Investment Product and Service Launches

Morningstar releases goals-based planning solution; Schwab adds account conversion feature to portfolios solution; and AssetMark to offer Savos personal portfolios.

Art by Jackson Epstein

Art by Jackson Epstein

Morningstar Releases Goals-Based Planning Solution

Morningstar, Inc. has launched Goal Bridge, a planning and proposal solution that enables advisers to connect goals-based planning and investment strategies within a single, dynamic workflow.

Goal Bridge, available now as an add-on for Morningstar Advisor Workstation and soon as a standalone Enterprise Component, is powered by Morningstar research and grounded in behavioral science. Goal Bridge allows advisers and investors to put goals at the center of their portfolio and demonstrate the value they bring as not only money managers, but also financial coaches who help clients retire, save for college, and take family vacations. Additionally, more advisers can expand their goals-based financial planning services to more investors, because the simple, scalable workflow doesn’t require the hours traditional financial planning methods do.  

“Advisers are continuously being pushed to compete and innovate to meet client demands,” says Dermot O’Mahony, head of software products at Morningstar. “Goal Bridge promotes real adviser-client collaboration to identify meaningful goals and visually connect them to the personalized investment plans. As a result, investors can sit side-by-side with their advisers to set the right expectations and buy into their plans. When investment choices are clearly rooted in investors’ intrinsic motivations, investors are more likely to stay on track to achieve their goals.”

Goal Bridge helps address the fact that identifying an investor’s true goals can be surprisingly difficult. With this in mind, the solution uses the master list approach and is designed to equip clients with the information and confidence needed to co-create investment plans that make their goals achievable.

For each client goal, Goal Bridge provides tools to help the adviser and investor determine a suitable asset allocation based on the details of that goal—namely, the goal time horizon and duration—along with a measurement of the investor’s risk tolerance. By directly connecting investment risks, reward potential, and trade-offs to each goal, advisers can more effectively collaborate with clients, and implement plans that clients are more likely to stick with.

“The traditional adviser model is evolving. In order to serve the needs of today’s clients and prospects, advisrrs need to be able to have a conversation with clients about their goals and how the adviser can help them achieve their goals,” says Joel Bruckenstein, a certified financial planner and president of Technology Tools for Today (T3). “Advisers need a tool that is quick, easy, and actionable. Platforms like Goal Bridge enable advisers to quickly and cost effectively provide strategic advice grounded in the principles of human behavior to clients and prospects.”

Schwab Adds Account Conversion Feature to Portfolios Solution

Schwab Advisor Services has enhanced its Institutional Intelligent Portfolios, including an account conversion feature that eases the process of transferring existing Charles Schwab brokerage accounts to adviser-branded automated investment accounts.

The paperless process allows advisers to incorporate automated investing into their practices while freeing more time to spend with clients, according to Schwab.

“Automated investment management helps advisers scale their businesses while complementing the invaluable wealth management services they already provide to investors,” says Lauren Wilkinson, vice president, Digital Advisor Solutions, Charles Schwab. “The continued growth we’re seeing in firms using automated investing to serve clients underscores the importance advisers place on using technology to operate their firms more efficiently in order to deliver an outstanding client experience.”

In addition to account conversion capabilities, recent enhancements to the platform include an increased number of available funds: now 2,700 mutual funds and 1,400 exchange-traded funds (ETFs), which can be used to build client portfolios; unlimited portfolio-modeling capabilities, including infinite model creation and custom drift settings; the ability to handle inherited individual retirement accounts (IRAs); and the option for advisers to initiate the digital account open process on clients’ behalf.

AssetMark to Offer Savos Personal Portfolios

AssetMark, Inc., has announced that Savos Personal Portfolios are now available on the AssetMark platform.  Savos Personal Portfolios offer features that are usually found in high-net-worth solutions at an accessible investment minimum and can be customized to meet clients’ needs and adapt as those needs change. 

“We think today’s investors are looking for more personalized features and solutions that fit into their unique situations and we’re excited to offer them for a $250,000 investment,” says Jason Thomas, chief executive officer and chief investment officer of Savos. “We offer portfolio comparison analysis and tax-managed transition services, making it easy for advisers to compete for this client segment and have more engaged discussions with clients about their financial goals.”

Savos Personal Portfolios enhance AssetMark’s current platform offerings, addressing a range of client investment objectives, including growth and income. “We’re continually looking for investment solutions that provide value to financial advisers and their clients, and complement our investment platform,” says Natalie Wolfsen, Chief Solutions Officer at AssetMark. “These portfolios provide personalization and quality service in an accessible and affordable manner for the aspiring affluent and affluent client.” 

Savos Personal Portfolios feature strategies managed by Savos Investments. They incorporate individual stocks, yield-focused fixed income and a tactical strategy that seeks additional equity exposure when the markets are rising and reduces equity exposure to avoid large losses in downturns.

Wilmington Trust and Federated Offer CITs to DC Clients

Wilmington Trust and Federated Investors, Inc. have collaborated to provide collective investment trusts (CIT) for defined contribution (DC) plan clients.

The collaboration allows Wilmington Trust to broaden its product spectrum by offering the Federated High Yield Bond Collective Investment Fund and the Federated Prime Cash Collective Investment Fund, which will be the first prime cash vehicle from Wilmington Trust.  

CITs are pooled investment vehicles maintained by a bank or trust company exclusively for qualified retirement plans. They offer benefits similar to mutual funds, but at generally lower costs, making them an attractive option for plan sponsors to consider in carrying out their fiduciary responsibilities. CITs can also be tailored to fit unique investment goals and risk appetite, offering more innovative investment opportunities and customized options than before.

“Our collaboration with Federated marks another milestone for the CIT industry, and for our efforts as fiduciary trustee to deliver solutions that help clients meet their long-term goals,” says Rob Barnett, group vice president and head of Retirement Distribution at Wilmington Trust. “The modern-day CIT is not your grandfather’s investment fund and today offers scalability, flexibility, customizable options and transparency that empowers advisers, plan sponsors and participants to make fully informed decisions. We are on a mission to increase education among advisers and investors about the benefits of CITs and to advance the widespread adoption of CITs across the industry.”

Cohen & Steers Closes Real Estate Fund Share Classes

Cohen & Steers is closing its share classes of the Cohen & Steers Real Estate Securities Fund (Class A: CSEIX; Class C: CSCIX; Class I: CSDIX; Class R: CIRRX; Class Z: CSZIX; Class F: CREFX) to new investors, effective at the close of business on November 8. The fund will remain open to its current shareholders, participants in qualifying retirement plans, and existing intermediary-sponsored discretionary models.

As of August 31, the fund had assets under management of $6.0 billion and carried a five-star Morningstar rating. It ranked in the top decile of Morningstar’s U.S. Real Estate fund category for the five- and 10-year periods, and in the top quartile for the one- and three-year periods.

“Striving to deliver consistent outperformance is central to our competitive advantage and reputation,” says Joseph Harvey, Cohen & Steers president and chief investment officer. “The fund invests across the REIT market-capitalization spectrum and opportunistically invests in international real estate securities, real estate fixed income securities and options. Closing the fund to new investors should allow us to maintain an asset level that will preserve our ability to meet the fund’s investment objectives.”