont care if the damn thing goes to $1 as long as I am getting my 6%”. Some people may not feel that way, ha. Since I am dumb, the only way I can play is with companies that have good balance sheets, have cash (or little present need for it) or access via revolvers and such, and a fairly strong stream of earnings.

              2. Hey Grid, OR anyone in the forum, is there anything in the prospectus For KTBA that one should be worried about? Can one buy this and throw it in the sock drawer and forget about it. Thanks in advance, ATB.

                1. Tim,
                  It’s about as bulletproof as you’re going to find – so long as T stays solvent. I own it and am not worried. Just look at how it’s held up compared to so many others in the ETD and PFD space. I take comfort in that. Nevertheless, you’re still 100% at risk of losing it all.

    2. ALPVN from AL Power now has an ask of $103.45 x 200 which yields 4.45%. Redemption is $104.20.

      WELPP from Wisconsin Electric (WEC) is available for $90.50 which yields 3.98%. Redemption is $101.

  36. The test of the sock drawer is upon us..

    No greater day than today for a test..

    MINT and NEAR down 2% at the moment

      1. They are invested in short term bonds, not necessarily completely investment grade… I am disappointed by move also but notice these are trading at a slight discount (depending on when you invest). A lot of the Gold ETFs were at slight premiums for the better part of the month.

        But really the sock drawer test involves those that are illiquid, credit quality preferreds or baby bonds and how they do in days like today.

        1. Crazy for NEAR, which is basically an IG money market fund, to be 2% below NAV this morning. It was down more than BKLN lol. Was a little worried one of their top 10 holdings had blown up.

          I’m already way overexposed to NEAR, but had to at least consider using margin to go all-in. Probably should have.

    1. IPWLK hasn’t changed today. Actually if I accepted the current bid it would be up for the day. It’s a good one.

    2. 0.2% for Mint and near. .maybe selling pressure from those raising cash gave it a brief dip.

      gold and treasury funds are the only thing up for me. JPMJs 4.75% still treading above par.

  37. I put a sell order out for 25 shares of IPWLO that I hold it my retirement account for $95/share. I’m looking to raise some additional cash to buy common stocks. I figure someone should want it based on it yielding 4.42% and being 92.2% of redemption price of $103. Are there any tips for getting grey market/odd lot trades to trigger?

    1. Tex there are no established market makers for grey issues. Its like separate stores instead of one big tent. In make its entirely possible you could see a sell below your standing ask price. Plus sub 100 share orders of this ilk could possibly get overlooked/ignored.

    2. You can’t even get a b/a quote. Totally blindfolded. I’ve been bidding 90 for a round lot off & on for several days with nary a bite.

      Like Grid says, you’re totally in the dark on this one.

  38. First time clicking on the sock drawer tab.
    I see my TY-R limit sell at 54.66 will be forever memorialized on this board.
    It was my first preferred buy. Someone mentioned it on SA a few years back, and after that I pretty much switched from commons to the emotionless prfds.

  39. I picked up some CNLHP today for around $50.20 which gets a yield of 4.48%. Redemption price is $50.50 and S&P rated BBB+. A lot of shares moved. With the direction of interest rates are headed and considering CNLHP was issued in 1963, I have no idea why someone was selling so much.

  40. Here’s a couple maybe worth checking out:

    UEPEP at $102.30 for a yield of 4.46%. Redemption price is $102.47.

    SOCGM is $31.95 for a yield of 4.69% and it is non-callable.

    1. Tex, in your post, I think you meant SOCGP instead of SOCGM?

      UEPEP is a consideration so long as one is content with the low 4.46% yield – but offsetting this with high safety and sustainability. I have a small position bought at $102.10, but will add should the price fall below $102.

  41. Gridbird, Is IPLDP worth picking up at $25.35? In the off chance they do not call it for a few quarters. Loss of a few cents otherwise.

    1. Hster, I bought a couple hundred more a few minutes ago. Your getting over 350 bps premium to 10 year. Not many of those available in uteville with no call loss possibility. Doesnt mean it cant go lower, but there will be no credit issue here when this all settles down.

      1. Thanks for the heads up Gridbird. Bot only 100 for fun before I wrote you just in case you came back affirmative. I’ll get serious tomorrow. Or maybe put in a limit order for tomorrow morning. The ex-dividend date is in a few days.

        1. Hster, we are prisoners to market reactions, but in a 1.5% environment it would pop back eventually. Its been through the taper tantrum right after it was issued and drove it down to $21, but was back to $25 in 6 months. It sold off in $22 range in Dec 2018 credit spread rout but recovered quickly. I bought then and should have bought more, but whatever. Anyways just showing that high quality can have volatility also. Rates were higher then though also…. Tomorrow who knows….

