Investment Product and Service Launches

Northern Trust Creates Private Equity and Hedge Fund Service Group; Impax Introduces ESG-Focused Fund; OneAmerica to Offer Russell Investments Managed Accounts; and more.  

ProShares has created its Online Retail exchange-traded fund (ETF), an effort to invest in larger retailers selling through online or other non-store channels, from Amazon to Alibaba.

“Retail shopping is increasingly moving away from bricks-and-mortar stores and going digital, and the companies driving sales in this rapidly growing marketplace present an opportunity for investors,” says Michael Sapir, co-founder and CEO of ProShare Advisors, LLC, the adviser to ProShares. “Rather than investing in an individual company, investors can now get exposure to Amazon, Alibaba and other global leaders in online retail with a single ticker: ONLN,” Sapir said.

ONLN expands ProShares’ lineup of Retail Disruption ETFs, including ProShares Decline of the Retail Store (EMTY) and ProShares Long Online/Short Stores ETF (CLIX).

ONLN tracks the ProShares Online Retail Index, designed to measure the performance of publicly traded companies that principally sell online or through other non-store channels, such as mobile or app purchases, rather than through brick-and-mortar store locations. The index uses a modified market-capitalization weighting approach. The ProShares Online Retail Index’s constituents may include U.S. and non-U.S. companies listed on a U.S. stock exchange. Companies in the index must: be classified as an online retailer, an e-commerce retailer, or an internet or direct marketing retailer, according to standard industry classification systems; have a market capitalization of at least $500 million; and have a six-month daily average value traded of at least $1 million and meet other requirements.

Northern Trust Creates Private Equity and Hedge Fund Service Group

Northern Trust has launched North America Alternative Fund Services, a new group establishing private equity and hedge fund service businesses to address complex operational and strategic needs of the alternative asset management industry.

North America Alternative Fund Services provides fund administration, accounting and data solutions to hedge funds, private equity managers and managed account platforms. It offers specialized expertise in complex valuations, cash, collateral and liquidity management, as well as analytics and transparency into portfolios that increasingly combine hedge fund strategies with fund structures traditionally used by private equity firms.

The group will be led by Peter Sanchez, head of Northern Trust Hedge Fund Services since 2011. Jeff Boyd has been promoted to lead Hedge Fund Services in North America, reporting to Sanchez.

“Investment managers face new operational challenges as they move across asset classes to more complex portfolio construction approaches – incorporating private equity, real estate, infrastructure as well as hedging strategies in the search for yield,” says Pete Cherecwich, president of Corporate & Institutional Services at Northern Trust. “Under Peter’s proven leadership, our North America Alternative Fund Services group provides a sophisticated technology platform, operational expertise and service model that delivers unrivalled support to the most innovative asset managers and their clients.”

Impax Introduces ESG-Focused Fund

Impax Asset Management LLC, investment adviser to Pax World Funds, has launched Pax Global Opportunities Fund (PXGOX), sub-advised by its London affiliate, Impax Asset Management Ltd. This is the first product introduction since Pax World Management was acquired by Impax Asset Management Group plc in January.

The Pax Global Opportunities Fund seeks to deliver capital growth by investing in companies positioned to benefit from the transition to a more sustainable global economy. Impax believes that demographic change, resource scarcity, inadequate infrastructure and environmental constraints will disrupt private-sector markets profoundly in the coming years, creating opportunities for well-positioned companies and increased risk for companies unable or unwilling to adapt.

The fund aims to identify and invest in companies that possess sustainable competitive advantages and track records of consistent returns on investment. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis is an integral part of Impax’s investment research and process, providing risk mitigation and important insight into the character of a company.

“We have two proprietary tools to help us identify companies well positioned to benefit from the transition to a more sustainable economy. A series of financial tests helps us find companies that we believe offer consistent, predictable returns, while the Impax Sustainability Lens provides us with unique insights into evolving trends and involves deep analysis of the risks involved in the transition to a more sustainable economy. It is a framework that facilitates the discovery of the best growth companies where the opportunities outweigh the risks,” says Kirsteen Morrison, co-portfolio manager for the Pax Global Opportunities Fund.

The investment managers intend to take a five-year view of a company’s prospects before investing, hold a concentrated portfolio of 35 to 45 companies, and run the fund with a low level of turnover. The portfolio has broad geographic and sector exposure and is overweight to mid-cap companies relative to the MSCI ACWI benchmark. In addition to the U.S. mutual fund, Impax Asset Management Ltd. has begun offering the strategy to European institutional and wholesale investors.

OneAmerica to Offer Russell Investments Managed Accounts

Global asset manager Russell Investments has reached an agreement with OneAmerica to distribute Russell Investments’ Adaptive Retirement Accounts (ARA) on behalf of defined contribution (DC) plan clients. The managed account option will be available to the OneAmerica open architecture trust business, which includes U.S. corporations, nonprofit organizations and public-sector entities. 

“This alliance with Russell Investments to bring ARA to the OneAmerica platform means a customized solution for individual retirement plan participants and more options for retirement plan sponsors,” says Terry Burns, assistant vice president of Products and Investments for OneAmerica Retirement Services. “It’s a new option to help participants optimize their pursuit of retirement income.” 


According to Andrew Scherer, senior director, defined contribution at Russell Investments, the tool may work for those benefiting of customized investment strategies geared towards future targeted replacement income, as ARA considers retirement accounts and assets outside of the plan sponsor’s retirement plan, along with factors catered to participants.

Each participant’s customized asset allocation is assessed quarterly and adjusted as needed based on progress toward his or her targeted retirement income goal. The ARA option is scheduled to be available in the fourth quarter 2018 to new and existing clients.