As fund companies enter the second quarter of 2011, product deals have come from a diverse range of shops, including UBS in a deal with Wells Fargo, Envestnet in a strategic initiative with Vestmark and National Advisors Trust in partnerships with Advisors Asset Management and EPIC Advisors Inc.
UBS Announces Exchange-Traded Note Linked to Wells Fargo Index
UBS Investment Bank announced Thursday that it has added to its suite of E-TRACS exchange traded notes (ETNs) with a first-to-market E-TRACS linked to the Wells Fargo Business Development Company (BDC) Index, offering diversified exposure to BDCs with the convenience of an exchange traded security. The ETN began trading today on NYSE Arca under the ticker symbol BDCS.
BDCs are public vehicles that invest in private equity and debt and were created to increase financing available to small businesses. They function much like private equity funds, although BDCs allow various investors, regardless of size, to participate. A BDC lends to small and midsized companies at high yield equivalent rates and often takes equity stakes in these companies.
The Wells Fargo Business Development Company Index comprises 26 BDCs and is a float-adjusted, capitalization-weighted index intended to measure the performance of BDCs that are publicly listed, satisfying specified market capitalization and other eligibility requirements.
Envestnet Announces Strategic Initiative to Offer Vestmark Functionality
Envestnet Inc., an investment and practice management solutions provider for financial advisors, announced Tuesday an initiative to offer the trading and model management capabilities of Vestmark, a leading provider of unified wealth management and investment advisory technology.
The partnership will expand portfolio accounting, modeling and trading choices available to money managers and advisors as part of Envestnet's comprehensive wealth management platform, reflecting Envestnet's focus on delivering open architecture solutions across all areas of an advisor's business. Envestnet will integrate with Vestmark's platform, with first phase completion expected by summer.
In other Envestnet news, Symmetric Advisors Inc.(SAI), an independent RIA, now offers “The Prism Grid,” its managed money programs, nationwide through Envestnet. The Prism Grid, as ranked by Morningstar, has consistently provided five-star returns for the periods YTD, 1-year, 3-year and 5-year, while maintaining a below-average risk profile. This suggests global tactical asset allocation is relevant and necessary in any investment program.
National Advisors Trust in Partnerships With Advisors Asset Management, EPIC Advisors
At the company’s 10th anniversary celebration conference, National Advisors Trust on Thursday announced a strategic partnership with Advisors Asset Management, Inc.(AAM). National Advisors Trust will provide direct access to AAM’s fixed income securities tools and services from the trust company’s AdvisorDesk multicustodian technology platform. Using AdvisorDesk’s single sign-on technology, RIAs have a more direct and efficient way to get quotes and trade fixed income securities.
AAM enables advisors to view a searchable inventory of fixed income products, including municipals, corporates, treasuries and agencies. Advisors can purchase bonds, receive current bids and sell bonds online; they also have access to market research and can produce client-facing reports. AAM will analyze their current bond portfolios and give guidance.
National Advisors Trust also announced an agreement with EPIC Advisors Inc. to provide a branded 401(k) program with open architecture and daily valuation defined contribution retirement plan services to its shareholder advisor firms. EPIC was chosen through a national search.
SPDR ETFs Named Most Recognized ETF Brand for Fourth Consecutive Year
State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), the asset management business of State Street Corp., on Friday announced that SPDR ETFs received its fourth consecutive award for the Most Recognized ETF Brand in the Americas at the 7th Annual Global ETF Awards Dinner held recently in New York.
SSgA was also co-presented with its third annual Most Informative ETF Website in the Americas award for SPDRs.com, which features data and research on ETFs and the markets and links to SPDRUniversity, a free online educational center designed to meet investment advisors’ demand for high-quality thought leadership. SSgA also received awards for ETF with the most assets raised (in absolute growth) in the Americas – SPDR Gold Shares (GLD); and the most liquid ETF in the Americas – SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY).
