Investment Product and Service Launches

Betterment launches cryptocurrency offering; MSCI launches index for investors seeking net-zero transition progress; Prime Trust launches all-in-one IRA solution after successful beta program; and more.

By DJ Shaw



Betterment Launches Cryptocurrency Offering

Betterment, an independent digital investment adviser, has announced the launch of its cryptocurrency offering, Crypto Investing by Betterment. Betterment will add expert-built, managed, and diversified crypto portfolios alongside its traditional investing portfolios. The portfolios will be available to both retail customers and advisers.

Crypto Investing by Betterment will include four crypto portfolios that allow customers to invest in curated selections of assets:

  • Universe: features a diversified collection of cryptocurrencies, including established coins like Bitcoin and Ethereum, offering broad exposure across the crypto landscape, from decentralized finance to the metaverse, and more
  • Sustainable: includes cryptocurrencies that transact sustainably or those on networks with a path to sustainability, like the newly transitioned proof-of-stake Ethereum
  • Metaverse: focuses on cryptocurrency projects currently building a network of immersive digital experiences and new approaches to digital commerce, including real estate, gaming, entertainment, and more
  • Decentralized finance: Provides exposure to assets leveraging blockchain technology to offer financial services without the need for banks or other centralized institutions

Beyond crypto portfolios, retail investors and financial advisers will also have access to information on the asset class, including an educational resource center, a bi-weekly crypto newsletter, and regular commentary from Betterment experts. Importantly, Betterment will recommend that customers limit their crypto exposure to no more than 5% of their investable assets.

Morgan Stanley Launches Impact Class of Money Market Fund Shares

Morgan Stanley Investment Management has announced it has selected Opportunity Finance Network as its diversity and inclusion partner for MSIM’s charitable contribution related to the newly launched Impact Class. OFN is a national network of 370 community development finance institutions that work to ensure communities underserved by mainstream finance have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services.

The Impact Classes are share classes available in two of MSIM’s institutional money market funds. They contain a contribution feature in which MSIM, out of its own profits from managing the Impact Classes, provides support to organizations that focus on affordable housing, children’s health, nutrition, education and other diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Under this new partnership, MSIM will make an annual contribution to OFN’s Finance Justice Fund, an OFN initiative that aims to bring $1 billion in capital from corporate and philanthropic partners to historically underinvested communities.

The Impact Classes are available to direct institutional investors in Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds Government and Prime portfolios. They are designed to help institutional liquidity investors achieve their primary investment objectives of principal stability, liquidity and income while at the same time advancing their DE&I goals. MSIM will contribute at least 0.02% of the net annualized assets under management in the Impact Class shares to support DE&I initiatives.

The Impact Classes represent the latest in the series of innovative share classes and product structures across the Morgan Stanley Institutional Liquidity Funds money market fund lineup that are designed to assist DE&I and environmental, social and governance-conscious liquidity investors. Investors interested in the Impact Class may also be interested in the CastleOak Shares which were launched last year in partnership with CastleOak Securities, L.P., a minority-owned boutique investment bank, whose giving back philanthropy focuses on community, professional development, and education.

MSCI Launches Index for Investors Seeking Net-Zero Transition Progress

MSCI Inc., a provider of critical decision support tools and services for the global investment community, has announced the launch of the MSCI Climate Action Indexes. The indexes are designed for investors seeking to drive the low-carbon transition in the real economy by investing in companies making progress towards emission reduction targets.

The new suite of equity climate indexes will consist of companies that are taking measurable steps to tackle their emissions, selecting from across the economy using the 11 Global Industry Classification Standard sectors. The suite of MSCI Climate Action Indexes includes MSCI ACWI Climate Action Index, MSCI World Climate Action Index, MSCI Emerging Markets Climate Action Index, MSCI USA Climate Action Index, and MSCI Europe Climate Action Index. 

The new index is aimed at equity investors who want an index with exposure to all sectors of the economy and who favor a bottom-up index selection approach based on both current and forward-looking climate indicators. The index aims to include companies that are taking steps to tackle their emissions. The index is sector balanced and offers a broad market coverage.

The indexes also aim to help investors who are seeking to follow the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net-Zero recommendations on addressing real-economy emissions reductions.

Prime Trust Launches All-In-One IRA Solution After Successful Beta Program

Prime Trust, a provider of financial infrastructure for fintech and digital asset innovators, has opened its Crypto IRA to the public after a successful beta program launched earlier this year with businesses like SwanBitcoin, Coinbits, The Black Wall Street App & Digital Wallet, and OnRamp.

The Prime Trust Crypto IRA is the only API-enabled product that allows enterprises to offer their customers the opportunity to invest retirement funds in digital assets and take advantage of the tax benefits.

