Top Portfolio Products: Vanguard Switches Indexes to Cut Costs

New annuity from Northwestern Mutual, a fresh fund from Hatteras and a CRM update from Schwab

New products introduced over the last week include a new annuity from Northwestern Mutual; a new managed futures fund from Hatteras; and a new low volatility equity fund from BMO.

In addition, Vanguard announced that it would switch indexes on 22 funds to lower costs and DDJ Capital was named as a subadvisor to the Northern Multi-Manager High Yield Opportunity Fund.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Vanguard to Switch Indexes on 22 Funds to Cut Costs

To cut costs for investors, Vanguard plans to transition 22 funds, many of which have an ETF share class, to new indexes starting in 2013, the fund giant said Tuesday.

The changes entail moving six international stock index funds and 16 U.S. stock and balanced index funds with about $537 billion in assets from MSCI benchmarks to those constructed by FTSE and the University of Chicago's Center for Research in Security Prices (CRSP).

Read the full story on AdvisorOne.

2) Northwestern Mutual Introduces New Annuity

Northwestern Mutual has introduced the Select Portfolio Deferred Income Annuity, designed to help individuals create a guaranteed income to take them through retirement. It also offers the opportunity to grow income via nonguaranteed dividends. Individuals can also elect to take any dividends in cash or apply them to increase income, or they can do a combination of both.

Individuals can purchase the Select Portfolio Deferred Income Annuity where available with a lump sum payment of tax-qualified funds, such as funds held in a 401(k) plan or a traditional or Roth IRA.

3) Hatteras Launches Managed Futures Strategies Fund

Hatteras Funds announced Tuesday that it has launched a new mutual fund, the Hatteras Managed Futures Strategies Fund (I shares: HMFIX, A shares: HMFAX). The new fund invests in an existing $56 million strategy of the Hatteras Alpha Hedged Strategies Fund (ALPHX, APHAX, APHCX, ALPIX), a multistrategy, multimanager alternative mutual fund.

Dominion Capital Management, 2100 Xenon Group, Northfield Trading, and Revolution Capital Management serve as the fund’s managers and rely more on short- to intermediate-term trends.

4) BMO Global Asset Management Launches Low Volatility Equity Fund

BMO Global Asset Management announced today the addition of the BMO Low Volatility Equity Fund (MLVEX), designed to provide investors with long-term returns comparable to U.S. large cap stocks but with less volatility.

It seeks capital appreciation by investing at least 80% of its assets into a broadly diversified portfolio of stocks of some of the largest U.S.-based companies similar to those of the Russell 1000 Index.

5) DDJ Capital is Subadvisor for NMHYX

The board of trustees of the Northern Multi-Manager Funds have approved the appointment of DDJ Capital Management, LLC as a subadvisor to the Northern Multi-Manager High Yield Opportunity Fund (NMHYX).

DDJ Capital joins Loomis, Sayles & Company, L.P. and Neuberger Berman Fixed Income LLC, the other subadvisors to NMHYX. The appointment was effective September 25.

6. Schwab adds Real-Time-Data to CRM

Charles Schwab (SCHW) says it is rolling out Salentica Advisor Desk for its OpenView Gateway platform to independent investment advisors. Advisors who use Salentica Advisor Desk as their client relationship management (CRM) solution can now view real-time information on their clients’ financial holdings within the CRM. Custody information available from Schwab Advisor Services includes account balances, profiles, positions, transactions, and alerts.

“We are excited about being part of Schwab OpenView Gateway and proud of the solution we’ve delivered to our clients,” said Bill Rourke, president of Salentica, in a press release. “Our integration provides advisors a more complete picture of their client by having real-time data easily accessible. Salentica Advisor Desk is already a leading CRM solution for wealth managers and RIAs, and this functionality delivers on our vision of providing an integrated client management solution for advisors.”

Pilot participant Roger Sharp of Roger L. Sharp & Associates explained in a statement: “Our CRM is critical for supporting our clients and business development efforts. Integration of the custody data into the CRM will bring together information we need to know about our clients in one location, and we can respond quickly to client requests, which ultimately lets us deliver better service.”

In order to further maximize advisors’ use of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Schwab Intelligent Technologies is currently in pilot with five Microsoft workflows for the Schwab OpenView Workflow Library that should be more broadly available by year-end of 2012. Advisors can also access the current library of 28 universal workflows.

Workflows are free to download for advisors who custody assets with Schwab Advisor Services.

Read the Oct. 1 Portfolio Products Roundup at AdvisorOne.com

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