Delaware Core Plus Bond Fund

Objective

Delaware Core Plus Bond Fund seeks maximum long-term total return, consistent with reasonable risk.

Strategy

The Fund invests at least 50% of its net assets in domestic (U.S.) investment grade debt securities. The Fund may also invest up to 30% of its net assets in high yield securities and up to 30% of its net assets in foreign securities.

Fund information
Inception date06/01/1992
Dividends paid (if any)Monthly
Capital gains paid (if any)December
Fund identifiers
NASDAQDUGIX
CUSIP246094502

Institutional Class shares are only available to certain investors. See the prospectus for more information. 

The performance quoted represents past performance and does not guarantee future results. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Current performance may be lower or higher than the performance quoted.

Total returns may reflect waivers and/or expense reimbursements by the manager and/or distributor for some or all of the periods shown. Performance would have been lower without such waivers and reimbursements.

Average annual total return as of month-end (01/31/2016)
YTD1 year3 year5 year10 yearLifetimeInception date
NAV (view definition)1.18%-1.31%1.90%3.73%5.36%5.50%06/01/1992
Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index1.38%-0.16%2.15%3.51%4.66%n/a
Average annual total return as of quarter-end (12/31/2015)
Current quarter1 year3 year5 year10 yearLifetimeInception date
NAV (view definition)-0.97%-0.28%1.39%3.58%5.22%5.47%06/01/1992
Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index-0.57%0.55%1.44%3.25%4.51%n/a

Returns for less than one year are not annualized.

Index performance returns do not reflect any management fees, transaction costs, or expenses. Indices are unmanaged and one cannot invest directly in an index.

Expense ratio
Gross0.95%
Net0.65%

Net expense ratio reflects a contractual waiver of certain fees and/or expense reimbursement from Nov. 27, 2015 through Nov. 28, 2016. Please see the fee table in the Fund's prospectus for more information.

Quarterly total returns @ NAV
Year1st quarter2nd quarter3rd quarter4th quarterAnnual return
20151.94%-1.70%0.49%-0.97%-0.28%
20142.45%2.43%-0.21%1.11%5.89%
20130.32%-3.11%0.50%1.07%-1.27%
20120.49%2.56%2.41%0.57%6.15%
20111.01%2.38%2.36%1.80%7.76%
20102.93%2.42%3.52%-0.90%8.14%
20090.23%8.14%8.49%2.07%20.03%
20081.59%-0.91%-3.43%1.56%-1.26%
20071.20%-0.67%2.36%2.36%5.33%
2006-1.19%-0.25%4.13%0.67%3.32%

Institutional Class shares are only available to certain investors. See the prospectus for more information. 

Portfolio characteristics - as of 01/31/2016
Number of holdings684
Effective maturity (weighted average) (view definition)6.88 years
Effective duration (weighted average) (view definition)5.10 years
Annualized standard deviation, 3 years (view definition)3.36
SEC 30-day yield with waiver (view definition)2.16%
SEC 30-day yield without waiver (view definition)1.80%
Portfolio turnover (last fiscal year)313%
Portfolio composition as of 01/31/2016Total may not equal 100% due to rounding.
Mortgage-backed securities40.6%
Credits30.2%
U.S. government securities21.0%
Asset-backed securities8.2%
Top 10 holdings as of 01/31/2016
Holdings are as of the date indicated and subject to change.
List excludes cash and cash equivalents.
Holding% of portfolio
FNCL FEB TBA4.7%
United States Treasury Note/Bond 1.750 12/31/20204.4%
FNCL MAR TBA3.8%
FNCL MAR TBA3.6%
United States Treasury Note/Bond 3.000 11/15/20453.1%
United States Treasury Note/Bond 2.250 11/15/20252.1%
FNCL AS55961.7%
FNR 2011-80 CB1.6%
United States Treasury Floating Rate Note 0.473 10/31/20171.4%
United States Treasury Note/Bond 1.750 1/31/20231.0%
Total % Portfolio in Top 10 holdings27.4%

Holdings are as of the date indicated and subject to change.

