Investment Products and Services Launches

Putnam Announces New Pricing for TDFs; First Trust to Launch AI and Robotics ETF; and Vanguard Launches Factor-Based ETFs.

Putnam Investments announced the availability of a new highly competitive pricing option on its Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds, a series of 10 target-date funds (TDFs) designed for the retirement marketplace.

Putnam class X shares have a management fee of 0.35% and are available to defined contribution (DC) plans that have a minimum of five million dollars invested in Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds. The new class X shares symbolize the 10-year anniversary of the suite, which has experienced noteworthy growth in recent years. 

“We regularly evaluate our product offerings in an ongoing effort to provide retirement plans with an exceptional slate of actively managed investment strategies at competitive prices,” says Steven P. McKay, head of Defined Contribution Investment Only (DCIO) at Putnam Investments. “The addition of the new share class for our Putnam Retirement Advantages series underscores our commitment to deliver performance and value to plan sponsors—to ultimately help their participants meet their retirement goals.”

Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds are designed for plan participants who want the risk/return profile of their asset allocation glide path to reflect their projected retirement date. The funds are actively managed by Putnam’s Global Asset Allocation team, a highly-experienced group with a strong long-term track record of pursuing multi-asset investment strategies.

Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds, which currently have $3.8 billion in assets under management, are collective investment trusts, a pooled vehicle structure that can help to keep costs competitive by providing lower operational expenses and enhanced fee flexibility.

“Putnam is laser-focused on addressing the issues most important to plan sponsors and consultants, including fees, transparency and performance. We see our role as a critical piece of the equation, as we work closely with retirement plan sponsors and their advisers in providing an array of effective and innovative traditional and non-traditional investment strategies for participants,” adds McKay.

First Trust to Launch AI and Robotics ETF

First Trust Advisors  announced that it expects to launch a new index-based exchange-traded fund (ETF), the First Trust Nasdaq Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF on February 22.

The fund seeks investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield, before the fund’s fees and expenses, of an index called the Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index. The index, which is developed by Nasdaq and the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), is designed to track the performance of companies engaged in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and automation.

AI allows machines to complete various “human” tasks, enabling robots to solve problems and interact with their environments. “It is clear that the growing advances in AI and Robotics, while still in early days, are increasing the rate and impact of change,” says Dave Gedeon, vice president and head of Product Development for Nasdaq’s Global Indexes. “The Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index is a new way to benchmark the performance of the companies leading the charge in this dynamic sector.”

Vanguard Launches Factor-Based ETFs

Vanguard launched six new factor-based ETFs—the firm’s first actively managed ETFs in the U.S.—and one factor-based mutual fund. 

Vanguard’s five single factor funds seek to achieve specific risk or return objectives through targeted factor exposures—minimum volatility, value, momentum, liquidity, and quality—and will have an estimated expense ratio of 0.13%. The sixth ETF and mutual fund follows a multi-factor approach and has an estimated expense ratio of 0.18%.

“The newly launched factor funds further broaden our active equity lineup and represent a differentiated approach – disciplined, rules-based, targeted exposure to factors – along with Vanguard’s low costs,” says Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley. “The funds are aimed primarily at financial advisers and institutional investors, who we believe understand the risks of potential underperformance and can effectively incorporate factor funds into their portfolios.”

The new funds will be managed by Vanguard Quantitative Equity Group (QEG).

To complement the launch of the funds, Vanguard Financial Advisor Services (FAS) introduced an Education Center—a website featuring product information, research, and education on factor funds and factor investing. The center features Vanguard’s latest research on factor investing, including Equity factor-based investing: A practitioner’s guide, How to use factor-based investing in client portfolios, and Drawing systematic value from the equity liquidity premium.