Investment Products and Service Launches

T. Rowe Price Expands 401(k) Brokerage Services with Charles Schwab; Wilshire Launches New EVA Index Family; USAA Launches R6 Retirement Share Classes; and more.
T. Rowe Price Expands 401(k) Brokerage Services with Charles Schwab

Beginning in April 2017, Charles Schwab’s Personal Choice Retirement Account (PCRA) will be available for T. Rowe Price’s recordkeeping clients and their participants across all market segments. Charles Schwab’s platform is currently available to T. Rowe Price’s small-market clients.

This self-directed brokerage account allows plan participants to invest a portion of their retirement plan savings in a wide range of investments beyond those that are ‘core’ to the employer’s retirement plan.

“We believe Schwab’s brokerage platform meets the unique needs of our recordkeeping clients across all market segments,” says Diana Awed, head of Product & Marketing at T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services. “We look forward to providing our clients with key product enhancements that are important to them, such as direct access for a participant’s financial adviser, paperless account opening, online fixed income trading, and the ability to trade through multiple channels.

This service is for T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services recordkeeping clients only, and does not pertain to brokerage services provided by T. Rowe Price to individual investor clients.

T. Rowe Price Retirement Plan Services has been a retirement solutions provider for more than 30 years and currently serves nearly 1.9 million retirement plan participants across more than 3,500 plans. Retirement-related assets represent 69% of the firm’s total assets under management.

NEXT: Wilshire Launches New EVA Index Family

Wilshire Launches New EVA Index Family

Wilshire Associates and EVA Capital Management have launched two new indexes which aim to gauge the performance of strategies based on an Estimated Value Added (EVA) weighing of the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index. The firm now offers the EVA Wilshire 5000 Index (EVAW5000) and the EVA Wilshire US Large-Cap Index (EVAWLC).

Wilshire defines EVA as a “time-tested and well-respected process designed to identify a company’s true economic profitability.” EVA weightings are calculated by EVA Capital, using data from evaDimensions, a global leader in the application of EVA-based solutions. EVA Capital has an exclusive license to construct indexes based on data from evaDimensions and has collaborated with Wilshire to create the new indexes based on the EVA of the constituents of both Wilshire index counterparts. 

“Wilshire Analytics is proud to align with EVA innovator, EVA Capital, to bring these indexes to market,” says Robert J. Waid, Managing Director at Wilshire Associates. “Wilshire’s well-respected broad market index heritage combined with EVA Capital’s access to a robust methodology that helps identify positive economic value for investors is in the true spirit of Wilshire’s deep commitment to deliver actionable insight to the investor.”

Nick Lobaccaro, founder of EVA Capital added, “We are proud to align with ... Wilshire, to create these unique indexes that measure the performance of a strategy that aims to invest in companies that create value and avoid companies that do not.”

For more information about the EVA Wilshire 5000 and EVA Wilshire US Large-Cap indexes, visit

Wilshire Associates is a global financial services firm providing consulting services, analytics solutions and customized investment solutions to plan sponsors, investment managers and financial intermediaries. Based in Santa Monica, California, Wilshire provides services to clients in more than 20 countries representing more than 500 organizations with assets totaling approximately $7 trillion, according to the firm.

NEXT: USAA Launches R6 Retirement Share Classes

USAA Launches R6 Retirement Share Classes

USAA, a financial services organization supporting military members and their families, will be offering R6 retirement share classes across six of its mutual funds for eligible investors. The share classes comprise the USAA Income Fund, USAA High Income Fund, USAA Income Stock Fund, USAA Short-Term Bond Fund, Intermediate-Term Bond Fund, and the Government Securities Fund.

The move is a response to member feedback and research, which indicated that saving for retirement was a financial goal for 70% of USAA members. Today, more than 2.4 million businesses are majority-owned by veterans currently representing 9% of the non-farm companies, USAA notes. Many of these businesses offer a retirement plan such as a 401(k).

“USAA is offering the R6 share class as another financial solution to provide plan sponsors a lower-cost option with greater fee transparency for employer-sponsored retirement plans to prepare our members and the military community for financial security,” the company says.  

NEXT: T. Rowe Price Releases New Fixed Income Fund

T. Rowe Price Releases New Fixed Income Fund 

The recently-launched T. Rowe Price Total Return Fund will seek to maximize return by investing in a diversified portfolio composed of U.S. securitized bonds, bank loans, and other debt instruments. It will be co-managed by Andy McCormick, head of the U.S. taxable bond team, and portfolio manager Chris Brown.

The Total Return Fund will mainly focus on intermediate-term bonds and will employ a U.S.-focused, multi-sector approach. Its risk-balanced framework is supported by T. Rowe Price's research platform. The firm says the fund will serve as a complement to its existing multi-sector lineup, and is designed to address the challenges of the current market environment including low interest rates, volatility potential, stretched valuations, and impaired market liquidity.

"The importance of high-grade U.S. bonds to both U.S. and global clients is an enduring feature of fixed income markets,” says McCormick. “With rates so low, bond investors are seeking more from their fixed income allocation. They want managers to dig harder to find higher returns. We've structured this fund to have the flexibility to take advantage of the best ideas our global research platform produces while still retaining the characteristics of a high-grade bond portfolio—diversification of risk away from stocks and steady cash flow from the fund's holdings."

The fund's primary benchmark will be the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, but as a high tracking error fund, it will seek to differentiate itself from the index and maximize returns.

The fund will be offered with Investor, Advisor and I Class shares.