Top sectors as of 01/31/2016
List excludes cash and cash equivalents.
Sector% of portfolio
MBS and CMOs34.5%
Investment grade credits24.0%
U.S. treasury securities12.8%
Asset-backed securities8.2%
Commercial mortgage-backed securities6.1%
High yield credits4.7%
Emerging markets1.4%
International developed0.1%
Distribution history - annual distributions (Institutional Class)1,2
Distributions ($ per share)
YearCapital gains3Net investment
income
Return of
capital
20160.0000.0180.000
20150.0000.2500.000
20140.0000.2860.004
20130.0000.2780.000
20120.0190.2770.000
20110.0000.3150.000
20100.0000.3580.000
20090.0000.4050.000
20080.0000.3970.000
20070.0000.3720.000
20060.0000.3420.000

1If a Fund makes a distribution from any source other than net income, it is required to provide shareholders with a notice disclosing the source of such distribution (each a "Notice"). The amounts and sources of distributions reported above and in each Notice are only estimates and are not provided for tax reporting purposes. Each Fund will send each shareholder a Form 1099 DIV for the calendar year that will provide definitive information on how to report the Fund's distributions for federal income tax purposes. The information in the table above will not be updated to reflect any subsequent recharacterization of dividends and distributions. Click here to see recent Notices pertaining to the Fund (if any).

2Information on return of capital distributions (if any) is only provided from June 1, 2014 onward.

3Includes both short- and long-term capital gains.

Institutional Class shares are only available to certain investors. See the prospectus for more information. 

Roger Early

Roger A. Early, CPA, CFA

Managing Director, Head of Fixed Income Investments, Executive Vice President, Co-Chief Investment Officer — Total Return Fixed Income Strategy

Start date on the Fund: May 2007

Years of industry experience: 39

(View bio)


Paul Grillo

Paul Grillo, CFA

Senior Vice President, Co-Chief Investment Officer — Total Return Fixed Income Strategy

Start date on the Fund: February 1997

Years of industry experience: 34

(View bio)


Adam Brown

Adam H. Brown, CFA

Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager

Start date on the Fund: November 2015

Years of industry experience: 17

(View bio)


Craig Dembeck

Craig C. Dembek, CFA

Senior Vice President, Co-Head of Credit Research, Senior Research Analyst

Start date on the Fund: December 2012

Years of industry experience: 21

(View bio)


J. David Hillmeyer

J. David Hillmeyer, CFA

Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager

Start date on the Fund: November 2011

Years of industry experience: 23

(View bio)


Paul Matlack

Paul A. Matlack, CFA

Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager, Fixed Income Strategist

Start date on the Fund: December 2012

Years of industry experience: 30

(View bio)


John McCarthy

John P. McCarthy, CFA

Senior Vice President, Co-Head of Credit Research, Senior Research Analyst

Start date on the Fund: December 2012

Years of industry experience: 29

(View bio)


Christopher Testa

Christopher M. Testa, CFA

Senior Vice President, Senior Portfolio Manager

Start date on the Fund: June 2014

Years of industry experience: 29

(View bio)


Institutional Class shares are only available to certain investors. See the prospectus for more information. 

The table below describes the fees and expenses that you may pay if you buy and hold shares of the Fund.

Shareholder fees
Maximum sales charge (load) imposed on purchases as a percentage of offering pricenone
Maximum contingent deferred sales charge (load) as a percentage of original purchase price or redemption price, whichever is lowernone
Annual fund operating expenses
Management fees0.55%
Distribution and service (12b-1) feesnone
Other expenses0.40%
Total annual fund operating expenses0.95%
Fee waivers and expense reimbursements(0.30%)
Total annual fund operating expenses after fee waivers and expense reimbursements0.65%

Institutional Class shares are only available to certain investors. See the prospectus for more information. 

1The Fund's investment manager, Delaware Management Company (Manager), has contractually agreed to waive all or a portion of its investment advisory fees and/or pay/reimburse expenses (excluding any 12b-1 fees, acquired fund fees and expenses, taxes, interest, short sale and dividend interest expenses, brokerage fees, certain insurance costs, and nonroutine expenses or costs, including, but not limited to, those relating to reorganizations, litigation, conducting shareholder meetings, and liquidations) in order to prevent total annual fund operating expenses from exceeding 0.65% of the Fund's average daily net assets from Nov. 27, 2015 through Nov. 28, 2016. These waivers and reimbursements may only be terminated by agreement of the Manager and the Fund.

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Delaware Core Plus Bond Fund Quarterly commentary December 31, 2015

Overview

Financial markets finally took the Federal Reserve at its word during the fourth quarter of 2015 and discounted a December “liftoff” of benchmark interest rates. With investors assuring the Fed that it would be appropriate to raise rates, the actual increase in December caused only modest and brief volatility. Going forward, the markets likely will go back into “Fed-watch” mode to anticipate the trajectory of further rate increases over the next 12 to 24 months. Fed “dots” suggest four more 0.25-percentage-point increases in 2016, though the markets look for only two such increases. We lean in favor of the markets’ current view (fewer rather than more increases) and will continue to watch for signs of economic and financial stress that could put the Fed back on hold.

