Investment Product and Service Launches

Archer and Wilshire Analytics Partner to Add Analysis; E*Trade Platform Expands Available ETFs; Vanguard Increases Active Fixed Income Offerings; and more.

Hand Benefits & Trust (HB&T), a BPAS company, has been selected by ABG Consultants, LLC to establish a series of risk‐based collective investment funds (CIFs) effective February 1, 2019. HB&T is a national provider of employee benefit trust services. The HB&T CIFs will provide ABG Consultants with a new alternative to handling risk‐based models on a recordkeeping system.

“Creating ABG risk‐based collective funds opens up a world of opportunity for ABG Consultants to support our clients and their employees,” says Larry Solomon, president of ABG Consultants. “We will use collectives to create a robust managed solution where we consider both age and risk tolerance,” he added. “It will put employees on a customized glide path where they can be confident that their investments will change as they get older. This solution combines the best of risk‐based models and target‐date funds.”

“As trustee, administrator, and transfer agent, we are looking forward to working with the ABG team,” says Stephen Hand, HB&T president. “CIFs generally provide for lower expense ratios, flexibility with underlying securities, and simplified 404(a)(5) compliance, which will make it easier for ABG clients to achieve their retirement goals.”

As You Sow Launches Pro Gender Equality Feature

As You Sow has released its fifth Invest Your Values screening tool, Gender Equality Funds. Gender Equality Funds is a free, online tool that enables individual and institutional investors to apply a gender lens to mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) investments.

Gender Equality Funds screens the specific holdings of about 5,000 of the most commonly-held U.S. mutual funds—including Vanguard, BlackRock, and State Street—against a database detailing individual company performance on 12 key gender equality performance indicators. These 12 indicators measure policies that demonstrate a commitment to gender diversity and gender balance in the overall leadership, management, and workforce of companies, combining into an overall gender equality portfolio score for each mutual fund.

This transparency gives investors the ability to apply a gender lens in evaluating mutual funds. It encourages fund managers to construct and offer investment vehicles that are sympathetic to gender parity, ultimately exerting market pressure on companies to improve their performance on gender issues.

“This tool could not be coming out at a better time,” Andrew Behar, CEO of As You Sow, says. “Women comprise 47% of the workforce, but only 4.8% of S&P 500 companies have female CEOs. The new tool empowers investors to see what is hidden within the mutual funds that comprise the bulk of their retirement savings and 401(k) plans. The first step is to know what you own—then you can use the power of your capital to invest in companies that have policies and practices that promote gender equality. We expect this tool to unleash a tsunami of change in the way women are treated in the workforce.”

“Impact investing should not be limited to private deals or customized public portfolios,” Ruth Shaber, founder and president of Tara Health Foundation, says. “The bulk of the wealth in this country is invested in mutual funds. If we want to democratize access to impact investing, we need to create tools for everyone, from individuals with 401(k)s to institutional investors with billions of dollars under management. The Gender Equality Funds tool allows anyone to apply a gender lens to their investments.”

Archer and Wilshire Analytics Partner to Add Analysis

Archer announced an alliance with Wilshire Analytics, the investment technology division of Wilshire Associates, to integrate attribution analysis into its platform.

Wilshire’s multi-asset class attribution includes Brinson-style analysis, often used for equities, as well as factor-based analysis appropriate for fixed-income portfolios. Managers can leverage the strength of either approach as best suits their portfolios and investment strategies. Through seamless integration with Archer’s total solution for middle and back office investment approaches, asset managers can gain insight and data to help to inform a performance narrative with end clients.

“While access to analytics has existed in different forms, providing it alongside account overview information, composite performance, trade flow and reconciliation detail provides managers investment performance intelligence in context to support their clients,” saysJason Schwarz, president of Wilshire Analytics and Wilshire Fund Management. “Aligning with a growing provider of outsourced middle and back-office solutions expands institutional asset managers’ access to our best-of-breed attribution analysis.”

Russell Investments Creates Income Model Portfolio Strategies

Financial advisers and their clients now have access to the Russell Investments’ two new income model portfolio strategies, the Target Income Model Strategy and the Target Income Plus Model Strategy, through Envestnet’s third-party fund strategist platform. This follows other recent launches on both Robert W. Baird & Co.’s platform for financial advisers and TD Ameritrade’s Institutional Model Market Center.

“We see significant potential and demand from advisers for these new multi-asset solutions as attractive sources of yield-based income amid today’s challenging capital markets landscape,” says Mark Spina, head of North America Advisor & Intermediary Solutions at Russell Investments. “These new income model strategies are another example of our ongoing efforts to help advisers gain efficiency and scale in their practice, so they can help clients meet investment goals while building sustainable businesses. Our model portfolios help advisers to streamline the amount of time required for product research, trading, rebalancing and preparation for client reviews.”