The Global ETF Awards, voted on by ETF industry professionals worldwide, were created in 2005 by exchangetradedfunds.com to recognize those who contributed to the development of the industry.
Vanguard to Make Indexing the Focus of Education Effort
With indexing growing in popularity as an investment strategy, indexing pioneer Vanguard is launching a new educational campaign on the strategy's merits, history, and continued evolution, and will unveil a new repository of information and commentary on index investing on Vanguard.com on May 3rd.
In a live web event on May 10th, Vanguard's Chief Investment Officer Gus Sauter will join nationally-recognized personal finance columnist Jane Bryant Quinn and Morningstar's research director John Rekenthaler for a roundtable discussion about various aspects of indexing, including ETFs and alternative weighting methodologies. The panel will also respond to viewer questions. The event is open to the public; registration can be completed at www.vanguard.com/indexwebcastreg.
DoubleLine Capital LP Reaches $10 Billion in Assets under Management
DoubleLine Capital LP said Wednesday that assets under management invested in the separate accounts, mutual funds and other portfolios managed by the firm now exceed $10 billion.
Founded Dec. 14, 2009, DoubleLine has developed investment strategies and strategy extensions designed to fit different investor profiles along the risk-return curve. The DoubleLine teams manage portfolios invested in mortgage-backed securities, corporate fixed
income securities, emerging markets debt, and U.S. government and other sovereign issues, as well as asset allocation strategies across different bond sectors, equities and commodities.
The DoubleLine Total Return Bond Fund (DLTNX/DBLTX), the flagship of DoubleLine’s four mutual funds, is the top-ranked fund of the 1,190 Intermediate-Term Bond Funds as categorized by Morningstar for the one-year period ended April 25, 2011.
TOBAM Selected for CalPERS Manager Development Program II (MDP II)
The CaliforniaPublic Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and Strategic Investment Group(Strategic) announced Thursday that they have selected TOBAM to participate in the Manager Development Program II (MDP II). Under the MDP II, TOBAM now manages a $150 million global equity mandate for CalPERS. In addition, a joint venture between CalPERS and Strategic has acquired a minority equity stake (17.5%) in TOBAM’s parent company.
TOBAM is an asset management company offering innovative investment capabilities whose aim is to maximize diversification. TOBAM’s flagship Anti-Benchmark strategies, supported by original research and a mathematical definition of diversification, provide clients with diversified core equity exposure, both globally and in domestic markets.
TOBAM also publishes the Maximum Diversification Index series (MaxDiv Index) based on the Anti-Benchmark equity portfolio construction methodology. The company manages $1.8 billion through its Anti-Benchmark strategies for institutional clients worldwide. Its team includes 16 financial professionals based in Paris, Los Angeles and Amsterdam.
Aperio Group Introduces First Animal Rights Portfolio Tracking Broad Market
Aperio Group announced the introduction of the Humane Equity Index Portfolio on April 13. The Humane Equity Index Portfolio, a socially responsive indexing (SRI) portfolio, seeks to match the performance of the broad equity market while excluding companies whose business practices the Best Friends Animal Society, one of the leaders in the humane treatment of animals, considers inhumane. Best Friends Animal Society runs the nation's largest sanctuary for abused and abandoned animals.
The Humane Equity Index portfolio excludes companies known to have inhumane practices; operate factory farms; conduct nonrequired animal testing of nonpharmaceutical products; engage in raising, trapping, or slaughtering animals for their fur; are engaged in the animal entertainment industry and are known to engage in inhumane practices; conduct animal testing of pharmaceuticals unless they provide products and/or services in support of animal welfare; and have greater than 50% of their revenue derived from the retail sale of products whose origin, production, or processing is considered inhumane to animals.
Aperio integrates classic portfolio optimization techniques with socially responsive investing agendas like the Best Friends’ criteria for engineering more “efficient” socially screened, indexed investment portfolios. The Humane Equity Index is designed to track the broad equity market and forecasted to have a tracking error of less than 1%.
Read last week’s Portfolio Products Round-Up at AdvisorOne.com.