January 8, 2014

Top Portfolio Products: Van Eck to Subadvise Market Vectors’ China A-Share ETF

Thornburg launches two funds; more

New products and changes introduced over the last week include a subadvisor for Market Vectors' ChinaAMC A-share ETF; two funds from Thornburg Asset Management; four funds from American Independence; institutional shares of Amana Funds launched by Saturna Capital; and an updated online tax calculator from AICPA.

In addition, Nuance Investments announced its second mutual fund; Goldman Sachs Asset Management announced a fixed income macro strategies fund; Genworth launched a second universal life insurance product; and North Star accounced a hedge fund administration unit from NorthStar Financial Services Group.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Market Vectors Announces Subadvisor for ChinaAMC A-share ETF

Market Vectors announced Wednesday that Van Eck Associates Corp. has entered into an agreement with China Asset Management (Hong Kong) Ltd. (ChinaAMC) through which ChinaAMC has begun serving as subadvisor for the Market Vectors ChinaAMC A-Share ETF (PEK). ChinaAMC is a wholly owned subsidiary of China Asset Management Co. Ltd., China’s largest management company in terms of mutual fund assets under management, and has received its Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) quota, which allows PEK to have direct exposure to physical China A-shares.

PEK seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the CSI 300 Index, a modified free-float market capitalization-weighted index compiled and maintained by China Securities Index Co Ltd. The CSI 300 is a diversified index consisting of 300 A-share stocks listed on the Shenzen and/or Shanghai stock exchanges that represent equity securities of companies incorporated in mainland China; the shares are denominated in renminbi (RMB).

2) Thornburg Asset Management Launches Two Funds

Thornburg Investment Management (TIM) announced that it has launched the Thornburg Low Duration Income Fund (TLDAX, TLDIX) and the Thornburg Low Duration Municipal Fund (TLMAX, TLMIX). The primary investment goal of both funds is current income (exempt from federal income tax in the case of the muni fund), consistent with preservation of capital.

TLDAX will be managed by managing directors Jason Brady and Lon Erickson, who head up portfolio management for the firm’s taxable bond area. TLMAX will be managed by managing directors Josh Gonze and Christopher Ryon, who oversee the municipal bond investing group.

3) American Independence Announces Four Funds

American Independence Financial Services LLC announced the creation of four funds based on Toronto-based Cougar Global Investments Ltd.'s ETF-based macroeconomic assessment of risk (MAR) strategy, a macro-driven tactical ETF asset allocation methodology offering downside risk protection. American Independence will provide oversight, marketing, administration and execution. The funds will be marketed to financial intermediaries in the U.S.

The MAR Tactical Conservative Fund (TCMNX, TCMAX, TCMCX, TCMRX) seeks attractive returns while targeting at most a 5% probability of loss, and is targeted at clients seeking regular withdrawals for income purposes.

The MAR Tactical Moderate Growth Fund (MGZCX) seeks attractive returns while targeting at most a 10% probability of loss, and is for clients with occasional income needs and moderate risk appetite.

The MAR Tactical Growth Fund (MGMAX), which seeks attractive returns while targeting at most a 15% probability of loss, is for clients with a long-term investment horizon.

The MAR Tactical Aggressive Growth Fund (AGZIX, AGZAX, AGZCX, AGZRX), which seeks attractive returns while targeting at most a 20% probability of loss, is for clients with a long-term investment horizon who are willing to tolerate higher volatility.

4) Saturna Capital Launches Institutional Shares of Amana Funds

Saturna Capital Corp., investment advisor to the Amana Mutual Funds Trust, announced the launch of lower-cost institutional shares of the no-load Amana Income (AMINX), Amana Growth (AMIGX), and Amana Developing World (AMIDX) Funds. Existing shares of all three are now designated as investor shares and trade under the funds' original tickers of AMANX, AMAGX and AMDWX, respectively. The institutional shares are available on most major platforms, including National Financial Services (Fidelity), Charles Schwab, Pershing LLC and TD Ameritrade, with more planned for 2014.

The Amana Funds follow a conservative, tax-efficient, value investment style. They are managed by Nicholas Kaiser and deputy portfolio manager Scott Klimo.

5) AICPA Announces Updated Tax Insights Calculator

The American Institute of CPAs’ (AICPA) Total Tax Insights calculator has been newly updated through 2013, and can help taxpayers gauge the impact of  more than 20 different federal, state and local taxes, including a new Medicare surtax that took effect last year.

Users can click on an interactive map of the U.S. and its territories to indicate their state or jurisdiction. Then they must enter the county and/or city of residence, marital status, federal adjusted gross income and number of dependents. Additional data, such as housing-related costs (electricity, natural gas and cable) and other expenses, including cell phone, gasoline, cigarettes and alcoholic beverages, will provide a more detailed calculation. Users can also select up to two other jurisdictions for side-by-side comparison of total estimated tax liability.

6) Nuance Launches Second Fund

Nuance Investments announced the launch of its second mutual fund, the Nuance Mid Cap Value Fund (institutional, NMVLX; investor, NMAVX). The fund was launched in collaboration with Montage Investments, Nuance’s parent company. NMVLX seeks long-term capital appreciation primarily through investments in equity securities that the investment team believes are high-quality though temporarily out of favor.

Nuance also said that, in keeping with its capacity-constrained management strategy, the fund will be closed to future investment once it reaches a predetermined asset level.

7) GSAM Launches Fixed Income Macro Strategies Fund

Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) announced Tuesday the launch of the Goldman Sachs Fixed Income Macro Strategies Fund (A shares: GAANX), a liquid alternative portfolio investing in fixed income, currency and commodity securities. GAANX’s portfolio managers have the flexibility to employ a range of techniques such as shorting, leverage and derivatives as they seek to generate alpha in up and down markets or when asset classes fall in or out of favor.

Overseen by the global fixed income team, and comanaged by Michael Swell, co-head of global portfolio management and Jonathan Xiong, managing director, the fund is offered in both A and C shares with $1,000 minimum initial investments. It also offers institutional, R and IR shares.

8) Genworth Announces Second UL Product

Genworth Financial has announced the launch of its second index universal life insurance product, Foundation Builder Index IUL. In addition to a generally income-tax free death benefit with a no-lapse guarantee of up to 30 years, the product offers five index interest crediting strategies linked to the percentage change in the S&P 500 Index and an optional accelerated benefit rider for long-term care services.

The LTC rider, available at additional cost, includes at-home coverage with no waiting period as well as coverage for informal caregivers. If the policyholder does not need to use the rider or only uses a portion of the specified amount for covered LTC expenses, then the remaining portion of the specified amount will be paid as a death benefit.

9) NorthStar Announces Gemini Hedge

NorthStar Financial Services Group LLC has announced the launch of a hedge fund administration unit, Gemini Hedge Fund Services LLC (Gemini Hedge), as a new subsidiary. David Young serves as its president.

Gemini Hedge provides customized and adaptable solutions for hedge fund managers, assisting with middle- and back-office duties, financial reporting and investor services. It also offers high-tech, high-touch services for managers requiring frequent liquidity and enhanced reporting capabilities as well as access to distribution channels to help launch and distribute hedge funds.

Read the Jan. 3 Portfolio Products Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.

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