Investment Product and Service Launches

LeafHouse and Empower partner on managed accounts; Pacific Funds partners with Oranj on income-focused mutual funds; American Century Investments releases online TDF tool; and more.

Art by Jackson Epstein

Art by Jackson Epstein

LeafHouse, Empower Partner on Managed Accounts

LeafHouse Financial is launching RetireGuide, a managed account service on the Empower Retirement platform to help retirement plan participants optimize their retirement investing strategies while reducing costs and managing risks as they save for the future.

The managed account program combines LeafHouse’s portfolio construction and manager selection expertise with Empower’s advisory services technology platform and client experience.

LeafHouse currently works as a third-party investment fiduciary with more than 400 advisers and 1,000 plan sponsors on the Empower platform. Advising individual retirement investors can now occur through RetireGuide retirement managed accounts, which are designed to provide personalized retirement planning through an analysis of an individual’s goals, demographic data and full financial picture.

“RetireGuide is designed to offer retirement advisers and their clients the ability to reduce fiduciary liability and to access bulk pricing discounts at the fund level. This service combines the strengths of Empower’s service and technology with LeafHouse’s dedicated investment team and the ability to potentially lower investment related costs,” says Todd Kading, president and cofounder of LeafHouse Financial. “We believe RetireGuide gives the adviser the tools that employers and employees need in this tough period.”

Pacific Funds Partners With Oranj on Income-Focused Mutual Funds

Pacific Funds will offer its mutual funds on Oranj, available to both 401(k) and 403(b) plans. 

“Pacific Funds is one of the finest asset managers in our industry and their mutual funds with income-focused strategies make an important addition to our diverse and multipurpose platform,” says David Lyon, CEO and founder of Oranj. “The Oranj model marketplace helps financial advisers consolidate and access a variety of different investment solutions in one place. With Pacific Funds’ range of mutual funds, advisers who use the Oranj platform will have access to an expanded variety of investment solutions to serve their clients.” 

Pacific Funds is a family of mutual funds designed for income generation, growth and diversification to help shareholders meet long-term financial goals. Pacific Funds’ portfolio managers include fixed income (sub-advised by Pacific Asset Management), U.S. equity (sub-advised by Rothschild & Co. Asset Management), and multi-asset (managed by Pacific Life Fund Advisors). 

“In today’s volatile markets, we believe our active, disciplined process that focuses on fundamentals in selecting individual securities can be especially important in the search for yield,” says Douglas Jackson, vice president of Pacific Global Asset Management, which oversees product development and distribution of Pacific Funds. “We are excited that our partnership with Oranj will give us another platform to bring our fixed-income expertise to the marketplace.”

American Century Investments Releases Online TDF Tool

American Century Investments has created a new online tool to help fiduciaries select target-date fund (TDF) options.

“Target-Date Blueprint” is an online solution that organizes the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Tips for ERISA [Employee Retirement Income Security Act] Plan Fiduciaries into three steps. American Century says the tool can serve as an important component of a prudent selection process for TDFs that are used as the plan’s qualified default investment alternative (QDIA), and seek to maintain their safe harbor status. It also may reduce the potential for litigation.

The Target-Date Blueprint was built in response to adviser demand, according to Glenn Dial, American Century senior retirement strategist. “We learned that, while the DOL Tips were helpful, many clients wanted the tips organized into a framework that enabled advisers to document and implement them into a single document,” he says. “Additionally, we incorporated the tips into a forward-looking optimization process to help advisers determine which target-date funds may be suitable for a particular plan.”

“The Target Date Blueprint tool developed by American Century Investments helps plan fiduciaries fill a potential gap in the documentation of their prudent process,” says Bradford Campbell, partner at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP and a former assistant secretary of Labor for the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). “The DOL guidance explains what the department thinks is prudent for plan fiduciaries to consider in selecting and monitoring TDFs—clearly documenting that plan fiduciaries are following the guidance that better prepares the plan for challenges, such as DOL investigations or private litigation.”

Dimensional Fund Advisors Announces Multiple Wealth Model Series

Dimensional Fund Advisors will launch its five series of Wealth Models, named Core, Core Plus, Tax-Sensitive, Sustainability and Social Wealth Models.

Each set of models provides six combinations of equity and fixed income, ranging from 100% equity to 100% fixed income in 20% increments. The new Wealth Models were designed to address a wide range of wealth goals, ranging from aggressive wealth growth to preservation of capital and purchasing power. All are available on Dimensional’s client website.

“The new Wealth Models reflect our belief system and our value-added approach to portfolio design and management—one that is holistic, consistent and based on rigorous theoretical and empirical research,” says Savina Rizova, global head of research. “We will update the allocations as needed in alignment with new research, new investment solutions, and changes in the investment opportunity set, while staying true to Dimensional Investing.”

