July 7, 2012

Top Portfolio Products: Natixis Rolls Out New Value-Equity Fund

Also, BlackRock plans to acquire a Swiss private-equity group

New products introduced over the last week include a new fund launched by Natixis and the acquisition of Swiss Re Private Equity Partners by BlackRock.

In addition, Advantus Capital filed with the SEC to introduce a new fund in September.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Natixis Global Asset Management Launches Vaughan Nelson Select Fund

Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM) announced the launch of a concentrated equity fund, the Vaughan Nelson Select Fund (VNSAX), from Vaughan Nelson Investment Management and managed by Vaughan Nelson’s value equity team, on June 29; the lead portfolio manager is Scott Weber and co-managers are Chris Wallis and Dennis Alff.

VNSAX invests in undervalued companies across the market capitalization spectrum. It holds between 20 and 40 stocks, has the ability to hold preferred and convertible securities and can short equity securities tactically.

2) BlackRock to Acquire Swiss Re Private Equity Partners AG

BlackRock, Inc. announced Tuesday that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Swiss Re Private Equity Partners AG (SRPEP), the European private equity and infrastructure fund of funds franchise of Swiss Re. BlackRock and Swiss Re have also entered into a strategic alternative investment relationship agreement, centered on BlackRock Alternative Investors (BAI), which reinforces Swiss Re’s current investments in SRPEP products and establishes other future Swiss Re commitments to the BAI platform.

SRPEP will be integrated with BlackRock’s existing private equity fund-of-funds group, BlackRock Private Equity Partners (BRPEP). The transaction extends BRPEP’s investment capabilities into infrastructure investing, expands its European and Asian footprint, and establishes the unit’s presence in Switzerland where BlackRock has a long-standing presence and history of service through employees in Zurich and Geneva.

Russell Steenberg, managing director and head of BRPEP, will continue to lead the combined unit. Christian Hinze, chief executive officer of SRPEP, will join BlackRock as deputy head of the combined business. No changes are expected to the investment strategy, style or members of existing portfolio management teams. The transaction is expected to be completed by the end of the third quarter of 2012.

3) Advantus Capital Plans Fund Option for Dividend-Income Strategy

Advantus Capital Management filed with the SEC on June 22 to add the Advantus Strategic Dividend Income Fund to its product lineup. Institutional class shares are expected to launch September 12. The fund’s objective is to seek above-average income and long-term growth of capital, with a secondary objective of reduced volatility compared to broader equity markets.

Under normal market conditions, the fund advisor, Advantus Capital Management, intends primarily to invest in dividend-paying equity securities, including common and preferred stocks of utilities, infrastructure-related, real estate-related and other companies. The fund will be managed by the portfolio management team of Joseph Betlej, Lowell Bolken and Craig Stapleton.

Read the June 29 Portfolio Products Roundup at AdvisorOne.com

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