          1. Gridbird, I picked up a few hundred more this morning for a starter pack but will wait to see what happens ex-dividend. We’ll see if there is a mini-taper tantrum this summer but if there is a selloff, it won’t be the Dec 2018 style dumping where interest rates were being raised. I think the fed has been chastened but more importantly this crazy indebted economy cannot support higher rates and the U.S. is in yearly trillion+ in deficit. But I still have half in cash reserves so I could hold out for decades if need be and collecting more than 5% is a treat!

            p.s. Gridbird- are you by chance from the power industry and that’s why you are gridbird or are you into spreadsheets. My hubs and I were trying to figure out origins of your name.

            1. Hster, You gave me a great laugh! There is no great Oz behind this curtain. I dont even know how to make a spreadsheet. I use the free plug and play Yahoo finance spreadsheet to monitor all my stuff in one area. My long time GF works for local ute, but the origins of my nickname is not that either…Gridbird is the alter nickname for the Big Red St. Louis Football Cardinals that Arizona stole from us. Media called them Gridbirds (Gridiron) to differentiate between baseball Cardinals.
              I always keep a big portion of my preferreds in Utes. Because when push comes to shove and they get in trouble they will line someones pocket to stay solvent via legislatures or public service commission, and let rate paying customer prisoners foot the bill. I bought 400 more IPLDP today at 25.37. I have way too much of this, but right now Im staying in a ship I feel comfortable drowning in, ha. I will peel off some at some point. I have to be done now, but if it dropped to 25.25 before end of day, I will buy more somehow someway. It goes exD tomm.

            2. Hster–Grid doesn’t even know how to use a computer–but he is an wizard on his smart phone 🙂

              1. Tim, I know how to turn on my ipad basically. My smart phone is barely smart since it cost $50. 🙂

                1. I still have a dumb phone. And I use a desktop computer with Windows 7. But not with a dial-up connection.

  42. Related to our conversations on illiquid/sock drawer preferreds (AILLL, SOCGM), I count 99 issues that are traded on the Pink Sheets and are still paying dividends. Note that most preferreds have the NYSE as their primary exchange so they tend to have fewer extreme price excursions. I can publish the list if anyone is interested. I don’t think Tim includes this field in his database.

    1. Tex 2, Have you ever used the official OTC Markets website? They have a screening tool that shows all their trading preferreds which are the pink sheets in various levels. Including the crossover Canadian issued preferreds. Its a great little tool.

  43. What is the sentiment on SLMNP at current prices of $!,040+. I was able to pick up a very few just before the last Ex Date reasonably (I thought.) and would like a few more possibly. What is a decent purchase price now?

    1. WendyW, There may be duration risk, but even closer to $1,100 appears SLMNP would still be priced well inside the current market. Keep in mind there is about $6.50 of accrued dividends as we approach the next ex-date circa 04.13.

  44. Didn’t someone sell AILLL (callable anytime for 25) for 28.50 just last week?

    Well, it hit 29.50 today. That buy took real bravery. Still, I didn’t sell any of mine.

    So. Who’s the fool? I will only admit that I do live on a hill. 🙂


    1. Camroc, I was the seller of 200 AILLL at $28.50 last week.
      I tried to buy back, but got only 50 shares at $27.69 today.

      I seriously doubt the $29.50 price can be sustained, am fully expecting it to drop back below $28 shortly. My bid remains at $27.69.

      1. Bob, I wish I was a seller at this price, but Im already sold out. I strictly buy in low $27 range and flip for 50 cents. I wont risk holding long term. Of course years ago it was buy at $26 and flip at $27…Ah, the good old days!
        I have called a no call on AILLL for 7 years running and been right all along. I have given a bunch of reasons and Camroc should have them all memorized as to why. That is why he dont sell! But, I dont trust any issue with a premium such as this, so I dont hold.
        I had to force the broker to buy them for me in 2013 because he was worried about the call and paying a dollar premium past call. I had to tell him to shut up and buy.

        1. Well, maybe not memorized, Grid, but certainly well documented so that I can easily refer to your reasoning if my palms ever start getting sweaty. lol

          And if rates do go negative for a while and if AILLL does start bouncing over 30 consistently, then maybe I’ll peel some off. Otherwise, I’m prepared to eat any call that comes down the pike.


