Top Portfolio Products: New Emerging Markets Equity Fund From Calvert

Aberdeen launches emerging markets debt fund, as Schwab rolls out mobile offering

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New products introduced over the last week include a new emerging markets equity fund from Calvert; a new emerging markets debt fund from Aberdeen; impact-rated portfolios from HIP Investors and SNW Asset Management; and 10 additional funds added to the Nottingham platform.

In addition, Charles Schwab announced a new iPad app; Forward announced enhancements to its suite of asset allocation funds; and Jefferson National was recognized by Cerulli for its flat-fee variable annuity.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Calvert Investments Launches Calvert Emerging Markets Equity Fund

Calvert recently announced the launch of the Calvert Emerging Markets Equity Fund (CVMAX), subadvised by Hermes Investment Management Limited, based in London. CVMAX is Calvert’s latest sustainable and responsible investment (SRI) mutual fund, part of a series of investment portfolios known as Calvert Solution Strategies.

CVMAX seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in equity securities of companies located in emerging market countries, using its sustainability and corporate responsibility criteria. The fund may invest in companies of any market capitalization size, but seeks to have market capitalization size characteristics similar to that of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

2) Aberdeen Launches Emerging Market Debt Mutual Fund

Aberdeen Asset Management Inc. announced Thursday that it has launched the Aberdeen Emerging Markets Debt Fund (A shares: AKFAX).

AKFAX invests across the emerging markets debt universe, including hard and local currency sovereign bonds and corporates, and is managed by Aberdeen’s emerging market and sovereign debt team, led by Brett Diment.

3) HIP Investor and SNW Asset Management Launch Portfolios

HIP Investor Inc. and SNW Asset Management Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Seattle-Northwest Securities Corp.) announced a business collaboration offering clients impact-rated portfolios for municipal bonds and fixed income.

The portfolios, managed by SNW Asset Management and scored by HIP Investor, allows investors to see a quantified score of human, social and environmental impact realized by their investments. The new approach may also spur issuers of multimillion-dollar bonds toward more accountability and innovation as they seek to advance the well-being of their communities.

4) Nottingham Adds New Funds to Platform

Nottingham recently announced that it has added 10 new mutual funds from three fund families to its platform. The funds and their investment advisors are:

Arin Large Cap Theta Fund (AVOLX), Arin Risk Advisors, LLC; the ISM Non Traditional Fund (A shares: FMNTX, I shares: FMNRX), ISM High Income Fund (A shares: FMHIX, I shares: FMHRX), ISM Strategic Equity Fund (FMTSX), ISM Strategic Fixed Income Fund (FMFSX), ISM Global Alpha Tactical Fund (FMARX), ISM Tax Free Fund (FMERX), ISM Dividend Income Fund (FMDVX) and the ISM Premier Asset Management Fund (FMPMX) from FolioMetrix, LLC; and the Matisse Discounted Closed-End Fund Strategy (MDCEX) from Deschutes Portfolio Strategies, Inc.

5) Charles Schwab Expands Advisor Mobile Offering with New iPad App

Charles Schwab recently announced that the new Schwab Advisor Center app for the iPad is available for download. Advisors will now be able to access key client data such as balances, positions, and transactions from their iPads. The new app is customized for the tablet format, including large charts that offer insights into daily account movements and scrolling quotes that help advisors track the movements of the indices, stocks, and funds that are most important to them.

Advisors can further customize the app by adding stock and mutual fund quotes to the ticker at the bottom of the screen. The new position charts give advisors a snapshot view of how an account’s equity or mutual fund positions are performing over the course of a day. They also show graphical representations both of recent changes in the price of all positions in an account and relative size of the position. Pop-up details for account balances and history allow advisors to access the data they need all in one view.

6) Forward Updates and Globalizes Its Asset Allocation Fund Series

Forward Management, LLC has enhanced its suite of asset allocation funds, reducing the number of portfolios from six to five and renaming them the Forward Global Asset Allocation Series. The aggressive growth portfolio has been pulled from the series and as of Dec. 3 will be renamed the Forward Multi-Strategy Fund (I shares: ACAIX; C shares: ACAGX; A shares: AGRRX; institutional shares: AAGRX), although its objective is unchanged.

The revamped series comprises five mutual funds with varying growth and income objectives, and is designed to provide bank trust departments and other financial advisors with a core portfolio solution that can be tailored to individual client needs. The five funds include: Forward Growth Fund (I shares: AGALX; C shares: AGGGX; A shares: AOGAX; institutional shares: ACGAX), Forward Growth & Income Fund (I shares: AGIIX; C shares: AGIGX; A shares: AOIAX; institutional shares: AGWAX), Forward Income Builder Fund (I shares: AIAIX; C shares: AIACX; A shares: AILAX; institutional shares: AIAAX), Forward Balanced Fund (I shares: ACBIX; C shares: ABAFX; A shares: AOBAX; institutional shares: ABAAX) and Forward Income & Growth Fund (I shares: ACIGX; C shares: AIGMX; A shares: AOLAX; institutional shares: AIGAX).

Forward has also updated the portfolio series by globalizing the mix of underlying funds for greater diversification and more exposure to global growth and income opportunities; shifting the basis for global portfolio weightings from market capitalization to GDP; increasing their slant toward alternative strategies and real assets; systematically adapting fund allocations to changing global conditions; and putting more focus on volatility management.

7) Jefferson National Recognized by Cerulli

Jefferson National was recently recognized by Cerulli Associates as the industry’s “gold-standard in tackling fee-based structures” for creating the industry’s first flat-fee variable annuity.

In their quantitative update titled Annuities and Insurance 2012: Evaluating Growth Capacity, Flows, and Products Trends, Cerulli highlighted Jefferson National’s “best-in-class strategies of eliminating fees, appreciating how RIAs operate their business, and delivering an impressive technology platform that can be integrated into existing systems.” The report further touted Jefferson National’s transformation of the VA back to a tax-deferral product, coupled with an award-winning “distinctive distribution strategy.”

Read the Nov. 2 Portfolio Products Roundup at AdvisorOne.com

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