Investment Product and Service Launches

MATC releases portfolio gallery with global asset managers; Ascensus adds advice and managed accounts services; New York Life partners with Visual Capitalist on data visualization platform; and more.

Art by Jackson Epstein

Art by Jackson Epstein

MATC Releases Portfolio Gallery With Global Asset Managers

The Mid Atlantic Trust Co. (MATC) will launch the ModelxChange Gallery to provide access to portfolio construction and management expertise from global asset managers, with BlackRock, Franklin Templeton, Federated Hermes and Janus Henderson as part of the initial release. 

Franklin Templeton has released a suite of a dozen outcome model portfolios that provide targeted diversification among asset classes, regions and sectors, and that use a wide range of active, passive and smart beta investments. “Outcome model portfolios can help simplify allocation decisions and provide a solution that is more personalized than a target-date fund [TDF] in a retirement plan,” says Yaqub Ahmed, head of Franklin Templeton’s Investment-Only Division, U.S. Retirement and Insurance/Subadvisory. 

BlackRock has made its LifePath target-date and risk allocation exchange-traded fund (ETF) models available to those advisers with plans and assets custodied at MATC. As the first TDF, LifePath has seen investors through more market ups and downs than any other TDF, BlackRock says. With the launch of LifePath target-date models on the ModelxChange Gallery, BlackRock is helping to provide more investors with low-cost, professionally managed portfolios of diversified investments that adjust over time. For plan sponsors and advisers, BlackRock is bringing a time-tested default investment alternative to the model marketplace. 

Janus Henderson and Federated Hermes will also be launching models using the ModelxChange Gallery. Janus Henderson will be launching six asset allocation models, including three ETF-based models as part of its Global Adaptive Capital strategy. The other three models from Janus Henderson, part of its Global Allocation strategy, are mutual fund models. 

Federated Hermes plans to offer 11 multi-manager target-date portfolios on the ModelxChange Gallery platform beginning on October 1. Designed specifically for defined contribution (DC) plans, Federated Hermes’ glide path models will take an open-architecture approach to investment selection that mixes active and passive mutual funds and ETFs. 

For retirement plan advisers and recordkeepers, ModelxChange supports ETFs, with a single, end-of-day execution price. Simultaneously, advisers managing those retirement plans can also incorporate those same models into the high-net-worth accounts with assets in custody with MATC. 

Ascensus Adds Advice and Managed Accounts Services

Ascensus is expanding the managed account services available to its institutional partners and clients. The firm now offers four personalized advice and managed account services, with plans to add more options in the future.

“The retirement industry is seeing a trend toward saver personalization, and we believe that managed account solutions are an important piece of that puzzle,” says Dan Basile, Ascensus’ head of product. “By investing in the technology to support choice in advice services, we’re better positioned to offer our partners the ability to implement their own fiduciary solutions moving forward. And, by expanding the managed account services Ascensus offers, we can give financial advisers the freedom to choose the option best suited to their clients’ goals.”

Ascensus now offers managed account services from Morningstar Investment Management, NextCapital, Russell Investments and Stadion. Institutional partners and financial advisers may choose to make one or several of these services available to clients during the plan proposal process.

“We will continue to leverage our purpose-built technology to offer our institutional partners expanded choice and enable them to deliver personalized account management services to their clients and savers,” says David Musto, Ascensus’ president and CEO.

New York Life Partners With Visual Capitalist on Data Visualization Platform

New York Life Investments, in partnership with Visual Capitalist, has announced the launch of Advisor Channel, a data visualization platform offering financial advisers easily accessible and digestible educational material on critical capital markets and investment trends. 

“Financial advisers are facing a rapidly evolving landscape with ever-changing client dynamics and expectations, shifting investment behaviors and pronounced market volatility—making it more crucial than ever that they have access to tools and platforms that sort signal from noise and distill valuable market insights into easy-to-access content,” says Ian Forrest, chief marketing officer at New York Life Investments. “Our newly launched Advisor Channel harnesses Visual Capitalist’s expertise in developing engaging, nuanced and data-rich visualizations alongside our commitment to providing high-quality educational resources, allowing us to deliver compelling and insightful material to our clients through a uniquely accessible medium.”

Advisor Channel is an online resource developed in partnership with Visual Capitalist, featuring regularly updated and data-driven educational infographics and charts on the noteworthy markets and economic trends affecting financial advisers. The data visualizations are also available as posters and can be printed and shared in accordance with the needs of financial advisers and their clients. 

“Advisor Channel’s illustrative style infographics and charts help financial advisers, at a glance, evaluate and understand an emerging market or economic trend, while also providing them with high-quality instructive material that they can, in turn, use to engage and educate their clients as they seek to continue to build long-term, lasting relationships,” Forrest says.

American Beacon Announces Launch of New Bond Fund

American Beacon Advisors Inc. has launched the American Beacon NIS Core Plus Bond Fund (A Class: NISAX; C Class: NISCX; Y Class: NISYX; R6 Class: NISRX). The fund’s shares became available on September 10.

Focused on current income and, secondarily, capital appreciation, the new fund seeks to achieve its objectives by investing in fixed-income securities. The fund’s portfolio managers employ an investment strategy combining top-down and bottom-up processes while using a relative-value approach to security selection, and also considering changes to the economy and market over time. 

“We look forward to working with American Beacon to support this new fund and make it a success,” says Bob Brooks, CEO of National Investment Services (NIS). “Many investors are seeking income with limited volatility in today’s market; this fund has the potential to capitalize on returns by taking a high-level, traditionally institutional approach and making it available for all investors.”

American Beacon serves as the manager of the fund while NIS serves as the sub-adviser. As sub-adviser, NIS will be responsible for the day-to-day portfolio management of the fund, including managing assets and allocating all investments. Founded in 1993, NIS focuses on offering differentiated, fixed-income strategies that seek to provide institutional investors with consistent performance and downside protection. The firm offers investors a wide variety of investment strategies, including traditional and alternative fixed-income options and dynamic fixed-income offerings tailored to meet a client’s investment objective or desired level of risk. 

“We are thrilled to launch this fund, our second of 2020 and our first in partnership with NIS,” Gene Needles, chairman and CEO of American Beacon and Resolute Investment Managers, says. “We respect NIS’ decadeslong record of delivering fixed-income strategies with competitive returns, and we believe our clients can benefit greatly from the team’s expertise.”

The fund is the first American Beacon investment product sub-advised by NIS. In December, American Beacon’s parent company, Resolute Investment Managers, announced the closing of its purchase of a majority interest in NIS.

Capital Group and American Funds to Release Updates for Target-Date Support Tool

Capital Group and American Funds have announced upcoming updates to American Funds ProView, a target-date tool that supports plan sponsors and intermediaries researching target-date providers. Additionally, the companies will be including the ability to compare underlying funds in firms’ target-date fund (TDF) series.

American Funds launched ProView in May 2016 to help financial intermediaries and plan sponsors compare managers’ target-date series, which often use different building block funds and/or approaches to glide path allocations.

According to recent Morningstar research, differences in underlying funds are a bigger driver of returns than differences in asset allocations or glide paths. With that in mind, the new capability will dig into underlying funds’ characteristics, such as manager tenure, analyst rating and risk-adjusted returns, says a press release on the tool.