Energy prices suffered another leg down during the quarter while U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) and inflation statistics will likely, once again, come in on the low side for the full year. Annual inflation statistics are widely expected to bounce higher by late spring 2016, as the sharp drop in energy prices from early 2015 fall out of the year-over-year numbers. Given continuing headwinds from various global trade factors, however, a best-case outcome for GDP growth in 2016 is likely to be another year of just muddling through. There is a divergence between the U.S. manufacturing (recession-like conditions) and service (decent growth conditions) sectors, which could point to more challenging and volatile economic results in the near term.

In past business cycles, challenging and uncertain underlying economic conditions often have accompanied weak risk-asset performance. During the current cycle, however, this connection has been less relevant because financial asset prices have been driven higher by global central bank stimulus. Making fundamentally based investment decisions in recent years often has been out of sync with the markets, as risk asset prices were pushed higher simply by the widespread printing of money. Some portfolio managers who chose to take less risk in recent years due to below-target economic growth often were punished by the central bank– sponsored rise in risk asset prices. Today, with the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of Japan (BoJ) still providing significant monetary stimulus, risk-off trades could still be at risk of underperformance. However, risk asset prices did not follow that pattern as closely in 2015, which raises the question: has something changed? The Fed has ended quantitative easing (QE), but the totality of its actions have not meaningfully offset policies of the ECB and the BoJ.

Instead, central banks in emerging markets (EMCBs) could be the swing factor. Up until mid-2014, EMCBs were clearly part of the stimulus actions via asset purchases. Since then, EMCBs have been withdrawing liquidity by selling assets, a policy shift large enough to completely offset the asset purchases of central banks in the developed world. The change in central bank actions should result in a realignment of risk asset prices with economic fundamentals. In that scenario, the risk asset price volatility in 2015 could become even more pervasive in 2016. It may well be that reserve conditions in emerging markets will finally neutralize the ability of global central banks to keep pushing asset prices higher.

Domestic economic indicators showed mixed results throughout the fourth quarter. On the plus side, U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by 271,000 in October, far exceeding expectations and helping to quell worries that the pace of employment growth was slowing. Overall, housing data and consumer confidence were positive as well. Although there was a slight downward revision to the third-quarter GDP estimate in December to 2.0% (from the previous reading of 2.1%), data indicated that household purchases boosted demand during the quarter as employment improved and fuel prices remained low. Conversely, U.S. Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) business activity and manufacturing indicators continued to signal areas of weakness. While more recent U.S. economic indicators were favorable, these can easily be offset by continued weakness in China, Europe, and emerging market economies, and by subsequent volatility in the equity and commodity markets.

During the fourth quarter, yields on 10-year Treasurys rose from 2.04% to 2.27% while the initial Fed tightening helped to push 2-year Treasury yields up from 0.63% to 1.05%. The 3-month T-bill / 10-year T-note curve steepened by 6 basis points, to end at 2.10%. After the release of the minutes of the October Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting (which conveyed the sense that the majority of Committee members were prepared to raise rates at the December meeting), the 1-month London interbank offered rate (Libor) began to climb in mid-November and ended the quarter at 0.43%. (Data: Bloomberg.)

The Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index recorded a negative return in the fourth quarter, with lower-quality bonds underperforming the higher-rated investment tiers within the index. Although most broad-market fixed income indices produced flat to slightly negative returns, emerging market bonds were the strongest performers for the period, with the U.S. corporate high yield sector lagging significantly.

Within the Fund

For the fourth quarter of 2015, Delaware Core Plus Bond Fund (Institutional Class shares and Class A shares at net asset value) underperformed its benchmark, the Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index.

  • The Fund’s underweight positions in Treasury securities had a positive impact on relative returns as Treasury bonds underperformed other benchmark sectors. As the yield curve flattened, our focus on intermediate to longer maturities contributed to performance.
  • Although government-backed mortgage-backed securities (MBS) outperformed the index during the quarter, the Fund’s security-specific positioning had a negative effect. Asset-backed securities (ABS) matched the index return. However, relative to the ABS sector within the index, the Fund’s positions outperformed due to our emphasis on short-maturity and floating-rate issues within this sector. Commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) had a negative effect on relative performance based on the Fund’s overweight relative to the benchmark.
  • We reduced the Fund’s risk exposure to investment grade corporate credit over the last three months of 2015 given our view that the United States would face additional economic headwinds if global growth fails to stabilize or if the Fed moves too aggressively to tighten monetary policy.
  • The high yield bond market underperformed the benchmark during the quarter, and the Fund’s exposure to the sector had a negative effect on relative performance. Investments in bank loans negatively influenced performance as well.
  • Emerging market debt outperformed many of the broader fixed income markets for the quarter, and Fund positions in the sector had a positive impact on relative performance.
  • Non-dollar developed markets, while representing only a small allocation within the Fund, produced positive results during the quarter.

