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Top Portfolio Products: iShares Launches New ETFs; Market Vectors Introduces ETF

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New products introduced over the last week include five new ETFs from iShares and one from Market Vectors, and a new strategic income fund from Sierra.

In addition, CLS Investments was named advisor to a fund from the AdvisorOne family of funds.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) iShares Launches Five Global Commodity Producer Equity ETFs

BlackRock Inc. announced Feb. 2 that its iShares ETFs business has launched five funds focused on commodity producers. They offer the benefit of access to companies involved in the production of the commodity without exposure to physical storage or other costs associated with commodity ownership. They include only companies at, or near, the initial phase of production of the commodity, which are more sensitive to fluctuations in the underlying commodity price; companies further down the production cycle are impacted by a number of factors in addition to commodity prices.

The new global equity-based funds include the first to express a view on global energy prices. They are iShares MSCI Global Agriculture Producers Fund (VEGI), iShares MSCI Global Energy Producers Fund (FILL), iShares MSCI Global Select Metals & Mining Producers Fund (PICK), iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners Fund (RING) and iShares MSCI Global Silver Miners Fund (SLVP). All five funds track MSCI indices, utilizing a unique methodology to identify companies with more sensitivity to underlying commodity prices.

2) Market Vectors Launches First Unconventional Oil & Gas ETF (FRAK)

Market Vectors ETFs announced Wednesday the launch of Market Vectors Unconventional Oil & Gas ETF (FRAK), the first U.S.-listed ETF designed to provide investors with pure-play exposure to this fast-growing segment of the energy sector, which can include efforts in coal bed methane, coal seam gas, shale oil, shale gas, tight natural gas, tight oil and tight sands.

FRAK has a gross expense ratio of 0.62% and a net expense ratio of 0.54%, which is capped until at least May 1, 2013. It seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of Market Vectors Unconventional Oil & Gas Index (MVFRAKTR), a rules-based index intended to track the overall performance of companies involved in the exploration, development, extraction, production, and/or refining of unconventional oil and natural gas.

3) Sierra Investment Management Introduces Strategic Income Fund

Sierra Investment Management, Inc. announced Feb. 13 the launch of the Sierra Strategic Income Fund (SSIZX) that will allocate tactically among a wide range of income-oriented asset classes. It will be managed by a team comprised of Dr. Kenneth Sleeper, Sierra principal and co-founder David C. Wright, and Sierra Executive Vice President Frank A. Barbera.

SSIZX will seek to enhance total return and reduce volatility and downside risk of its overall portfolio by investing primarily in selected underlying funds that invest in a wide variety of fixed-income instruments of various maturities and quality, including domestic and foreign bonds (some of which are hedged against currency risk), preferred stocks, and REITS, and on occasion in funds that are designed to have returns that are inverse to the 10-year U.S. Treasury note or the 30-year U.S. Treasury bond or that hedge foreign currency risk.

4) CLS Investments Named Advisor to Treasury Obligations Portfolio

CLS Investments LLC announced Feb. 2 that it has been formally named advisor to the Milestone Treasury Obligations Portfolio (MTIXX), a money market fund previously managed by Milestone Capital Management. The fund has been reorganized into the AdvisorOne Funds family of funds and renamed the Milestone Treasury Obligations Fund. In connection with the reorganization, CLS was appointed by the fund’s shareholders as the fund’s investment adviser.

The fund’s managers, Marc Pfeffer, Matthew Santini and Janice Meehan, have joined the CLS portfolio management team and will continue to work out of their office in Greenwich, Conn. Pfeffer has been responsible for the day-to-day management of the fund since 1994; Santini is a portfolio manager responsible for investment strategy and trading. Meehan oversees research, counterparty analysis and rating agency communications and reviews. The fund’s investment objective is to provide its shareholders with the maximum current income that is consistent with the preservation of capital and the maintenance of liquidity.

Read the Feb. 13 Portfolio Products Roundup at