Dimensional Core Wealth Models use Dimensional’s core equity strategies, which have a moderate focus on securities with higher expected returns. Dimensional Core Plus Wealth Models add component equity strategies and apply a stronger emphasis on securities with higher expected returns. Dimensional Tax-Sensitive Wealth Models seek to improve after-tax returns using various tax-advantaged strategies.

Dimensional Sustainability Wealth Models include funds that generally seek to reduce exposure to firms with less sustainable business practices and focus on key environmental considerations, such as greenhouse gas emissions and potential emissions from fossil fuel reserves. Dimensional Social Wealth Models include funds that generally seek to reduce exposure to firms that are involved in controversial activities, such as nuclear weapons, tobacco, alcohol and gambling.

The Wealth Models are not proposed as optimized solutions and are not tailored for specific individual investors. Professionals can apply them in their current form or customize to meet an array of individual needs and preferences.

Bloomberg Announces Details on US Multi-Asset Indices

Bloomberg has announced its US Multi-Asset Indices, comprised of Bloomberg indices across asset classes with each index constructed as a composite of at least one fixed income and one equity index.

The suite is designed to address investor demand for a centralized multi-asset index suite, with products that can be benchmarked.

“We’ve seen the growing appetite for multi-asset offerings in the market and wanted to provide investors with a thoughtful and innovative solution, utilizing Bloomberg’s existing index offerings,” says Dave Gedeon, global head of Equity and Strategy Indices at Bloomberg. “By incorporating our unique internal data, pricing, analytics, distribution and research offerings, the Bloomberg US Multi-Asset Indices provide clients with a new benchmark family to meet their evolving investment needs.”

Building on Bloomberg’s single asset indices as the foundation, the suite of 10 indices features fixed, market value and risk parity weighting plans. According to Bloomberg, these plans include fixed weight indices that are rebalanced to respective target weights; market value weights determined based on the published market value for the underlying indices on the weight determination date; and risk parity indices weights determined with the aim of providing equal risk exposure to the two underlying indices.

Additionally, Bloomberg says the US Multi-Asset Indices rebalances monthly on the first business day each month.

Securian Financial Adds Personalized Managed Accounts to Solutions

Securian Financial has introduced Target Pro Portfolios to its retirement plan investment solutions.

Target Pro Portfolios are managed accounts that leverage employee data to create personalized investment allocations. The tool uses data already provided, and employees who want to provide additional details can do so to further personalize their allocation.

“Typical managed accounts require employees to take action, and many times that just does not happen, so we’ve taken a different path,” says Steve Chappell, Securian Financial vice president for retirement solutions distribution. “We believe there’s an evolution happening where individuals of all ages value a strategy based on their unique circumstances. The no effort, reasonable cost approach of Target Pro Portfolios makes it a feasible solution to meet those new expectations.”

Stadion Money Management creates the asset allocation formula for participants using Target Pro Portfolios. Financial professionals leveraging the portfolios can choose the degree of fiduciary involvement best suited to their clients, practice and value proposition. All aspects of portfolio management are integrated with Securian Financial’s recordkeeping system.

BNY Mellon Launches Investor Solutions RIA

BNY Mellon Investment Management announced the launch of BNY Mellon Investor Solutions, a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)-registered investment adviser (RIA) that offers comprehensive portfolio management and investment advisory services for investors worldwide seeking outsourced investment management.

The new group combines an open-architecture approach with the proprietary investment capabilities of BNY Mellon’s eight specialist investment firms, alongside advisory services from BNY Mellon Wealth Management, and the custodial and servicing capabilities from BNY Mellon Asset Servicing. It provides investment advisory, discretionary portfolio management, analytical and infrastructure services to support client operating and governance requirements, principally to endowments and foundations, retirement plans, family offices, private wealth and intermediary RIAs.

BNY Mellon Investor Solutions will offer the following services:

Outsourced Chief Investment Officer (OCIO) Services

  • Asset allocation and portfolio construction advice;
  • Manager research and selection;
  • Investment analytics;
  • Customized investment strategies; and
  • Access to trust and custody services.

Customized Portfolio Solutions

  • Model portfolios;
  • Multi-asset strategies;
  • Multi-manager strategies;
  • Overlay programs; and
  • Alternatives program.
Reporting to Catherine Keating, a member of BNY Mellon’s executive committee and CEO of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, BNY Mellon Investor Solutions is comprised of nearly 70 investment professionals led by Jamie Lewin, former head of product strategy and performance management for BNY Mellon Investment Management.