July 11, 2011

Top Portfolio Products: First Trust ISE Cloud Computing Index Fund; Goldman India and Korea Funds

EuroPac hard asset fund launches; John Hancock annuity benefit improved; Van Eck ETF for China private equity launches

This week in new products, ISE announced a First Trust cloud computing ETF and Goldman Sachs launched funds focused on India and Korea. Euro Pacific tapped Peter Schiff to run its new hard-assets fund, while John Hancock beefed up its lifetime withdrawal benefit and Van Eck launched a new ETF for China private equity with multiple share classes.

1) ISE Announces First Cloud Computing ETF from First Trust

The International Securities Exchange (ISE) announced Wednesday that First Trust Advisors has launched the First Trust ISE Cloud Computing Index Fund (SKYY), the first ETF that tracks companies involved in the emerging cloud computing industry, on NASDAQ.

The First Trust ISE Cloud Computing Index Fund is based on the ISE Cloud Computing Index (CPQ), a new benchmark for this growth sector that includes companies that are direct service providers for the cloud, firms that provide goods and services in support of the cloud computing space, and technology conglomerates whose business model uses or supports cloud computing technology.

According to ISE, Forrester Research projects total public cloud revenues to go up 27% annually, reaching close to $160 billion by 2020, up from $15 billion in 2010.

2) Goldman Sachs Launches India and Korea Equity Funds

On June 30, Goldman Sachs Asset Management launched the Goldman Sachs India Equity Fund (GIAAX), following the May 31 launch of the Goldman Sachs Korea Equity Fund (GWIAX). The portfolios seek to achieve long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in local Indian and Korean equities.

The funds will be managed by local Goldman Sachs Asset Management International equity teams in Singapore. The funds are offered in A and C shares, both with $1,000 minimum initial investments, and they also offer institutional and IR shares.

3) Euro Pacific, Peter Schiff Launch New Hard Assets Fund

Euro Pacific Asset Management, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based asset manager affiliated with Peter Schiff's brokerage firm, Euro Pacific Capital, announced that Schiff and Jim Nelson will manage the new EuroPac Hard Asset Fund, which launched Friday.

The fund, which will trade under the symbol EPHAX, is the fifth fund offered by Euro Pacific Asset Management. It attempts to provide capital appreciation and to hedge against inflation over the long term by investing in hard-asset securities as well as currencies that the team believes have the greatest potential for appreciation against the U.S. dollar. As a secondary objective, the fund seeks income from dividends and interest.

The strategy is geared for U.S.-based investors who are concerned about global inflation and the long-term uncertainty of the U.S. dollar. To hedge against these forces, the fund will invest in a basket of hard-asset commodities, such as gold and silver, non-dollar equities in the commodity sector and foreign currencies. These asset classes may also include precious metal mining companies and companies involved in energy, agriculture and the production of industrial metals. The fund may also hold cash denominated in foreign currencies.

4) John Hancock Annuities Enhances Lifetime Withdrawal Benefit

John Hancock Annuities has enhanced its Income Plus For Life optional rider by increasing the deferral credit for newly issued riders to 6% from 5% at age 65 and older.

In addition, John Hancock Annuities has also created new underlying Lifestyle portfolios for exclusive use with the new Income Plus For Life optional rider. The diversified portfolios, designated as the Lifestyle PS Series, are designed for use with an automated asset transfer process under the rider. John Hancock’s proprietary process, the Portfolio Stabilization Process, is designed to help limit equity exposure in response to decreases in contract value during periods of market volatility.

The Income Plus For Life optional rider provides guaranteed lifetime income as early as age 59½, and is available for an additional 1.00% annual fee (max 1.50%). The income guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of John Hancock. Income Plus For Life can only be elected at issue, is irrevocable, and may not be available in conjunction with other riders, or in qualified plans.

5) Van Eck Drafts China Private Equity Company ETF

New York-based commodities investment firm Van Eck filed papers on Thursday to launch a China equity ETF that will own A-shares and other classes.

The Market Vectors China Private Company ETF will offer a mix of China A-shares, B-shares, H-shares and so-called Red Chip companies as part of its strategy to track the China Private Company Index, as follows:

  • A-shares—traded in renminbi and listed on the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges
  • B-shares—traded in foreign currency on the Shenzhen and Shanghai stock exchanges
  • H-shares—companies incorporated in China but denominated in Hong Kong dollars and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange
  • Red Chips—shares of companies controlled by Chinese national or local governmental entities.

Read last week’s Portfolio Products Roundup at AdvisorOne.com.

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