Russell Investments’ income model strategies are designed to deliver yield-based income at an attractive cost to income-seeking investors. The portfolios are comprised of active and passive investment vehicles including Russell Investments’ funds, third-party mutual funds and ETFs, all strategically assembled to offer global, multi-asset diversification that includes exposure to equities, fixed income and alternatives.

The Target Income Model Strategy targets an after-fee yield of approximately 4%, while the Target Income Plus Model Strategy targets an after-fee yield of approximately 4.5%. The weighted average net expense ratio for the model portfolios ranges from 0.67% to 0.73% for Class S shares.

“Yield-seeking investors have faced a challenging environment and increased risk for some time now,” says Rob Balkema, senior portfolio manager on the multi-asset solutions team at Russell Investments. “Such an environment requires constant vigilance and the ability to react quickly. We’re on the lookout for new opportunities—whether it’s asset classes, managers or strategies—and ready to nimbly integrate them into our income model strategies as appropriate.”

E*Trade Platform Expands Available ETFs

TCA by E*TRADE has expanded its ETF [exchange-traded fund] Custody Advantage program, adding 130 ETFs from First Trust Advisors L.P. Now advisers who use TCA by E*TRADE can access more than 280 ETFs, almost doubling the funds available on the Custody Advantage program.

The ETF Custody Advantage program offers investing flexibility through intraday trading on a regulated exchange. ETFs participating in the ETF Custody Advantage program provide RIAs with a custody fee offset, automatically applied to assets held in ETFs on the platform. 

“TCA by E*TRADE delivers a diverse fund offering to help advisers meet their clients’ evolving needs,” says TCA by E*TRADE president Joshua Pace. “Introducing these funds from First Trust allows us to provide our advisers with innovative and cost-effective investment selections.”

“We are excited to work with TCA by E*TRADE to make our ETFs available through the ETF Custody Advantage platform,” says First Trust senior vice president and ETF strategist Ryan Issakainen. “Through the TCA by E*TRADE Custody Advantage platform, we will help a broader spectrum of advisers and further our commitment to addressing their investment challenges.”

Vanguard Increases Active Fixed Income Offerings

Vanguard has grown its roster of active fixed income offerings with the launch of Vanguard Global Credit Bond Fund. The new actively managed fund will provide investors with diversified exposure to the U.S. and international investment-grade credit markets.

The fund is actively managed to represent the global credit universe, which is comprised of U.S.D.-denominated (~65%) and non-U.S.D.-denominated (~35%, developed and emerging markets) investment grade securities, including those issued by corporate and non-corporate credit entities. The majority of the non-U.S.D.-denominated portfolio is hedged to the U.S. dollar to preserve the fund’s credit focus.

“Vanguard has long been recognized as a fixed income leader, offering investors a comprehensive range of bond funds and ETFs covering corporate, government, and municipal markets of varying maturities,” says John Hollyer, global head of Vanguard Fixed Income Group. “The new Global Credit Bond Fund is an attractive option for investors seeking an active core holding with diversified, global exposure to credit.”

The Global Credit Bond Fund, in keeping with all Vanguard actively managed fixed income funds, seeks to deliver consistent outperformance at a lower cost than most competing funds, thereby offering investors the potential for higher value over time.

Broadridge Aligns with Tableau Software to Deliver Investment Analytics

Broadridge Financial Solutions has partnered with Tableau Software to deliver analytics and visualization capabilities to Broadridge’s investment management clients. Clients will have seamless integration between the Broadridge Investment Management Data Warehouse and Tableau to provide self-service access to individualized analytics, customizable digital reports and interactive dashboards.

By integrating Broadridge’s solutions with Tableau, Broadridge clients can explore trading and portfolio data, while intuitive, visual analytics enables them to seamlessly showcase their findings and empower more people with data-driven results.

“Actionable data is at the forefront of everything today. Data aggregation and normalization is a constant pain point for the industry and getting it right for our buy-side clients is one of Broadridge’s competitive advantages,” says Eric Bernstein, Broadridge’s head of asset management solutions. “Tableau’s visual analytics platform, combined with our best-in-suite software, will provide insights and analytics into trading, portfolio and operations data at the speed of thought.”

“As an organization’s needs rapidly evolve, the effective use of data is more critical than ever to ensuring success,” says Kim Minor, financial services market director at Tableau. “We’re thrilled to see Broadridge take advantage of Tableau’s open, flexible platform with the creation of this new offering that will help customers gain a competitive advantage with data. This is a powerful example of how embedded analytics can help deliver unique, mission-critical insights to customers quickly and easily.”

Tableau’s visual analytics capabilities are available immediately for existing and prospective Broadridge investment management clients, including hedge funds, hedge fund administrators, asset managers, banks and prime brokers.