Investment Product and Service Launches

Empower Launches Advisor Managed Accounts; Schwab Adds Conestoga Fund to Mutual Fund List; GSAM Acquires Standard & Poor's Investment Advisory Services; and more.

Art by Jackson Epstein

Art by Jackson Epstein

Empower Launches Advisor Managed Accounts

Empower has announced its newly redesigned advisory services technology platform and client experience, Advisor Managed Accounts (AMA)

“There’s no question that the most successful retirement plans are designed to deliver access to professional advice,” says Edmund Murphy, Empower Retirement president and CEO. “Advisers play a critically important role in the retirement-planning process and Advisor Managed Accounts creates a stronger partnership between an adviser’s professional investment management philosophy and Empower’s leading managed account service.”

Empower has launched AMA in partnership with advisory firms SageView Advisory Group, LLC, Mesirow Financial Retirement Planning and Advisory and Resources Investment Advisors, LLC, as early adopters of the new program. 

“Advisor Managed Accounts offers retirement investors the best of both worlds – combining the strengths of SageView’s advisers and dedicated investment team with all the services and technology of Empower,” says Randall C. Long, AIF, founder and managing principal of SageView.  “It allows us to focus on designing a prudent retirement strategy for employees while having Empower there to deliver an optimal participant experience. We fully expect this revolutionary new managed account model to drive better outcomes for employees.”

Schwab Adds Conestoga Fund to Mutual Fund List

Conestoga Capital Advisors, LLC announced that the Conestoga SMid Cap Fund (ticker CCSMX) has been added to Charles Schwab’s Mutual Fund OneSource Select List in the first quarter of 2019.  The Mutual Fund OneSource Select List is comprised of no-load and no-transaction fee mutual funds that have passed rigorous screening for performance, risk and expenses by Charles Schwab Investment Advisory, Inc.  Launched in 2014, the Conestoga SMid Cap Fund celebrated its five-year history on January 21.

“We are excited to have been chosen for the OneSource Select List and look forward to the opportunity to work with Schwab’s Individual and Advisory clients,” says Derek Johnston, partner and portfolio manager of the Conestoga SMid Cap Fund.

The SMid Cap Fund is managed by the same five-person investment team that oversees Conestoga’s Small Cap Fund.  The Conestoga SMid Cap Fund seeks to provide long-term growth of capital through a portfolio invested in small- and mid- capitalization companies.  The investment team searches for profitable companies which they believe have sustainable earnings growth rates, strong financial characteristics, and insider ownership. Co-Portfolio Managers Robert Mitchell and Derek Johnston employ a very similar investment approach as the Small Cap Fund, but across a wider market capitalization range. The Conestoga Small Cap and SMid Cap Funds have approximately 50% overlap in portfolio holdings. 

“We believe the SMid Cap Fund offers a similar opportunity for long-term capital appreciation and downside protection as our Small Cap Fund,” says Conestoga Co-Founder/Managing Partner and Portfolio Manager Bob Mitchell.  “In addition, we are able to hold some of our companies as they grow into the mid-capitalization range, seeking to extend their growth and success.”

GSAM Acquires Standard & Poor’s Investment Advisory Services

Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) has entered into an agreement to acquire Standard & Poor’s Investment Advisory Services (SPIAS) from S&P Global Market Intelligence, a division of S&P Global. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2019. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The acquisition is said to expand GSAM’s multi-asset offerings and rules-based equity strategies, positioning the firm to address the needs of financial intermediaries and institutional clients. SPIAS manages multi-asset class model portfolios using Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds, as well as equity portfolios produced employing a rules-based investment process.

“The firm is acquiring a compelling platform for growth and a differentiated team with a strong long-term track record of performance. The team’s expertise will allow us to deliver greater value to the financial intermediaries and institutions we serve,” says Timothy O’Neill and Eric Lane, co-heads of the Consumer and Investment Management Division at Goldman Sachs.

“S&P Global enabled us to grow our investment advisory business, and as our business continues to evolve, our focus on providing clients with solutions to more easily and efficiently manage their portfolios fits perfectly within GSAM,” says SPIAS president and chairman Michael Thompson. “We look forward to becoming part of one of the world’s leading asset managers, which will deliver additional resources to benefit our clients and address their changing needs.” 

Firm Offers FDIC-Insured Alternative to Stable Value Funds

Insured Retirement Investments has introduced SafeHaven, an FDIC-Insured alternative to stable value funds with a significant rate and safety advantage.

The firm notes that stable value funds invest in lower maturity fixed rate bonds, and prices of bonds go down when rates go up. Three rate hikes are expected in 2019, and payouts to 401(k) plan participants will generally decline because the stable value fund must amortize differences between book and market value against the participant payout. SafeHaven is in the opposite position: as rates go up, payout to participants goes up.

Currently the rate for SafeHaven is 2.4%, compared to 1.92% for stable value funds.

For participants, SafeHaven is the best place to keep cash until it’s needed, there is easy access to cash, they cannot lose principle, and earnings increase as interest rates go up. SafeHaven provides retirement plan sponsors with sensible alternatives for cash investments. Since it is fully FDIC-Insured, there is less risk than stable value or money market funds, and a low expense ratio provides exceptional value.

In addition, the firm says SafeHaven is the smart choice for advisers acting as fiduciaries to retirement plans.

More information can be found here.