New products introduced over the last week include a new emerging-markets bond fund from Franklin Templeton Investments; a new master limited partnership fund from Goldman Sachs; and two new ETFs from Global X.
In addition, MFS Investment Management announced that it has completed the rollout of class R5 shares for 40 of its funds and the Phoenix Companies announced a new annuity.
Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) Goldman Sachs Announces MLP Fund
Goldman Sachs Asset Management announced Wednesday the launch of the Goldman Sachs MLP Energy Infrastructure Fund (GLPAX), which invests in publicly traded MLPs that are primarily engaged in midstream energy operations including pipelines, transportation, terminals, storage, gathering and processing. GLPAX seeks total return through current income and capital appreciation. Kyri Loupis is the portfolio manager.
The fund invests primarily in MLPs and MLP-like securities. It is offered in class A and class C shares, both with $1,000 minimum initial investments; it also offers institutional, class R and class IR shares.
2) Franklin Templeton Investments Introduces Bond Fund
Franklin Templeton Investments announced Wednesday the introduction of the Templeton Emerging Markets Bond Fund, an actively managed, U.S.-registered mutual fund that seeks current income with capital appreciation as a secondary goal. The new fund invests in bonds issued by governments or government-related entities that are located in emerging market countries, as well as bonds issued by emerging market corporate entities.
The fund 's portfolio managers, Michael Hasenstab and Laura Burakreis, are supported by the analysis and insight of the Franklin Templeton fixed income group, over 140 investment professionals with an average of more than 14 years of industry experience. The managers employ an active, benchmark-agnostic investment style, based on fundamental country-by-country macroeconomic research that incorporates quantitative analysis, macroanalytic models, local market insight and rigorous risk management.
NGE, which tracks the Solactive Nigeria Index, provides exposure to the largest and most liquid companies in Nigeria, as well as companies that derive a significant amount of revenues from the country, giving investors a cost-efficient way to access a country with significant long-term growth potential.
AZIA, which tracks the Solactive Central Asia & Mongolia Index, provides cost-effective exposure to hard-to-access countries by investing in foreign listings of central Asian companies, as well as in companies that derive significant revenues from the region.
4) MFS Completes Rollout of Class R5 Shares
MFS Investment Management has completed the rollout of class R5 shares for 40 of the firm's U.S. mutual funds. R5 shares allow MFS to offer a lower-cost share class option to plan sponsors of, and advisors working with, qualified retirement plans, including 401(k) plans. R5 shares do not pay subaccounting fees and therefore pass on lower expenses to retirement plan participants.
The rollout has lowered the total expense ratios of the firm's lifetime target date and asset allocation target risk funds. Those 15 funds now invest exclusively in R5 shares of MFS mutual funds as their underlying investments. They are widely available on retirement platforms, with many included as a qualified default investment alternative (QDIA) option.
5) The Phoenix Companies Launches Next Generation Annuities
The Phoenix Companies, Inc. announced Tuesday the launch of the Phoenix Next Generation Annuity, a single-premium fixed indexed annuity, offered in both bonus and nonbonus versions. The annuity features the protected inheritance benefit, which combines a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal benefit (GLWB) with a return of premium death benefit paid to beneficiaries in five equal installments. The annuity is offered exclusively through the partnership between Phoenix and The AltiSure Group and issued by PHL Variable Insurance Company, a Phoenix insurance subsidiary.
With the protected inheritance benefit, both the income level for the GLWB and the return of premium death benefit percentage are selected at issue. The GLWB is offered with options to elect a base level income after year one or choose a higher income guarantee after a five-year wait. The return of premium percentage at death is available at 100%, 75% or 50%, and does not change even after the initiation of GLWB payments. Individuals also can choose the bonus version of the annuity, which adds between 6% and 10% of the premium, depending on the state, to both the account value and the return of premium death benefit. There is an additional fee for the protected inheritance benefit.
Read the March 29 Portfolio Products Roundup at AdvisorOne.