Mark Heppenstall

Chief Investment Officer
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Mark Heppenstall

Mr. Heppenstall serves as Chief Investment Officer of Penn Mutual Asset Management. Mark leads the investment team and is responsible for all investment management functions.

Prior to joining The Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company in June 2014, Mr. Heppenstall served as the Managing Director of Fixed Income for the Pennsylvania Public Schools Employees Retirement System (PSERS) from 1998 to 2014. At PSERS, Mr. Heppenstall was responsible for management of both internal and external fixed income strategies. Mr. Heppenstall has more than 25 years of experience managing fixed income assets for institutional investors.

Mr. Heppenstall graduated in 1984 from Vanderbilt University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in U.S. History. He also earned a Master of Science degree in Industrial Administration from the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University in 1987.

Mark has been a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charterholder since 1991.

Stories by Mark Heppenstall

Corporate Bond Credit Quality Moving Lower with Yields

By Mark Heppenstall | September 7, 2017

This week’s chart highlights the dramatic shift in credit quality for the corporate bond market during the past 30 years. Investment grade rated corporations have been on a 30-year borrowing binge judging by the increasing weight of BBB-rated credits in the Bloomberg Barclays Corporate Index. U.S. companies are taking advantage of lower and lower borrowing costs and embracing the use of higher leverage. Nearly half of the index is made up of BBB credits today ─ double the level from 30 years ago. Despite more than 60 companies being rated AAA in the 1980s, only Johnson & Johnson and Microsoft remain as the two U.S. companies with the top rating.

Geopolitical Risks, Market Forecasts and a Tax Reform Clause

By Mark Heppenstall | August 30, 2017

While trading slowed during the summer months, as it historically does, the headlines did not! From squashed healthcare reform to placing sanctions on North Korea to the Amazon/Whole Foods deal, there was no shortage of market-moving news in the last several months. Before we unofficially say goodbye to summer next week, we checked in with CIO Mark Heppenstall for his take on what’s been happening in the news cycle and its impact on markets as well as what investors can expect leading into the final quarter of 2017.

Misery Index on Track for New Lows

By Mark Heppenstall | July 13, 2017

The Misery Index, developed in the 1960s by Yale University economist Arthur Okun, has been a widely followed measure of national economic performance. The Index is calculated by simply adding together the trailing 12-month inflation rate and current unemployment rate. This week’s chart shows a 70-year history of the Misery Index in the U.S.

Credit Conditions Easing in the Face of Tighter Monetary Policy

By Mark Heppenstall | May 18, 2017

The Federal Reserve (Fed) Bank of St. Louis provides investors a weekly gauge of financial stress in the markets with its publication of the St. Louis Fed Financial Stress Index. The Index is constructed using 18 different financial market indicators: seven interest rate series, six yield spreads and five others indicators, including equity and fixed income market volatility. Readings above zero indicate above-average financial stress while values below zero suggest below-average financial stress.

Foreign Demand Driving Credit Spreads Tighter

By Mark Heppenstall | March 23, 2017

Despite recent signs of accelerating growth and inflation in the global economy, central bank monetary policy remains very accommodative. Short-term rates are stuck near or below the zero-level across most of the developed world, and more than $8 trillion in sovereign debt still trades with negative yields. Even BB-rated Portugal can issue 2-year bonds at just over 50 basis points (bps) today, less than half the rate paid by 2-year on U.S. Treasury notes.

Changes in Store for Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac

By Mark Heppenstall | February 16, 2017

The Trump Trade has emerged as new vernacular across the investment world since Election Day. In just three months, the Trump Trade has led to the Dow Jones Industrial Average breaking 20,000, a S&P 500 Index market capitalization in excess of $20 trillion and—maybe most remarkably—a hawkish Federal Reserve Chair, Janet Yellen.

Capital Market Outlook for 2017

By Mark Heppenstall | January 20, 2017

Nearly eight years into one of the most unloved bull markets ever for U.S. equities and credit, the rally now appears ready for “extra innings.” Despite increasingly full valuations and an earnings recession for U.S. companies during a recent five-quarter stretch, proposed economic policies under the Trump administration will be supportive of domestic economic growth and corporate profits.

Economic and Market Review for 2016

By Mark Heppenstall | January 10, 2017

The markets hit record highs in 2016, and we are taking a look back at the factors that influenced the U.S. and global markets throughout the year with a comprehensive economic review of 2016.

A Tale of Two Tantrums

By Mark Heppenstall | November 17, 2016

U.S. interest rates have been trending higher since July and gathered additional steam following last week’s surprising election results. However, despite the dramatic spike post-election, the increase in rates so far has yet to catch up with the move experienced during the taper tantrum in 2013.

TED Spread Widening: Still the Canary in a Coal Mine?

By Mark Heppenstall | August 11, 2016

Historically, a widening of the TED spread has provided an early warning indicator for periods of stress in the financial system and weak equity market performance. The TED spread recently reached 55 basis points, the widest level in five years and double the level from just six months ago.