"This fund is built on high-conviction ideas from a wide range of bond markets, so we anticipate being able to spread risk broadly to protect investors from adverse outcomes while maximizing risk-adjusted returns,” says Brown. “Andy and I will use the same process that all of our multi-sector bond portfolios have employed in our effort to help produce strong risk-adjusted performance for investors; it is time-tested and built to support this new investment strategy."

To download a prospectus for the fund, click here.

NEXT: Nationwide Funds Rolls Out Family of NextShares Funds

Nationwide Funds Rolls Out Family of NextShares Funds

Nationwide Funds has entered into a preliminary agreement with NextShares Solutions to launch a family of NextShares exchange-traded managed funds.

NextShares aims for benchmark-beating returns by integrating its manager’s proprietary investment research. As exchange-traded products, NextShares may offer cost and tax efficiencies that can enhance shareholder returns. 

"We're proud to add Nationwide Funds as a NextShares partner," says Stephen W. Clarke, president of NextShares Solutions. "We're pleased to expand the distribution of NextShares to Nationwide Funds investors."

Investors interested in learning more about Nationwide's mutual funds should contact their financial professional or click here. Financial professionals interested in learning more should call the Nationwide Funds Group sales desk at 877-877-5083, option 3, or visit the website.

NEXT: CANNEX to Launch Annuity Comparison Tools in 2017

CANNEX to Launch Annuity Comparison Tools in 2017

CANNEX is set to roll out its new deferred annuity benefit comparison tools during the first quarter of 2017. Currently being tested by clients, the new service is designed to help users gauge the economic suitability of variable annuity and fixed-indexed annuity transactions. Moreover, it is developed to help fiduciary advisors act in the best interest of their clients.                

"Variable and fixed indexed annuities are bundled products with a variety of rules and benefit combinations that can make them difficult to compare," says CANNEX President Gary Baker. "Our approach allows advisers to evaluate the insured performance of these products to assist them in making the appropriate selection to meet clients' financial planning objectives. As we implement this service, we will provide advisers and their firms the support they need to help them meet the transaction requirements of FINRA, as well as their obligations as a fiduciary adviser under the Department of Labor's Best Interest Standard of Care when selecting a product."

The new tools evaluate the embedded guarantees of deferred annuities to determine the economic benefit of each product specific to the profile of the client. This methodology allows advisers and clients to enhance their current qualitative analysis of products, and implement an independent approach to reviewing, assessing and recommending an annuity based on financial and actuarial models, the firm notes. To ensure consistency from a quantitative and actuarial perspective, CANNEX is leveraging its existing platforms which permit the comparison and evaluation of income annuity products at a transactional level.          

"I have been an advocate of using objective analytic techniques to determine economic suitability for all annuity transactions and have been writing about how to do this conceptually for almost 15 years—well before the DOL raised the issue," says finance professor Moshe A. Milevsky. CANNEX has finally put this theory into practice with the development of a tool to evaluate these sophisticated products."

CANNEX has also received a formal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) opinion of counsel from the Wagner Law Group validating that the methodology is consistent with the DOL Best Interest Contract Exemption (BICE) requirement for firms to adopt compliance measures that are reasonably and prudently designed to prevent conflicts.

More information about CANNEX's annuity evaluation methodology is available in the following white paper: Determining the Economic Suitability of a Variable Annuity Transaction.

NEXT: Prudential Fixed Income Becomes PGIM Fixed Income

Prudential Fixed Income Becomes PGIM Fixed Income

Currently operating globally under two brand names, Prudential Fixed Income will consolidate the two to become PGIM Fixed Income. The change will officially go in effect January 1, 2017, pending customary regulatory approvals in certain markets.

Prudential Fixed Income is a global asset manager offering active solutions across all fixed income markets. The company manages assets for institutional clients and retail investors worldwide with $681 billion in assets under management as of September 30, 2016.

“As we continue to expand globally, a single name offers better clarity and consistency across all regions in which we operate,” says Michael Lillard, head of Prudential Fixed Income and chief investment officer.

NEXT: AllianzGI Acquires Sound Harbor Partners

AllianzGI Acquires Sound Harbor Partners

Private credit manager Sound Harbor Partners has agreed to join the Private Debt Platform of active investment manager Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI). Under the terms of the transaction, AllianzGI will acquire Sound Harbor’s assets for an undisclosed sum, and the Sound Harbor team will join AllianzGI. Following the acquisition, AllianzGI’s clients will have access to U.S. private credit investment funds managed by a Sound Harbor team. 

“Over the last five years, AllianzGI has invested steadily in the quality and breadth of its active investment offering,” says AllianzGI Global CEO Andreas Utermann. “Within our fast-growing Alternatives segment, private debt stands out as a particularly exciting area, where we’ve clearly signaled our intent to expand our capabilities to address our clients’ evolving investment needs. The addition of the team from Sound Harbor is a significant step in that process, strengthening and complementing our existing capabilities in this important space.”

Sound Harbor is led by led by Michael Zupon and Dean Criares.

“Dean and I, along with the entire team, are looking forward to joining a leading and respected investment manager that shares Sound Harbor’s commitment to outstanding investment performance and dedication to its clients’ needs,” Zupon says. “Joining AllianzGI will enhance our ability to capitalize on trends favoring growth in alternative investment managers with scale, brand recognition and long-term capital.”

Sound Harbor focuses on alternative investments in corporate loans, direct lending, distressed debt and opportunistic credit. The firm manages these investments on behalf of its clients in private limited partnerships, collateralized loan obligations and separately managed accounts.