November 16, 2012

Top Portfolio Products: Schwab Launches ETF Website

Russell introduces a new strategic-call overwriting fund, and Focus Financial rolls out succession-planning tool

New products introduced over the last week include a new ETF education website from Charles Schwab; Envestnet-Tamarac has collaborated with Schwab Intelligent Technologies on an integrated data and reporting solution for advisors; Clark Capital Management added three retail strategies to their 401(k) plans; and Russell launched a new strategic call overwriting fund.

In addition, Focus Financial Partners launched a succession planning solution; Pioneer Investments launched a new educational program; and ChartLabPro.com launched an automated sector exposure portfolio diagnostics solution.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Schwab Launches ETF Education Exchange Site

Investors who need more education on ETFs can now head to the ETF Education Exchange, a new website from Charles Schwab that aggregates educational content, research and market insights from ETF industry leaders.

Articles, tools and resources on the site are available to investors free of charge. Its main categories include strategies; market insights; classroom; and industry. First-time site visitors must register to gain access, and are asked to identify their level of ETF knowledge so that information can be delivered based on that profile.

The site is a collaborative effort among issuers and experts in the ETF industry, with educational content from more than 20 outside contributors that currently include ETF sponsors, third-party researchers and advisors.

Contributed material undergoes an editorial board review process to ensure consistency with the site’s purpose of educating investors about ETFs and how to use them. Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. and Charles Schwab Investment Advisory are subject to all editorial standards when submitting content for consideration.

2) Envestnet-Tamarac Collaborates With Schwab Intelligent Technologies

Envestnet-Tamarac has announced a collaboration with Schwab Intelligent Technologies to provide an integrated data and reporting solution for advisors using Schwab OpenViewGateWay and Envestnet-Tamarac’s Advisor Xi Suite.

Through this integration, advisors who custody with Schwab can securely access custodial data in real time from Tamarac’s performance reporting and billing application, Advisor View, as well its client relationship management system, Advisor CRM. By utilizing this integration, advisors will be able to serve their clients from an integrated system with a single sign-on. Integrated custodial information includes account and contact information, balance data, alerts, and reports such as statements, tax documents and trade confirmations.

3) Clark Capital Management Group Introduces 3 New Portfolios to 401(k) Plans

Clark Capital Management Group announced Tuesday the addition of three retail strategies into their Navigator 401(k) solutions.

The Navigator Fixed Income Total Return strategy implements a tactical approach to the fixed income market to help drive income while attempting to reduce risk. The Navigator Global Equity ETF strategy is a global asset allocation portfolio designed for the more aggressive investor. The Navigator High Dividend Equity strategy focuses on high-quality domestic equities that demonstrate potential to generate and raise their dividends over time, and seeks above-average dividend yield with a complementary option overlay strategy to help increase the overall yield of the portfolio.

4) Russell Launches Strategic Call Overwriting Fund

Russell Investments announced Wednesday that it has launched the Russell Strategic Call Overwriting Fund (ROWSX). The new fund provides access to the first noncash retail fund managed directly by Russell’s portfolio managers without underlying managers. ROWSX aims to provide total returns with lower volatility than U.S. equity markets, seeking gains from writing call options and from its equity portfolio and seeking income from dividends on stocks held.

ROWSX is managed by four Russell portfolio managers: Richard Johnson, Jr.; Scott Maidel; Karl Sahlin; and Rafael Zayas. It invests principally in equity securities economically tied to the U.S. market, using a multifactor quantitative model to select primarily common stocks of large and medium capitalization companies. It also writes (sells) index call options, typically on broad-based securities market indexes.

The combination of buying common stocks and selling call options is known as “call overwriting.” Writing index call options is designed to reduce the fund’s volatility relative to U.S. equity securities and provide gains from premiums received.

5) Focus Financial Partners Launches Succession Planning Solution

Focus Financial Partners, LLC announced the launch of a succession planning solution for independent RIAs, enabling advisors to continue serving clients with their entrepreneurial business models while partnering with likeminded Focus firms for a smooth transition of their practices once they are ready to retire or in case of a life event. The agreement enables advisors to reassure clients that they will continue to receive quality advice and care after the retirement of their current advisor.

Focus’ patent-pending succession solution is an integrated program with four modules: a structured diagnostic of the transition readiness of the business; an agreement with a Focus partner firm to manage the business going forward once the principals decide to activate the succession process; an annual certification program to ensure advisors keep their transition plan active and up to date; and access to Focus’ capital to finance the transition under agreed upon terms. Participating RIAs can choose to trigger the succession solution any time they choose.

6) Pioneer Investments Launches VIP Educational Program

Pioneer Investments recently announced the November launch of a national educational program in the U.S. designed to help financial advisors address key challenges in today’s markets. This program, called VIP, focuses on three topics: volatility management, income generation and perspectives on the market.

The initiative provides financial advisors with a range of educational materials, combined with investment ideas and solutions that address specific investor needs. Pioneer has also created a new microsite, accessible to financial advisors who register, to serve as the central hub for all VIP-related solutions.

Advisors have access to a wide range of materials and activities related to the campaign, including white papers, market commentaries, videos, and information on specific products that speak to the challenges of managing volatility and generating income. The microsite will also provide details on upcoming conference calls and road shows with Pioneer portfolio managers.

7) ChartLabPro.com Launches New Portfolio Diagnostics Solution

ChartLabPro.com has announced the integration of its sector exposure diagnostics solution into the ChartLabPro.com platform. The new enhancement will identify which sectors investors should increase or reduce exposure to, based on ChartLabPro.com’s proprietary algorithm.

In addition, the new functionality will provide specific stocks within a sector, and help members determine concentration risk to a specific sector and exposure to underperforming sectors.

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Read the Nov. 12 Top Portfolio Products at AdvisorOne.

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