Top Portfolio Products: ProShares ETF Focuses on Germany; BlackRock Offers New Fund

PB Advisors, Spouting Rock collaborate; S&P Capital IQ talks Latin America; Balance Financial introduces new online tool

New products over the last week include a new ETF focusing on German debt from ProShares and a reintroduced multi-asset income fund from BlackRock.

In addition, PB Advisors and Spouting Rock announced a new collaboration; S&P Capital IQ highlighted two Latin American funds; and Balance Financial launched a new online tool.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) ProShares Launches First German Sovereign/Sub-Sovereign Bond ETF

ProShares announced Thursday the launch of ProShares German Sovereign/Sub-Sovereign ETF (GGOV), the first exchange traded fund in the United States focused on sovereign and sub-sovereign debt from Germany.

GGOV seeks to match the performance of the Markit iBoxx EUR Germany Sovereign & Sub-Sovereign Liquid Index, before fees and expenses.

GGOV's benchmark includes only investment grade debt, the majority of which currently has the highest rating from Standard & Poor's, Moody's and Fitch.

The benchmark seeks to track the returns of euro-denominated general obligation bonds issued by the Federal Republic of Germany, state governments of Germany, government agencies or institutions, and entities that are owned or guaranteed by German federal or state governments.

2) BlackRock Reintroduces Multi-Asset Fund for Income-Oriented Investors

BlackRock Inc. announced Wednesday that it is making available to retail and high-net-worth clients the BlackRock Multi-Asset Income Fund (BAICX), previously named the BlackRock Income Portfolio Fund.

The fund has changed by adding flexibility to pursue a broader range of income and return opportunities, including alternative sources of income such as MLPs, REITs and other investment instruments. It aims to provide less volatility than a traditional balanced portfolio.

BAICX is managed by a team of portfolio managers from the 150-person BlackRock Multi-Asset Client Solutions (BMACS) team of analysts, actuaries, strategists and portfolio managers globally.

3) PPB Advisors and Spouting Rock Collaborate to Expand Alternative Investment Solutions

PPB Advisors, LLC and Spouting Rock Consulting announced Tuesday that they have completed an agreement that lets advisors access alternative investments through an alternative investment platform, coupled with execution, operational protocol and reporting technology.

Advisors also have access to Spouting Rock’s proprietary research platform, combined with due diligence services and implementation consulting.

Through this collaboration, Spouting Rock will provide a range of services to PPB, including research on alternative managers, manager sourcing, due diligence, monitoring and reporting. Services also include research on industry trends and market analysis.

4) S&P’s MarketScope Advisor Asks: Is Now the Time for Latin American Funds?

International stock indices have strengthened recently on Eurozone bailout progress, and there are signs of a soft landing in China and some improvement in U.S. economic data, said Standard & Poor’s Capital IQ equity analyst E. Kwon wrote in a comment for S&P’s MarketScope Advisor on Jan. 23.

As a result, Kwon said: “We think now is a good time to look at top-ranked Latin America-focused funds that could provide important diversification benefits to investors.”

It concluded that the Fidelity Latin America Fund (FLATX) and the smaller JPMorgan Latin America Fund, Class A (JLTAX) are worth consideration.

While the region's prospects hinge on economic recovery and commodity prices, S&P Capital IQ used the funds screener on MarketScope Advisor to search 5-star and 4-star Latin American funds open to new investors, excluding institutional share classes.

5) Balance Financial Launches Online Tool to Attract and Retain Clients

Balance Financial announced on Tuesday the launch of Balance Professional, a tool that assists CPAs, bookkeepers, financial advisors, RIAs and other finance professionals to engage and better service their clients by making sure actions and recommendations actually happen.

Its interface works for such functions as bill pay, personal bookkeeping, expense tracking, budgeting, and reporting.

The tool also offers account aggregation, custom reports, increased collaboration, secure data storage and marketing.

Read the Jan. 23 Portfolio Products Roundup at AdvisorOne.com.

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