          1. Camroc, As you know, the divi for April has already been declared. The do nothing dummy board from subsidiary Ameren Ill has already did their one function and approved it. They slapped each other on the back and said, see ya in 3 months! 🤣

    2. ha! Camroc, Bravery? The man with the foolish grin may soon see the world spinning round.

  45. Is AGNCP appropriate for sock drawer holdings?
    It’s selling under par now $24.94 and I’m wondering if I should fill out the drawer as I only have a 6 pack.
    (Members on SA have told me it’s a pretty safe thing to hold.)

    1. AGNC (P or other) ….

      Sock drawer, no. It’s like a teenager that needs close supervision. But I sure do own it.

    2. Hster – I certainly agree with Bob on AGNC so if you’re thinking sock drawer-ish on the name, a read of what I wrote on 2/12 on AGNCO vs AGNCP in Reader Initiated Alerts might help you get over the hump on the name if not the issue. Throw in an expectation of greater price stability, which for me is important for sock drawer status, along with Bob’s teenager supervision requirement and AGNCO might be a better vehicle for the drawer but only your open sock drawer, not the closed one – you know the one you might seek to reorganize on a dull rainy day or to avoid taking a trip to the in-laws..

      1. Hster, Bob, 2wr, I also would not call AGNC preferreds sock drawer issues but you can certainly keep some on a shelf in the closet as they’re among the safest mREIT preferreds (along with NLY). Important to remember they’re primarily dealing with agency (FNMA, FHLMC) paper for which the underwriting criteria is about as tight as it has ever been. I could care less about the margins that kick in 4 or 5 years from now and may never manifest. Summarizing:

        Assuming rates are sideways…and assuming $25 value at call date. Neither will be true or exact, though they provide a basis for meaningful comparison. Using call dates as mileposts…

        At AGNCM call date of 4/15/2024: AGNCM cash to term is $6.20. AGNCN is $6.11. After over four years of hold: AGNCM wins.

        At AGNCO call date of 10/15/2024: AGNCM cash to term is $6.96. AGNCN is $6.98. AGNCO is $6.78. AGNCM and AGNCN tie for the win, AGNCO is dead last. We are now 4.75 years out from today.

        At AGNCP call date of 4/15/2025: AGNCM cash to term is $7.72. AGNCN is $7.86. AGNCO is $7.64. AGNCP is $8.14. AGNCP wins. AGNCN is 2nd, AGNCM is 3rd and AGNCO is dead last. We are now over five years from today.

        However, based on the current AGNCP pricing, AGNCP “wins” all current and interim (5 years) categories by a country mile. That will begin to change as AGNCP cruises to the $25.50+/share range, which is a near certainty to occur assuming the other issues are constant.

        1. Dear alpha8, Thanks for that thorough breakdown. I want to hold as long as possible so long term and even short term- I think AGNCP definitely has room to run. All that RQI rights offering new money has to buy something.

          I should have bought NLY-I when it came to market but I didn’t know much about MREIT preferreds having been forced from preferred CEFs to individual issues. I personally think there’s a large pool of new dumb money like me that want in on preferreds. None of my peers know anything remotely about preferreds. Surprisingly preferreds have not reached mainstream for something that pays so well.

          1. Hster, Yeh, I think we all have a coulda, woulda, shoulda drawer. Just watch your allocations. We don’t want to be knee deep in anything if the current starts pulling the wrong direction.

        2. Alpha, Thank you for the review. I put in a bid for 50 shares of AGNCP see if I get it.

      2. Thanks 2WR for pointing out your golden nuggets of analysis.
        Sometime next year at the first whiff of the fed raising rates, I’m sure we will have to reevaluate all our fixed income although we’ll all be scrambling right after elections. Until then, I’ll keep a side eye on them.

        Bob- Teenagers can grow up to be reliable adults. I guess I’m so happy at the prospect of collecting 6+% that I don’t mind holding it forever.

  46. I wonder if Schwab will show these as non-qualified. They showed ALP-Q as non-qualified on my 1099. 🙁

    1. Alan, I just checked my brokerage accounts. All were correctly done QDI, including the Canadian resets. You need to find the guy in charge of correctly implementing proper tax procedures and put a paddle to his arse. And tell him you are coming back in a week reshape that rear again if it isnt done by then!

      1. Gridbird – do you mind disclosing what OTC issues you had last year and with which broker? I think that could help the rest of us poor Schwab folks figure out how to restructure things.

