Online help for income investors

Canada’s two bond rating agencies have moved into the income fund field, and that’s good news for investors.

Until now, there has been little analytical information available on which to base comparative judgments about the strengths and weaknesses of income trusts and funds. Some brokerage firms cover selected ones, but you have to be a client to have access to the research reports. Now everyone can read impartial reports on several (but by no means all) of these securities.

The leader in the field is Standard & Poor’s Canada, which currently offers Stability Ratings for 29 income trusts and funds. You can find this information here.

Dominion Bond Rating Service (DBRS) is also in the business of rating income funds, although so far it only has 10 on its list. The DBRS ratings and reports can be found here.

You will never find Stability Ratings for all income trusts and funds on either site, because a fee has to be paid to the rating service to get listed. Trusts thaare vulnerable to a low rating aren’t likely to apply, nor are those that are very small.

Adapted from an article that originally appeared in The Income Investor, a newsletter that specializes in guidance for those seeking low-risk income securities. For subscription information go to