Fixed income products are generally bonds issued by various government treasuries, companies or international organisations. Bond holders are usually entitled to get coupon payments at periodic intervals until maturity. These coupon payments are generally fixed amounts (quoted as percentage of the bond's face value) or the coupons could float in relation to LIBOR or another reference rate.
The cash flow of a fixed income product generally consists of several coupon payments over the period of the bond's life, and repayment of the principal at the time of maturity. Since these cash flows occur at several times in the future, the "Time Value of Money" approach is used to find the "Present Value" of each cash flow. The sum of all the present values of the bonds cash inflows of the bond is its theoretical value.
Following are the typical questions an analyst finds answers for:
The demand for fixed income products comes from banks, insurance companies, pension fund companies, endowment organisations, External Government Treasuries, individual investors like retirees and widows who need regular fixed cash in-flow.
The Fixed Income Analyst covers the term structure or yield curve analysis too. This is in simple terms, analysing all bonds issued by the same entity for different maturities (like US Govt 2yr bond, 10yr bond, 20 year bond). Such analysis enables one to understand the pricing differences between maturities comparable inter-market bonds (like Eur 2yr, 5yr and 10yr bunds)
The approaches for analysing fixed income products are broadly as follows: Fundamental approach; Technical Approach; relative value Approach.