Written by Nick Ackerman, co-produced by Stanford Chemist

The Calamos Strategic Total Return Fund (CSQ) offers investors an attractive blend of convertible exposure and common equity exposure. Equities dominate the largest allocation of the fund’s portfolio, led by the tech sector. Though the allocation to tech isn’t egregiously large overall. In fact, the allocation of tech is smaller than that of the S&P 500. The strong returns since the GFC have also given investors a few distribution boosts since then, with the last dividend increase happening earlier this year.

CSQ seeks “total return through a combination of capital appreciation and current income.” Its investment strategy is quite simple: “investing in a diversified portfolio of equities, convertible securities and high yield corporate bonds.”

Essentially, the investment managers can posture the portfolio in whatever particular composition they deem the most attractive. That can result in some superior returns if they get it right. While the opposite is just as true, the current management team has been able to deliver more than reasonable returns. Calamos also has experience in the convertible space, with its line-up of CEFs offering exposure to these investment instruments. That being said, CSQ is one of their funds that actually has the least exposure to this space.

Convertible stock can be beneficial for some investors, as they have features of both equities and fixed-income. This means they can also be potentially more volatile than regular fixed-income instruments, as the conversion feature results in movement based on the equity of a company. However, that also potentially allows for upside when a conversion takes place – all the while collecting a fixed interest rate on their holding. Typically, retail investors do not get exposure to these investments, as they aren’t traded on exchanges. They are level 2 assets though, so liquidity