New products introduced over the last week include a new exchange traded fund (ETF) from Schwab, which also modified two funds. Also, Ashmore launched a new emerging markets fund, and Russell expanded two of its indexes to global markets.
In addition,Vanguard added a guaranteed lifetime withdrawal rider to its low-cost variable annuity, and USAA launched a unified managed account (UMA) product geared toward those building and managing wealth.
Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) Schwab Launches New U.S. Dividend Equity ETF
Charles Schwab announced Thursday that the Schwab U.S. Dividend Equity ETF (SCHD) has begun trading. The ETF takes a blended income/capital appreciation approach that seeks to track financially strong companies, relative to their peers, with a history of paying dividends.
The ETF seeks investment results that track the total return of the Dow Jones U.S. Dividend 100 Index as closely as possible before fees and expenses, and carries a 0.17% operating expense ratio.
Schwab is also refining two of its low-cost indexed mutual funds by aligning them with more recognizable benchmarks. Starting on Dec. 14, the Schwab Small-Cap Index Fund (SWSSX) will follow the Russell 2000 Index; also, effective Nov. 1, its operating expense ratio will drop to 17 basis points. On Dec. 20, the Schwab International Index Fund (SWISX) will track the MSCI EAFE Index as its benchmark.
2) Ashmore Launches Emerging Markets Small-Cap Equity Fund
Ashmore Investment Management Limited announced on Oct. 11 the launch of the Emerging Markets Small-Cap Equity Fund, investing in small-cap companies in emerging market countries globally. The firm also announced broader access to its U.S. mutual funds through the introduction of A and C retail share classes.
Ashmore also recently appointed Ted Smith as head of U.S. intermediary distribution, reporting directly to Christoph Hofmann, global head of distribution.
Smith, based in New York, is responsible for establishing relationships with financial intermediaries and for building a team to serve financial advisors. He brings over a decade of experience in partnering with U.S. intermediaries and has experienced emerging markets firsthand, having lived and worked in Russia for four years.
3) Russell Investments Expands Defensive and Dynamic Indexes to Global Markets