New products introduced in July included a socially responsible ETF from AdvisorShares and a closed-end municipal bond ETF from Van Eck, as well as a guaranteed income annuity from New York Life and a China currency bond fund from Guinness Atkinson.
In addition, IndexIQ brought out its first emerging market mid-cap ETF; Altegris launched a new macro strategy fund; a Franklin Templeton fund changed its name; Morningstar Direct introduced new functionality; and Dominick & Dominick selected the CAISfunds platform.
Here are the nine latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) Philippe Cousteau Jr. and AdvisorShares Develop Socially Responsible ETF
Social entrepreneur and environmental advocate Philippe Cousteau Jr., grandson of Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, and AdvisorShares Investments announced July 12 a partnership to develop the AdvisorShares Global Echo ETF (GIVE), a multimanager fund with an absolute return and sustainable investment mandate. The fund will make socially responsible, sustainable investments using a variety of specially selected money managers.
The Global Echo Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation co-founded by Philippe Cousteau Jr., will provide funding solutions to many of the challenges facing the world community, from social issues impacting women and children to environmental conservation, as well as supporting social entrepreneurship. The Global Echo Foundation will be funded through a portion of the Global Echo ETF management fee.
2) Van Eck Introduces Market Vectors CEF Municipal Income ETF
Van Eck Global announced Wednesday that it launched Market Vectors CEF Municipal Income ETF (XMPT), the first ETF to specifically focus on closed-end municipal bond funds.
XMPT is intended to track, before fees and expenses, the performance of the S-Network Municipal Bond Closed-End Fund Index (CEFMX), an index composed of shares of municipal bond closed-end funds listed in the U.S. principally engaged in asset management processes to produce federally tax-exempt annual yield. The index methodology assigns a greater weight to closed-end funds trading at discounts, potentially enhancing yield and providing the opportunity for capital appreciation.
XMPT carries a gross expense ratio of 1.57% and a net expense ratio of 1.43%, and expenses (excluding interest expense, offering costs, trading expenses, taxes, extraordinary expenses and acquired fund fees and expenses) are capped contractually until September 1, 2012 at 0.40%. The fund expects to distribute a monthly dividend that, if properly reported as exempt-interest dividends, may not be subject to regular U.S. federal income tax.
3) New York Life Launches Guaranteed Future Income Annuity
New York Life Insurance Co. announced on July 11 the launch of its Guaranteed Future Income Annuity, a deferred income annuity that offers consumers an opportunity to create pensionlike retirement income at a time when employer-sponsored defined benefit plans are dwindling. The flexible premium product provides a way to allocate a portion of retirement savings to a future guaranteed income stream that can’t be outlived.
The product allows a policyholder to make an initial premium payment of at least $10,000 and set an income start date in the future, at which time they will begin receiving guaranteed income payments for the rest of their life. Between the initial premium date and the income start date, the policyholder can continue to make premium payments in smaller increments, and can defer or accelerate their income start date as personal needs change.
4) Guinness Atkinson Launches China Currency Bond Fund
Guinness Atkinson Asset Management, advisor to the Guinness Atkinson funds, recently announced the launch of the Renminbi Yuan & Bond Fund (GARBX), the first traditional open-end mutual fund to invest directly in bonds denominated in the Chinese currency. The fund will be managed by Edmund Harriss, the company’s veteran China fund manager. The June 2011 issue of Asia Brief provides a detailed overview of the renminbi bond market.
The fund’s investment strategy combines evaluation of global macroeconomic conditions with in-house credit analysis based on study of company fundamentals. The fund will employ proprietary modeling screens to support the portfolio management team’s credit analysis. The strategy’s active approach and structure as a mutual fund provides the portfolio management team with a high level of flexibility in executing buy and sell decisions in changing market conditions.