New products and innovations introduced over the last week include a new low-cost global minimum volatility fund from Vanguard; a new ETF style classification system from S&P Capital IQ; two new ETFs from Guggenheim Investments in its BulletShares suite; and a new risk-managed allocation fund from American Independence.
In addition, FNEX introduced FNEX.com, a new online marketplace for alternative investments; GBI and ByAllAccounts announced a collaboration to provide precious metals holdings data; OppenheimerFunds announced the launch of its new edistribution advisor portal; and Invesco PowerShares announced name changes for its four DWA Technical Leaders ETFs.
Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) Vanguard Introduces New Low-Cost Global Minimum Volatility Fund
Vanguard says that it has filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for the Vanguard Global Minimum Volatility Fund. Expected to be available in Q4 2013, the fund will offer two low-cost share classes, investor shares and admiral shares. Investor shares will have an estimated expense ratio of 0.30% and require a minimum initial investment of $3,000. Admiral shares will have an estimated expense ratio of 0.20% and require a minimum initial investment of $50,000.
The new actively managed equity fund will seek to provide long-term capital appreciation with lower volatility relative to the global equity market. The fund is expected to invest approximately half of its assets in stocks of U.S. companies and approximately half in stocks of foreign companies. To mitigate currency risk and lower the volatility of the overall fund, a significant portion of the fund’s exposure to foreign currencies will be hedged to the U.S. dollar through the use of forward currency contracts. It will be managed by Vanguard’s equity investment group.
2) S&P Capital IQ Introduces New ETF Style Classification System
S&P Capital IQ announced that it has introduced ETF Style Classifications, a new system that classifies ETFs and ETNs with over 40 standardized descriptive characteristics to reveal the true exposure being provided by over 2,500 North American ETFs and ETNs.
The first classification level defines asset class, such as equity, fixed income, commodity, currency, real estate and multi-asset. The next three levels further refine that asset class into very specific market segment exposures. For example, commodities would be refined to metals, precious metals and gold. In addition, the system captures and provides multiple other dimensions and characteristics, such as geographic emphasis, tax efficiency, expense ratio, long/short exposure, leverage ratio, sector emphasis, investing style and target risk.
The ETF classifications will be integrated into S&P Capital IQ's Xpressfeed and will be available for use with all Xpressfeed’s information, including premium fundamentals, Compustat fundamentals, S&P credit ratings, earnings estimates; other classifications such as GICS; private company industry classifications; and regional classification schemas like ANZSIC.
Guggenheim Investments, the investment management division of Guggenheim Partners, announced Tuesday the launch of two new BulletShares ETFs: Guggenheim BulletShares 2019 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJJ) and Guggenheim BulletShares 2020 High Yield Corporate Bond ETF (BSJK).
BSJJ and BSJK join the BulletShares lineup, consisting of 18 defined-maturity corporate bond and high-yield corporate bond ETFs. BulletShares are designed to mature in their target year to provide investors with specific maturities to ladder portfolios or to manage fixed income exposure within specific investment time frames.
4) American Independence Launches Risk-Managed Allocation Fund
American Independence Financial Services, LLC announced Tuesday the launch of the American Independence Risk-Managed Allocation Fund (AARMX, ACRMX, RMAIX), an actively managed, ETF-based global asset allocation strategy. The subadvisor for is J.A. Forlines, LLC. The fund will be marketed to financial intermediaries throughout the U.S.
The fund seeks to achieve long-term capital appreciation while providing lower-than-average risk, and will invest in fixed income, equities and alternatives, including commodities, real estate and currencies, across the U.S., Europe, Asia, and emerging markets. It also has the capability to move to cash in times of extreme market duress.
5) FNEX Announces the Launch of FNEX.com
FNEX announced the launch of FNEX.com, a new online marketplace for alternative investments, including placements in private companies, hedge funds and managed futures accounts. The Web-based platform provides accredited investors, family offices and institutions access to investment opportunities offered by investment banks and funds across the United States.
FNEX is a distribution platform for investment banks and hedge funds to list offerings, and provides investors with tools to educate themselves on alternative investment opportunities and enhance their ability to make informed and targeted investment decisions. The platform offers a wide range of searchable investment opportunities by size, sector and strategy. There is no cost for accredited investors to use the online platform.
GBI and ByAllAccounts announced Tuesday an integration to provide precious metals holdings data from GBI’s advisor platform through ByAllAccounts. Connectivity through the latter will provide more than 1,500 independent advisory firms, family offices, asset managers and trust companies, as well as more than 60 of the industry’s leading service providers, custodians, and reporting platform providers, the ability to aggregate and reconcile precious metals holdings data from GBI into advisor/client reports.
Precious metals data will be streamed from GBI’s advisor platform, where advisors can buy, sell and store physical precious metals on behalf of their clients. Via GBI’s proprietary technology, orders can beplaced for competitive bid by the firm’s network of dealers and refiners, ensuring that both advisors and their clients receive competitive pricing. Precious metals including bars and coins of gold, silver, platinum and palladium can be stored in one of six global insured vaults operated by Brinks, Via-Mat, and MalcaAmit and are also allocated to the client level, unlike traditional bank and dealer processes, and unlike the precious metals ETFs.
7) OppenheimerFunds Launches New eDistribution Advisor Portal
OppenheimerFunds has announced the launch of its new edistribution advisor portal.
The new site includes the following new features: a side-by-side comparison of OppenheimerFunds' funds with the competition using the Morningstar fund comparison tool; an expanded Morningstar hypothetical tool that includes all fund families; comprehensive fund performance information with interactive fund data; Advisor Exchange, OppenheimerFunds' advisor-only discussion forum for sharing best practices; professional development content via OppenheimerFunds' exclusive CEO Advisor Institute program; and real-time answers for questions with click-to-chat.
8) Invesco PowerShares Announces ETF Name Changes
Invesco PowerShares Capital Management LLC announced on Thursday name changes for its four DWA Technical Leaders ETFs. The funds will continue to be based on Dorsey, Wright & Associates index methodology, and existing ticker symbols and investment objectives will remain unchanged.
The name changes, which will take effect on October 4, are as follows: PowerShares DWA Technical Leaders Portfolio (PDP) will become PowerShares DWA Momentum Portfolio; PowerShares DWA SmallCap Technical Leaders Portfolio (DWAS) will become PowerShares DWA SmallCap Momentum Portfolio; PowerShares DWA Developed Markets Technical Leaders Portfolio (PIZ) will become PowerShares DWA Developed Markets Momentum Portfolio; and PowerShares DWA Emerging Markets Technical Leaders Portfolio (PIE) will become PowerShares DWA Emerging Markets Momentum Portfolio.
Read the Sept. 23 Portfolio Products Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.