Fixed-Income Arbitrage

DEFINITION of 'Fixed-Income Arbitrage'

An investment strategy that attempts to profit from arbitrage opportunities in interest rate securities. When using a fixed-income arbitrage strategy, the investor assumes opposing positions in the market to take advantage of small price discrepancies while limiting interest rate risk.

BREAKING DOWN 'Fixed-Income Arbitrage'

Fixed-income arbitrage is primarily used by hedge funds and leading investment banks. The most common fixed-income arbitrage strategy is swap-spread arbitrage. This consists of taking opposing long and short positions in a swap and a Treasury bond. Such strategies provide relatively small returns and, in some cases, huge losses. That's why these strategies are often referred to as "picking up nickels in front of a steamroller"!