Bucket

DEFINITION of 'Bucket'

1. A group of swaps with similar or identical maturities.

2. Any group of securities with a similar level of risk. An investment strategy called the "bucket approach," developed by Nobel Memorial Prize winner James Tobin, recommends dividing investments into high-risk and low-risk "buckets" and then trying to achieve the highest possible return for each bucket.

BREAKING DOWN 'Bucket'

1. Buckets can be used to assess the sensitivity of a portfolio of swaps to changes in interest rates. Once risk (called "bucket exposure") has been determined (through a process called "bucket analysis"), the investor may choose to hedge that risk if it is cost-effective to do so. A strategy called immunization can be used to create a perfect hedge against all bucket exposures.

2. Tobin's strategy called for alloting stocks between a "risky bucket" and a "safe bucket". However, other proponents of the bucket strategy use up to five buckets in their variation of this approach.