Investment Product and Service Launches

Ascensus partners with NextCapital for investment and fiduciary solutions, and Axioma releases Canadian risk model to suite of funds. 

Art by Jackson Epstein

Art by Jackson Epstein

Ascensus Partners with NextCapital for Investment and Fiduciary Solutions 

Ascensus is implementing NextCapital’s technology platform to provide better investment and fiduciary solutions at the institutional and participant levels. Russell Investments will become the first firm to provide participant-level 3(38) protection for its personalized retirement accounts (PRAs) utilizing the NextCapital technology.

Third parties, including financial advisers and Ascensus’ key distribution partners, can customize the NextCapital platform and assume the role of the fiduciary. Alternatively, NextCapital can serve as fiduciary while providing advice to participants.

The collaboration with NextCapital allows Ascensus to expand on delivering valued-added advice solutions to advisers and their clients; offer future institutional and distribution partners the ability to implement their own fiduciary solutions; and improve retirement outcomes through higher usage of advice by participants, according to Ascensus.

“Ascensus’ collaboration with NextCapital will allow us to be much more nimble and flexible when it comes to offering in-plan employee advice solutions,” states Jason Crane, head of retirement sales at Ascensus. “The addition of NextCapital’s platform will help us adhere to our philosophy of an independent, conflict-free business model.” 

This is the first of many technology investments for Ascensus, as it is broadening its fiduciary capabilities. Russell Investments, a new partner with Ascensus, will be launching PRAs with Ascensus in August.

Axioma Releases Canadian Risk Model to Suite of Funds

Axioma has added a new Canada equity risk model (AXCA4) to its next-generation Equity Factor Risk Model suite. The release builds on the existing risk models, offering enhanced country-specific content to meet the risk-management needs of investors.

The estimation universe for the new Canada model contains over 440 stocks and exchange-traded funds (ETFs), with coverage history from 1995. The enhanced data includes deep daily history and, for the first time, incorporates macro factors for residual gold and oil sensitivity.

“The introduction of macro factors such as gold and oil sensitivity in the CA4 model captures the importance of these natural resources in the Canadian economy,” says Arnab Banerjee, director, Product Management at Axioma. “The new CA4 model also uses a custom and granular industry factor structure to better reflect other key Canadian markets, such as the paper and forest-products segment.”

Axioma’s updated Canada risk model utilizes 17 market-based and 15 fundamental style model descriptors, offering insights into short and medium-horizon risk exposures. In addition to holistic improvements to attribution and risk estimates, other enhancements include expanded securities universe coverage of Canada-listed shares and ETFs; additional fundamental factors, including market intercept, dividend yield, and profitability; market-based factors covering residual oil and gold sensitivity; and updated industry classifications for more representation of the Canadian market.

“There are notable differences in the behavior of factors in the Canadian market,” says Melissa Brown, head of Applied Research at Axioma. “Having an ability to drill down into a Canada-specific view of risk offers superior risk-management capabilities to managers focused on that market.”