Outlook

We expect the U.S. economic expansion to continue at a modest pace, with the upside and downside risks to our growth forecast roughly equal. At this time, we see the Fed’s goal of raising rates four times in 2016 as a lofty one.

Furthermore, we believe that currency volatility will remain a central theme in 2016. Manufacturing likely will continue to experience headwinds as global demand remains under pressure. We believe the path to the Fed’s target of 2% inflation level will be challenged — particularly in the second half of the coming year.

Moving into 2016, we expect that reduced Treasury supply, coupled with low inflation and competitively low global yields, should help to limit upside surprises for domestic interest rates. Finally, in our opinion, the impact of central banks and sovereign wealth funds selling assets should not be underestimated or ignored.

The U.S. Services Purchasing Managers’ Index or PMI, published by Markit Group, captures business conditions in the U.S. services sector.

Mortgage-backed securities are fixed income securities that represent pools of mortgages, with investors receiving principal and interest payments as the underlying mortgage loans are paid back. Many are issued and guaranteed against default by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities, such as Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae, and Ginnie Mae. Others are issued by private financial institutions, with some fully collateralized by certificates issued or guaranteed by the U.S. government or its agencies or instrumentalities.

[15906]

The views expressed represent the Manager's assessment of the Fund and market environment as of the date indicated, and should not be considered a recommendation to buy, hold, or sell any security, and should not be relied on as research or investment advice. Information is as of the date indicated and subject to change.

Document must be used in its entirety.

Carefully consider the Fund's investment objectives, risk factors, charges, and expenses before investing. This and other information can be found in the Fund's prospectus and its summary prospectus, which may be obtained by clicking the prospectus link located in the right-hand sidebar or calling 800 362-7500. Investors should read the prospectus and the summary prospectus carefully before investing.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal.

Fixed income securities and bond funds can lose value, and investors can lose principal, as interest rates rise. They also may be affected by economic conditions that hinder an issuer’s ability to make interest and principal payments on its debt.

The Fund may also be subject to prepayment risk, the risk that the principal of a fixed income security that is held by the Fund may be prepaid prior to maturity, potentially forcing the Fund to reinvest that money at a lower interest rate.

High yielding, non-investment-grade bonds (junk bonds) involve higher risk than investment grade bonds.

The high yield secondary market is particularly susceptible to liquidity problems when institutional investors, such as mutual funds and certain other financial institutions, temporarily stop buying bonds for regulatory, financial, or other reasons. In addition, a less liquid secondary market makes it more difficult for the Fund to obtain precise valuations of the high yield securities in its portfolio.

The Funds may invest in derivatives, which may involve additional expenses and are subject to risk, including the risk that an underlying security or securities index moves in the opposite direction from what the portfolio manager anticipated. A derivative transaction depends upon the counterparties’ ability to fulfill their contractual obligations.

International investments entail risks not ordinarily associated with U.S. investments including fluctuation in currency values, differences in accounting principles, or economic or political instability in other nations.

Investing in emerging markets can be riskier than investing in established foreign markets due to increased volatility and lower trading volume.

If and when the Fund invests in forward foreign currency contracts or uses other investments to hedge against currency risks, the Fund will be subject to special risks, including counterparty risk.

The Fund may experience portfolio turnover in excess of 100%, which could result in higher transaction costs and tax liability.

All third-party marks cited are the property of their respective owners.

The Funds are distributed by Delaware Distributors L.P., an affiliate of Delaware Management Holdings, Inc., and Macquarie Group Limited.

Not FDIC Insured | No Bank Guarantee | May Lose Value

Fund Finder

Daily pricing (as of 02/11/2016)

Institutional ClassPriceNet change
NAV$8.400.01
Max offer price$8.40n/a

Total net assets (as of 01/31/2016)

$131.8 million all share classes

Overall Morningstar RatingTM

Institutional Class shares (as of 01/31/2016)
RatingNo. of funds
Overall4947
3 Yrs3947
5 Yrs4828
10 Yrs4597
Morningstar categoryIntermediate-Term Bond

(View Morningstar disclosure)

Lipper ranking (as of 01/31/2016)

YTD ranking6 / 224
1 year88 / 208
3 years70 / 191
5 years79 / 167
10 years27 / 90
Lipper classificationCore Plus Bond Funds

(View Lipper disclosure)

Benchmark, peer group

Barclays U.S. Aggregate Index (view definition)

Lipper Core Plus Bond Funds Average (view definition)

Additional information