CANNEX Brings Greater Transparency to Annuity Market: Top Portfolio Products

In other product news, Invesco and iShares expand their ETF lineups

CANNEX Financial Exchanges announced it will launch deferred annuity benefit comparison tools in the first quarter of 2017. CANNEX, sometimes referred to as the “Bloomberg terminal of annuities,” is currently testing the new service with clients.

“Variable and fixed indexed annuities are bundled products with a variety of rules and benefit combinations that can make them difficult to compare,” said Gary Baker, president of CANNEX USA, in a statement.

The new service aims to provide an “independent and objective way” to determine the economic suitability of variable annuity and fixed indexed annuity transactions and helps fiduciary advisors act in the best interest of their clients, according to CANNEX.

The new tools evaluate the embedded guarantees of deferred annuities to determine the economic benefit of each product specific to the profile of the client. The methodology allows advisors and clients to enhance their current qualitative analysis of products and gives advisors a way to review, assess and recommend an annuity based on financial and actuarial models.

“Our approach allows advisors to evaluate the insured performance of these products to assist them in making the appropriate selection to meet clients’ financial planning objectives,” Baker said in a statement. “As we implement this service, we will provide advisors and their firms the support they need to help them meet the transaction requirements of FINRA, as well as their obligations as a fiduciary advisor under the Department of Labor's Best Interest Standard of Care when selecting a product.”

CANNEX says it received a formal ERISA opinion of counsel from the Wagner Law Group validating that its methodology is consistent with the BICE requirement for firms to adopt compliance measures that are reasonably and prudently designed to prevent conflicts.

Invesco Expands Factor ETF Lineup with Launch of Two High Dividend Low Volatility Funds

Invesco (IVZ) launched two new factor ETFs that blend together high dividend and low volatility exposures, according to a press release. With these two funds, PowerShares now has 76 ETFs in its factor lineup.

The new funds are the PowerShares S&P International Developed High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio (IDHD), which targets the highest income-producing equities in international developed markets, and the PowerShares S&P SmallCap High Dividend Low Volatility Portfolio (XSHD), which looks for highest income-producing equities among small caps.

iShares Expands Line of Socially Responsible, ESG-Themed ETFs

BlackRock’s iShares launched an Economic, Social and Governance exchange traded fund focused on U.S. companies, ETF Trends reports.

The iShares MSCI USA ESG Optimized ETF (ESGU) reflects the performance of the MSCI USA ESG Focus Index, which looks at the performance of U.S. stocks taken from the MSCI USA Index that have positive environmental, social and governance characteristics.

OTC Markets Group Introduces OTC Compliance Analytics Product

OTC Markets Group Inc. (OTCM), operator of financial markets for 10,000 U.S. and global securities, announced an enhanced compliance analytics product designed to provide broker-dealers and investment managers an efficient, automated tool for analyzing OTCQX®, OTCQB®, Pink® and Grey Market securities based on key compliance data points. 

Delivered twice daily in pipe-delimited format, the data points will include reporting status (SEC Filer, Bank Reporting, Alternative Reporting Standard), bankruptcy status and recent split data, delinquency status, 30-day moving average price, and security name change history.

Vanguard Forges New Relationship With RS Investments

Vanguard announced that RS Investments has replaced Chartwell Investment Partners as manager of 50% of its $4.1 billion Vanguard Mid-Cap Growth Fund (VMGRX).

According to the press release, RS Investments, in San Francisco, California, uses deep fundamental analysis to identify the drivers of sustainable, long-term growth in its bottom-up stock selection process. Scott Tracy, CFA, chief investment officer of the eight-person RS Investments Growth Team, will serve as co-portfolio manager along with Steve Bishop, Melissa Chadwick-Dunn, and Chris Clark, CFA. 

Vanguard also replaced Chartwell Investment Partners in the management of its $11.4 billion Vanguard Explorer Fund (VEXRX). The 7% of the portfolio Chartwell had managed is now be apportioned to Arrowpoint Asset Management and Stephens Investment Management Group, two existing advisors of the fund. 

--Read last week's Top Portfolio roundup: Seraphim Capital Adds Pioneering Space Tech Fund: Top Portfolio Products

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