Investment Products and Services Launches

oekom Research Joins ISS, Renames Brand; T. Rowe Price Releases Multi-Strategy Fund; BNY Mellon Launches Core Plus Fund; and more.

Hartford Funds Lowers Fees for Six ETFs

Hartford Funds has reduced fees for six of its seven MultiFactor exchange-traded funds (ETFs), originally designed to lower costs for investors.

“Our risk-first investment approach is designed to allow advisers the ability to build more robust portfolios that are intentional about emphasizing rewarded risks, while seeking to control undesirable risks,” says Ted Lucas, head of Investment Strategies and Solutions for Hartford Funds. “We foresee a progressively challenging investment environment and believe advisers should be positioning their clients accordingly–enhancing their potential for capital growth, while aggressively managing cost and tax drag.”

Hartford Funds’ Multifactor ETFs seek to outperform traditional passive benchmarks while delivering the potential benefits of lower cost, transparency, and tax efficiency offered within an ETF wrapper.

oekom Research Joins ISS, Renames Brand

oekom research, a leader in the provision of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) ratings and data, as well as sustainable investment research, announced it will join Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS). Reflecting the strength of both brands, oekom research will be renamed ISS-oekom.

The oekom research business will continue to be led by its co-founder, Robert Habler, and will maintain and enhance its operations in Munich, Paris, London, New York and Zurich with its staff of more than 110 remaining in place.

“As institutions across the globe continue to seek out holistic responsible investment solutions and services, ISS is pleased to respond to those demands through this transaction,” says ISS Chief Operating Officer Stephen Harvey. “We welcome Robert and the entire oekom team to the ISS family and look forward to continue providing our clients with the industry’s leading environmental, social, and governance solutions.”

T. Rowe Price Releases Multi-Strategy Fund 

T. Rowe Price announced the launch of the T. Rowe Price Multi-Strategy Total Return Fund. The fund seeks to diversify investment risk for clients by combining six internally managed liquid alternative strategies to provide different sources of alpha in one multi-strategy approach, whose returns are expected to have low correlation to the equity and fixed income markets. In addition to offering risk diversification, the fund also aims to provide capital preservation and consistent returns over time.

The Multi-Strategy Total Return Fund is considered an absolute return fund designed to complement a traditional portfolio of stocks and bonds by virtue of low correlation to the capital markets. The goal of an absolute return fund is to achieve generally positive returns over time, regardless of market conditions, by employing long and short positions across multiple asset classes.

The six underlying strategies used by the fund take advantage of T. Rowe Price’s investment capabilities, including its fundamental and quantitative analysis and its global research platform.

The fund is co-managed by Stefan Hubrich, Ph.D., CFA, portfolio manager and director of multi-asset research, and Rick de los Reyes, portfolio manager. Both are in the firm’s Multi-Asset division.

The underlying component portfolios are macro and absolute return; fixed income absolute return; equity research long/short; quantitative equity long/short; volatility relative value; and style premia. The overall portfolio assembly emphasizes risk considerations and risk budgeting, owing to the varying volatility levels and risk profiles of the individual component strategies. The net expense ratios of the fund’s Investor Class shares and I Class shares are 1.37% and 1.07%, respectively.  Fee waivers of 0.13% and 0.61%, respectively, are in place through February 29, 2020.

BNY Mellon Launches Core Plus Fund

BNY Mellon Investment Management has added the BNY Mellon Insight Core Plus Fund, an actively-managed multi-sector bond strategy which seeks to deliver attractive risk-adjusted performance over an investment cycle and in various market conditions. The fund is sub-advised by Insight Investment, a global asset manager and part of BNY Mellon’s multi boutique structure.

The fund seeks high total return consistent with preservation of capital, and normally invests primarily in a diversified portfolio of investment grade fixed income securities of U.S. and foreign issuers. The fund is added with a seven-year performance track record based on the strategy it shares with the Insight Investment Grade Bond Fund, an earlier fund launched in 2010 and managed by the same portfolio management team.

The fund is co-managed by three members of Insight’s fixed income group—Gerard Berrigan, head of U.S. fixed income and Senior Portfolio Managers Gautam Khanna and Jason Celente. They apply the fund’s active bond strategy, which seeks to add value from multiple sources including sector allocation, security selection, and interest rate management.

“Our focus for this fund is to deliver attractive returns throughout the cycle without sacrificing the critical roles of capital preservation and diversification that clients expect of their core bond allocations,” says Khanna. “While the long-term decline in rates and cyclical compression in credit spreads have been a tail wind for fixed income investors in recent memory, our specialist approach and expertise in global fixed income will allow us the potential to capitalize on what we believe are the best risk and reward opportunities across the fixed income universe regardless of the Fund’s benchmark or where we are in the credit cycle.”