Top Portfolio Products: State Street Launches Ex-BRIC Emerging Markets ETF

Forward reopens its Select Income Fund, as Pac Life rolls out Income Advantage annuity

New products and changes introduced over the last week include an emerging markets ETF from State Street that excludes the BRICs; Forward announced the reopening of its Select Income Fund; and Direxion announced that two of its ETFs will track a different index.

In addition, Pacific Life launched the Pacific Income Advantage annuity; Incapital announced its LEOPARDS program; and Jefferson National announced the addition of 23 new investment options to its flat-fee variable annuity.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) State Street Announces Beyond BRIC ETF

State Street has announced that its SPDR MSCI EM Beyond BRIC ETF (EMBB) is set to begin trading on Thursday, December 5. EMBB, which seeks to track the performance of the MSCI Beyond BRIC Index, seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the total return performance of an index based upon the emerging markets of the world, excluding Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

Under normal market conditions, EMBB generally invests substantially all, but at least 80%, of its total assets in the securities comprising the index or in American depositary receipts (ADRs) or global depositary receipts (GDRs) based on securities comprising the Index. The fund employs a sampling strategy, which means SSgA Funds Management, Inc., the advisor to the funds, is not required to purchase all of the securities represented in the Index.

2) Forward Select Income Fund Reopens

Forward Management, LLC has announced the reopening of the Forward Select Income Fund (FSIMX) to new investors. The fund had been soft closed due to inflows and market constraints. It invests in preferred and senior securities in the commercial real estate sector with the goal of high current income and potential modest long-term capital growth.

Since the fund’s soft close on March 30, 2012, certain beneficial conditions have developed in the real estate investment trust (REIT) preferred market, such as improved pricing and positive net new issuance, which will give the fund additional opportunities to pursue its investment objective.

3) Direxion to Transition Two Funds to FTSE China 25 Index

Direxion has announced that on December 12, two of its leveraged ETFs, the Direxion Daily FTSE China Bull 3X Shares (YINN) and Direxion Daily FTSE China Bear 3X Shares (YANG), will track the FTSE China 25 Index. The FTSE China 25 consists of the 25 largest Chinese companies listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

YINN seeks to generate daily investment results of 300% of the performance of the FTSE China 25, before fees and expenses. Conversely, YANG seeks to obtain daily investment results of 300% of the opposite of the performance of the FTSE China 25, before fees and expenses.

4) Pacific Life Launches Pacific Income Advantage Annuity

Pacific Life Insurance Company announced the launch of its Pacific Income Advantage annuity, which combines traditional deferred fixed annuity features, including safety of principal, interest-rate guarantees, tax deferral and death benefit protection, with a guaranteed withdrawal benefit that includes a 6% annual credit for deferring income.

The guaranteed withdrawal benefit is included for an additional cost and allows clients to begin taking lifetime withdrawals for retirement while the contract continues to earn interest. The benefit includes a 6% annual credit that can increase the total amount available for lifetime withdrawals; this amount is called the protected payment base. Each year the client delays taking withdrawals, for up to 10 years, 6% is added to the protected payment base.

5) Incapital Launches LEOPARDS Program for Retail Investors

Incapital has launched its Incapital LEOPARDS (Long Execution of Preferred and Related Debt Securities) program, which is designed to provide retail investors increased access to preferred stock and related debt securities.

Incapital LEOPARDS security offerings are designed to typically have a one-week marketing period, similar to traditional retail notes, and have the flexibility to reopen multiple times to allow issuers to focus on the retail segment. Additionally, rather than the typical 30-day exchange listing period, Incapital LEOPARDS may have a 30- to 120-day listing period from the original settlement to accommodate the multiple reopening feature, subject to applicable NYSE listing requirements.

6) Jefferson National Announces 23 New Investment Options for Flat-Fee VA

Jefferson National announced that it has added 23 new investment options for Monument Advisor, the firm's flat-fee variable annuity.

The additions include 14 investment options from American Funds, including 5 managed risk funds that utilize a Milliman hedge to manage volatility and provide downside protection. Additional options with embedded risk management include Federated Managed Tail Risk Fund II and the Goldman Sachs Variable Insurance Trust Global Markets Navigator Fund, a managed volatility fund. There are also 6 asset allocation funds from SEI and the Gold Bullion Strategy Portfolio from Advisors Preferred Trust.

Read the Dec. 2 Portfolio Products Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.

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