Investment Service and Product Launches

California ABLE program selects Vestwell for disability savings; Embark launches automated investing platform; and more.

California ABLE Program Selects Vestwell to Expand Disability Savings

Digital 401(k) recordkeeper Vestwell announced it has been selected to power California’s California ABLE program, which marks Vestwell’s twentieth ABLE program partnership.

Created in 2014, the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act was designed to help individuals and family members with disabilities save on a tax-advantaged basis for qualified expenses. CalABLE was established in 2018 to provide an ABLE program in California. Individuals with disabilities can save up to $100,000 in an ABLE account with no impact on Supplemental Security Income payments or other means-tested federal benefits.

“CalABLE is an essential program for thousands of Californians with disabilities that need a tax benefit to help offset the added expenses that can come with having a disability,” said Aaron Schumm, co-founder and CEO of Vestwell. “With the recent passing of the ABLE Age Adjustment Act under [the] SECURE 2.0 [Act of 2022], we expect significant growth of these savings programs, with another six million Americans with disabilities who are now eligible to save through the ABLE programs.”

Embark Launches Rebranded Automated Investing Platform

Digital investment service Embark Financial Partners launched a rebranded automated investing platform for managing IRAs, Roth IRAs and savings accounts.

The platform has no minimum investment, lower fees than most traditional financial advisers, automated deposits, self-rebalancing and can accommodate accounts of any size. Investment advisory services are provided to Embark, which is based in three different Midwestern cities, by ETF Model Solutions LLC.

The financial planning fintech company Planswell Corp. provides Embark clients with the option to receive a free wealth plan by filling out a questionnaire. Once the form is filled out on Embark’s website, one of the firm’s CFP professionals will call to discuss the plan. Launches Advanced Life Expectancy Calculator

Life settlement consulting firm launched a new version of its life expectancy calculator. Tailored to the life insurance industry, the new calculator predicts the life expectancy of Americans with life insurance policies.

“Many seniors use calculations which inherently underestimate the longevity of individuals with life insurance,” said Scott Page, president of “We built a calculator that more accurately estimates life expectancy for most Americans actively planning for the future.”’s calculator uses proprietary algorithms and mortality tables to uncover death rates; according to Page, most life expectancy calculators available online rely almost exclusively on Social Security Administration data. They do not consider education, financial position or lifestyle habits of individuals with life insurance.

The data provided by the new calculator will serve several financial planning needs, such as overall retirement savings and the sale of a life insurance policy on the secondary market, according to the Westlake, Ohio-based company.

Vanguard Plans Fund Merger, Liquidation for Q2 2023

Vanguard plans to merge its Vanguard Managed Allocation Fund into its Vanguard LifeStrategy Moderate Growth Fund. Ahead of the merger, a portion of Vanguard Managed Allocation Fund will be sold, including the liquidation of the fund’s underlying investment, the Vanguard Alternative Strategies.

Launched in 2015, the Vanguard Alternative Strategies Fund was designed to help investors further diversify beyond traditional asset classes. The fund, however, has seen limited investor demand, according to Vanguard.

Shareholders will have the chance to change to another Vanguard fund or redeem shares prior to the liquidation date. The fund’s assets will then be sold, and the proceeds distributed to any remaining shareholders.

“We strive to offer a broad lineup of investment solutions that meets the long-term needs of Vanguard’s diverse investor base,” said Dan Reyes, head of Vanguard’s portfolio review department. “We continually monitor our funds to ensure that they’re serving our clients well, and we refine and evolve our lineup to better position investors to succeed.”

CFA Institute Launches New Edition of Investment Foundations Certificate

CFA Institute, the global association of investment professionals, has launched a new edition of its CFA Institute Investment Foundations Certificate. The product is a self-paced online certificate-level program that teaches how the global investment industry works.

The certificate is designed for non-investment professionals who work alongside investment teams to understand the major concepts of the business.

“We’re so excited to bring this new version of the Investment Foundations Certificate to the market,” said Margaret Franklin, president and CEO of the CFA Institute. “Our vision for CFA Institute is to be where the investment industry comes to skill, upskill, and reskill. Employers seek a broader range of skills from their teams, and this refreshed content meets this demand.”

Launched in 2013, the certificate has been completed by some 46,000 individuals worldwide.

The program takes 60-90 hours of online study to complete. The new content focuses on decentralized finance, financial technology, ESG investing and diversity, equity, and inclusion in practice. It draws on CFA Institute research, policy and standards to inform the materials, according to the institute.

Participants have 12 months to complete the program’s six courses—including all course assessments and the end-of-certificate assessment.

NewEdge Advisors Launches Affiliation Model Prioritizing Adviser-Client Relationship

NewEdge Advisors announced it has expanded its affiliation options to include an employee model.

Under this new model, New Orleans-based NewEdge will partner and invest in independent adviser practices, as well as ‘wirehouse’ breakaways. The move will create anchor branches under the NewEdge brand. NewEdge will purchase retiring adviser practices for these anchor branches and assist with absorbing and growing the acquired books.

The new model is created for successful, rapid-growth advisers searching for scale. It is also suited for retiring advisers seeking to transition clients to accomplished advisers at institutional valuations.

“Our offering provides more choices for well-established independent advisors to shape their future,” said Neil Turner, co-CEO of NewEdge Advisors. “We’re not looking to mold a team into what we think they should be. We only work with successful practices already possessing the capabilities and capacity to handle growth. We support great advisors. We don’t create them.”

Salt Financial and MSCI Announce Strategic Collaboration to Develop Volatility-Controlled Index Solutions

Salt Financial announced a collaboration with MSCI Inc. to create risk-controlled index solutions for insurance companies.

TruVol Risk Control Engine’s use of historical intraday data for volatility forecasting will serve to increase volatility targeting accuracy and responsiveness for risk control indexes. The parties aim to create highly differentiated risk control indexes for the indexed annuity market.

“MSCI is recognized globally as a premier research and index provider, with vast expertise in many areas across the investment life cycle. We are excited to collaborate with such a distinguished firm,” said Tony Barchetto, CEO of Greenwich, Connecticut-based Salt Financial.

“This collaboration combines MSCI’s industry-leading index franchise in global equity, factors, ESG and thematics, with Salt’s next-generation risk management solutions using high frequency data,” said Stéphane Mattatia, managing director and global head of thematic indexes and derivatives licensing at New York City-based MSCI. “Our common ambition is to deliver innovative index solutions designed to address investors’ needs and investment targets.”