Using Prime Trust’s institutional-grade financial API technology, the company’s IRA offering includes:

  • Traditional and Roth IRAs
  • Rollover and transfer in support
  • Full IRA statements and tax reporting via API
  • In-account trading pairs from USD to BTC, ETH, SOL, LTC, ADA, AVAX, and more
  • Institutional-grade security, including storage architecture supported by MPC technology

Prime Trust’s Crypto IRA is a tool that facilitates building wealth and expanding cryptocurrency’s value as a means for financial inclusion. One example is Prime Trust’s collaboration with The Black Wall Street App & Digital Wallet, which is a digital wallet and exchange that helps Black Americans onboard into the cryptocurrency ecosystem and is one of Prime Trust’s beta integrators. Black Wall Street is now offering Prime Trust Crypto IRA to its users.

GreenRock Wealth Management Announces Free Professional Financial Planning Portal

GreenRock Wealth Management, a full-service wealth management adviser, has launched DIY money Advisor, a website that provides free access to eMoney’s financial portal and personal financial website.

Open to anyone who lives in the United States, the service can be accessed by going to www.greenrockwealth.com and providing a name, email address, and phone number.

Subscribers will also get access to helpful tips on using the software, personal finance strategies, and instructions on how to take advantage of a free professional plan review.

Qontigo Integrates Climate Risk Scenarios into Enterprise Risk Management Solution

Qontigo, a provider of innovative risk, analytics, and index solutions, has partnered with Ortec Finance, a global provider of technology and solutions for risk and return management, to provide climate stress testing capabilities within Qontigo’s Axioma Risk for clients to assess climate risks in their portfolio.

With increasing regulatory pressures worldwide, asset managers and asset owners require more robust insights into their exposures to climate risk. Through combining Ortec Finance’s state of the art climate risk-aware economic and financial scenarios with Qontigo’s unique portfolio management and risk analysis solutions, clients can seamlessly translate climate transition scenarios to their portfolios to assess exposure and climate resilience.

Ortec Finance’s Climate MAPS solution translates climate pathways and policy assumptions into their impact on financial variables, such as equity returns at country or sector level, or credit spreads at country level. These financial variables are mapped to the factors in Qontigo’s multi-asset class risk solution to enable top-down climate-informed stress tests. The climate pathways consider both transition and physical risks and include a range of narratives including orderly and disorderly net-zero, failed transition as well as the Network for Greening the Financial System climate scenarios.

T. Rowe Price Launches U.S. High-Yield Fixed Income ETF

T. Rowe Price, a global investment management and retirement services firm, has announced the introduction of its fourth actively managed fixed income exchange-traded fund, T. Rowe Price U.S. High Yield ETF, which is now available to the public on NYSE Arca, Inc.

U.S. High Yield ETF is managed by the same investment team and uses the same process as the mutual fund T. Rowe Price U.S. High-Yield Fund. The strategy is designed to provide a concentrated, yet balanced, portfolio primarily focused on U.S. high-yield bonds, in which the fund invests in below investment-grade corporate bonds.

T. Rowe Price U.S. High-Yield ETF

  • Seeks to provide total return and, secondarily, current income. By investing primarily in U.S. dollar-denominated high-yield corporate bonds and other fixed and floating rate corporate securities, it seeks to generate a total return in excess of that generated by its benchmark.
  • Managed by Kevin Loome, who has 29 years of investment industry experience, 16 of which are at T. Rowe Price.
  • Net expense ratio is 0.56%.

Equitable Announces Enhancements to its Buffered Annuities

Equitable, a financial services organization and principal franchise of Equitable Holdings, Inc., has announced updates to two of its registered index-linked annuity products. These updates are designed to help financial professionals and their clients manage volatile equity markets and generate lifelong income amid rising inflation and interest rates.

Equitable’s Structured Capital Strategies Income, launched in November 2021, increased certain income rates credited under the income option by 25 bps. SCS Income is a RILA that combines some protection from equity market volatility while allowing investors to take advantage of equity market growth potential up to a cap, with a predictable stream of income in retirement—a significant advantage at a time when equity markets have declined by 20%, and inflation has reached highs not seen since 1982.

In addition, both commission and fee-based versions of Equitable’s Structured Capital Strategies PLUS RILA are also now available in New York, extending its availability to a greater number of financial professionals and their clients.

The latest updates to the Structured Capital Strategies variable annuity suite follow updates made earlier this year to Equitable’s Investment Edge investment only variable annuity. Investment Edge updates included the addition of 20 structured investment option segments that provide partial downside protection from equity market losses and upside potential up to a cap—similar to those available in the Structured Capital Strategies suite of variable annuities—and asset allocation options based on model portfolio strategies for moderate growth and growth risk profiles that give clients access to popular investment choices in a tax-deferred format.

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