If you’re thinking about trading bonds or other fixed-income instruments, J.P. Morgan Investing should definitely be on your list of potential brokerage firms. We’ve done the research. Here’s everything you need to know:

Bonds through J.P. Morgan Automated Investing

J.P. Morgan Investing offers both robo and self-directed accounts. The former variety trades only ETFs. Some of these will be bond funds. Examples of bond funds in the program include:

- JPMorgan BetaBuilders 1-5 Year U.S. Aggregate Bond (BBSA)
- JPMorgan Core Plus Bond (JCPB)
- JPMorgan U.S. Aggregate Bond (JAGG)

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The bond funds invest exclusively in fixed-income securities. There are a variety of maturity dates and bond ratings on the securities held in the funds. The Core Plus Bond ETF holds 85 total bonds, which may be government, corporate, or agency debt. Ratings vary from AAA to below B.

Obviously, the investment-advisory arm of the company is using JPMorgan funds. An automated portfolio could also have a small cash position.

Requesting bond ETFs in a robo account is a fairly straightforward process. On the standard robo questionnaire, you simply need to specify a low risk tolerance and a short time horizon. The automated system will return a conservative portfolio (make sure the risk profile is set to conservative) with 75% of assets invested in fixed income or cash. It is not possible to have a larger fixed-income position than this.

Although there are no commissions on trades placed in an automated account, there is a management fee of 0.35% per year.

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Bond ETFs through J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing

Investors who don’t want to pay an account fee or who want a portfolio completely invested in fixed-income securities can accomplish both goals at J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing. This is the do-it-yourself arm of the company.

Self-directed traders are free to invest their entire cash balance in whatever they wish, which means they can avoid having the 25% minimum equity position.

Another advantage of going down the self-directed route is that bond ETFs from other fund families will be available, and some of these will hold foreign bonds. For example, we found these ETFs on the J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing website:

- SPDR® Bloomberg International Corporate Bond ETF (IBND)
- RiverFront Strategic Income Fund (RIGS)
- VanEck Green Bond ETF (GRNB)
- T. Rowe Price Floating Rate ETF (TFLR)

ETF trades inside self-directed accounts have zero commissions.

Bond Mutual Funds

Investors who prefer whole-dollar investing will find exactly that with mutual funds. J.P. Morgan Self-Directed Investing has a few thousand funds, some of which are hybrid bond-stock funds. Be sure to read the prospectus.

One example we found is FCBFX, the Fidelity Corporate Bond Fund. Having neither a load nor a transaction fee at J.P. Morgan Investing, the fund has a rating of 3 stars out of 5 from Morningstar (these ratings are shown on the fund profile on the J.P. Morgan Investing website).

Another fixed-income mutual fund we found is JCPUX. This is the JPMorgan Core Plus Bond Fund, which is the mutual fund sister of JCPB that we saw in the robo program.

Individual Bonds

Fixed-income traders who don’t want to mess with the indirect methods discussed so far can simply head over to the bond screener and find individual securities to trade. The fixed-income screener on the J.P. Morgan Investing website can be found by going to the Investments tab and clicking on the fixed-income link in the drop-down menu.

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Doing so will pull up the bond search wizard. It divides securities into four categories:

  • CD
  • Corporate
  • Muni
  • Treasury

Clicking on of the four possibilities generates a thorough screener with lots of search variables. We found:

  • Quantity
  • Price
  • Coupon
  • Treasury type
  • Rating
  • Sector
  • And more...

Entering values and clicking on the blue search button generates a list of results. This list shows various criteria, such as Moody’s credit rating, coupon rate, maturity date and current bid-ask spread. Clicking on the bond’s title produces a more though description sheet with details on next call date, outstanding size, minimum purchase amount, and more.

Placing a Trade

Clicking on the blue trade button on this pop-up window will create the bond trade ticket. There’s also a trade link for each bond in the search results.

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The fixed-income order form will display real-time data on several important issues. These include yield to maturity and current price and size. There’s a refresh button below these details to get up-to-the-second information.

There’s also a blue “Get price” button in the middle of the ticket. Enter the quantity of bonds desired and then click on this button to get pricing details on that specific order amount. If there’s a minimum quantity on the specific bond desired, the minimum will be displayed directly above the pricing button. Accrued interest is displayed under “Estimated order value.”

If everything looks good, go ahead and click on the blue preview button. Verify one last time and submit the order. It will be a fill-or-kill order, which means it will automatically execute in its entirety or be cancelled immediately.

CDs at Chase Bank

In addition to all the fixed-income opportunities available through J.P. Morgan Investing, the firm’s sister company Chase Bank offers certificates of deposit. These instruments are fixed income (payments and principal are both fixed) with FDIC insurance. Pre-existing deposit balances with Chase Bank in other accounts, including checking and savings balances, could reduce the amount of FDIC protection available for CDs.

For some CDs, Chase Bank customers with deposit balances above certain minimums will receive higher interest rates.

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Updated on 1/26/2023.

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