        1. Tex, Which specific ones are you in question over? I trade a bunch of them. And to be honest I just looked at 1099 Consolidated form on TD and Ally. And all my dividends were qualified. Which matches of course prospectus. To be honest I dont think they program the holding period, because I get QDI whether I held long enough or not. And Ally, well they even gave me QDI credit with some baby bonds.
          If you give me names I will let you know if I held them last year. Vanguard hasnt given me 1099 consolidated yet. But they are the least of my concerns because I have had Vanguard for years and they always give me QDI status even if the holding period wasnt met. They all get the short term cap gain and wash rules correct though.

          1. Hell, if Ally is giving QDI treatment to baby bonds that’s where I’m headed!

            Not really. I have to believe they will find that mistake at some point and issue a corrected 1099.

            1. I owe Uncle Sam, Bob. So I will give them time to correct as Im not filing until April.

      2. Thanks Gridbird. Schwab also showed SLMNP and EBBNF as non-qualified. I’ll call them the first of the week.

        1. Alan, Just remember these numbnuts arent the IRS. They dont get to set the rules and laws. You can manually override any of their pontifications as you have the tax law on your side.

      1. Thanks Tex. I’ll call on Tuesday when they reopen and will use this email if I don’t get any satisfactory results.

  47. Sorry, Tex. I was flipping through various screens (tasks) when I responded – and had forgotten that you stated that this was in your 1099 – rather than the transactions page – where I so often find those revisions. I own IPWLK, and in my 2019 1099 it is reported as QDI. As you know, there probably is a revision or two coming in the next couple of weeks. It may well be spontaneously resolved there.

  48. I have also had this issue with Schwab. Allegedly, it gets straightened out in the year end 1099. Have you also noticed that they often have preferred dividends taken back then reissued – usually a few dollars different. Their clearing house kinda sucks.

    1. I’m in the middle of my busy season at work. Here is the contact for a manager at Schwab’s client advocacy team in case anyone would like to reach out and try to get clarification on how they are determining QDI status on illiquids. It would be great if you could report back on what you learn:

      I may be reached Monday-Friday at 1-800-468-3774, extension 48768, between the hours of 11:30 AM and 8:00 PM Eastern or; via email me at


      Dawnn Lone
      Resolution Manager | Client Advocacy Team
      1-800-468-3774 / Fax 1-800-977-0122
      211 Main St
      Mail Stop: PHXPEAK
      San Francisco, CA 94105

  49. Tex, my Schwab 1099 conveys qualified dividends for all my sock drawer pfds but for two: SLMNP (OTC Pink No Information) and IPWLG (OTC Grey Market).
    Your IPWLO is OTC Grey Market. All others you listed should be fine at Schwab (if I am not mistaken).

    1. Aarod – thank you! So based on your 1099, Schwab seems to make the distinction on the OTC status? So 1) Pink No Information and 2) Grey are going to be non-qualified?

      It would be nice to have an idea of the expected tax treatment prior to purchasing.

      1. Ugh… same here. For those that have been here before, as it relates to SLMNP, do we have to contact Schwab to get them to amend it? If it’s non QDI, then I’ll pass and sell the position. Or, is it something that we just have to have the accountant correct at tax time? Thank you.

        1. “Ugh” is right. TDA got qdi right on every one of my illiquids. Every. One. Of. Them.

          I hope Schwab doesn’t eff everything up when they take over. Sigh. Just when you think you’re all set…


      2. Tex, it appears that way but I am not sure. Per Bob’s and Nomad’s posts conveying forthcoming Vanguard ban on purchases of four lowest OTC tiers. I had just checked my sock drawer pfds using the screener in Thus, the thought that could be the reason. I also hold SLMNP in Fido but my 1099 has not yet been issued.

        1. Aarod – I was just curious if you received your FIDO 1099 yet and what the SLMNP treatment was. Thanks!

          1. Hi Tex, yes, Fido reported SLMNP as QDI. My apologies as I failed to post here. Thanks for reminder and BR

            1. Thank you! Did you own any other illiquid preferreds or Canadians through Fido? If so, how were they handled on your 1099?

    1. Thanks but I’m not sure about the holding period being the issue. I bought the IPWLO shares on 9/10/2019 and I believe it’s a 90 day holding period for preferreds. Also, I thought brokers normally disclaim that they only report if the company is qualified and it’s up to you to reclassify if you don’t meet the holding requirement.

      1. Depends on the broker.
        some calculate holding period, some don’t.
        But the fact that it is illiquid pink sheet is irrelevant for US issuers.
        (it does matter for non-US, as it is not considered an established trading market), so you get some quirks with pink sheet shares from countries like Bermuda, that are considered not qualified.
        What also depends on the broker is the sophistication of their security master and/or whether they subscribe to a service that identifies qualified/non-qualified dividends

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