Investment Product and Service Launches

Schwab expands institutional no transaction fee fund offering for independent advisers; Vanguard announces changes for Vanguard International Explorer Fund; Hearsay introduces RIA platform aimed at small firms; and more.

By DJ Shaw

Schwab Expands Institutional No-Transaction-Fee Fund Offering for Independent Advisers

Schwab Advisor Services has expanded its institutional no-transaction-fee mutual fund offering for independent registered investment advisers. The expanded lineup includes the addition of more than 800 institutional funds, from 15 third-party asset managers.

The 15 asset managers are: BlackRock, Cohen & Steers, Columbia, Delaware + Waddell & Reed, Diamond Hill, Franklin Templeton, First Eagle, Guggenheim, Goldman Sachs, Invesco, Janus, Legg Mason, Lord Abbett, Nuveen, and Principal.

The newly available funds are in addition to the more than 130 no-transaction-fee, institutional share class funds from T. Rowe Price already accessible to Schwab’s independent adviser clients.

The new lineup, which will also be available to advisers who custody with TD Ameritrade Institutional, gives advisers no-transaction-fee choices from a larger number of funds with lower net expense ratios, and more funds with an Overall Morningstar Rating of 4 or 5.

Vanguard Announces Changes for Vanguard International Explorer Fund

Vanguard has announced changes to the investment advisory arrangements and benchmark of the $1.68 billion Vanguard International Explorer Fund. Following a transition period, current investment advisers Wellington Management Company LLP; Schroder Investment Management North America Inc.; and Baillie Gifford Overseas Ltd., will now manage 40%, 40%, and 20% of the fund’s assets, respectively. TimesSquare Capital Management, LLC will no longer serve as an adviser to the fund.

Vanguard maintains a team of investors focused on the evaluation and oversight of Vanguard’s investment managers. As part of the team’s ongoing, multifaceted review process that emphasizes qualitative and quantitative attributes leading to long-term results, Vanguard determined that changes to the fund’s advisory structure would best serve current and future shareholders.

The fund’s benchmark will change from the S&P EPAC SmallCap Index to the MSCI EAFE Small Cap Index. The investment objective, philosophy, principal investment strategy, and overall portfolio management process of the fund will remain the same, and the expense ratio is not expected to change because of the benchmark or adviser changes.

Transamerica Program Aids Small Businesses in Employee Retirement and Health Savings

Transamerica has announced an initiative that encourages employees to save more now for retirement and medical costs. By providing special incentives until the end of the year, the initiative can serve as a magnet for new talent and a benefit for current employees. 

For small businesses that select Transamerica as their retirement plan and health savings provider before December 31, Transamerica will waive administration and participant fees on their health savings accounts and flexible spending accounts for two full quarters. In addition, Transamerica will offer its signature Plan Administration Service Support communication services at no cost to the employer during the retirement plan’s conversion period. 

Transamerica’s health savings accounts and flexible savings accounts offer significant tax savings for the employee to pay for current eligible medical expenses, or to invest and save for health expenses in retirement. Employees have the convenience of tracking their retirement plan, health savings account, and flexible spending account in one location.

Hearsay Introduces RIA Platform Aimed at Small Firms

Hearsay Systems has announced a new offering for registered investment advisers. The new compliant client engagement solution was designed specifically to meet the needs of organizations with fewer than 50 employees so that they can grow and maintain adviser-client relationships more effectively.

Offered as a bundle, the new solution enables:

  • Social media publishing and messaging for LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, including campaigns and personalization
  • Flexible, mobile-optimized and SEO-friendly personal websites  
  • Suggested and curated content that advisers can personalize and publish, as well as the ability to recommend better performing content with adviser traits and interests in mind
  • No guesswork lexicon to make compliance easier
  • Seamless texting, voice, desktop and mobile options with automation (i.e., users can set working hours, pre-scheduled texts and more)