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Top Portfolio Products: Decker & Co. Launches With Focus on Southeast Asia

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Portfolio Products logoDecker & Co., a broker dedicated to the southeast Asia/frontier space, launched this week.

New products introduced over the last week include a suite of large-cap equity funds from Nuveen and four new corporate term bond ETFs from BlackRock.

Meanwhile, Vanguard added new interactive graphics to help retirement plan participants.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Decker & Co Launches; Dedicated to Southeast Asia/Frontier Space

Decker & Co, the first U.S.-based broker to be fully dedicated to the southeast Asia/frontier space, announced recently that it is fully licensed and operational. The firm’s clearing partner is Broadcort, a division of Merrill Lynch. The new firm will offer U.S. funds access to local research and listed corporates through its partnership approach. In doing so, it will fully promote its partners’ brands regionally to help them build their own brand equity. It plans to bring handpicked corporates to the U.S. and will frequently visit Asia for that purpose. The firm will also arrange investor trips to Asia at least quarterly.

Mark Decker has more than 20 years’ experience in the region, including positions in Hong Kong with Bear Stearns/Lehman Brothers and CLSA in the ’90s. He was also director of equities at SCB Securities in Thailand, and was responsible for the opening of the west coast office of Kim Eng Securities in 2009. The firm’s team has relationships with funds focused on investing in southeast Asia. Its network includes broker partners in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Pakistan and Cambodia.

2) Nuveen Asset Management Launches New Equity Strategies

Nuveen Investments has announced the availability of a new suite of large-cap equity mutual funds managed by Bob Doll, Nuveen’s asset management chief equity strategist and senior portfolio manager.

The series includes six newly created funds and three funds having recently transitioned to Doll. They are: traditional, Nuveen Large Cap Value Fund (NNGAX); Nuveen Large Cap Core Fund (NLACX); Nuveen Large Cap Growth Fund (NLAGX); specialty, Nuveen Core Dividend Fund (NCDAX); Nuveen Concentrated Core Fund (NCADX); Nuveen Growth Fund (NSAGX); and alternative, Nuveen Large Cap Core Plus Fund (NLAPX); Nuveen Equity/Long Short Fund (NELAX); and Nuveen Equity Market Neutral Fund (NMAEX).

3) BlackRock Expands iSharesBonds Suite of Defined Maturity ETFs

BlackRock announced recently that its iShares ETFs business has expanded its suite of iShares bonds with four new corporate term ETFs. These new products offer investors access to a diversified pool of investment-grade corporate credit securities with a defined maturity date, daily liquidity and price transparency. If iSharesBonds are held until maturity, investors can expect a yield that is similar to the yield to maturity of the underlying bonds held in the ETF. The four new iSharesBonds are as follows: iSharesBond 2016 Corporate Term ETF (IBDA); iSharesBond 2018 Corporate Term ETF (IBDB); iSharesBond 2020 Corporate Term ETF (IBDC); and iSharesBond 2023 Corporate Term ETF (IBDD)

4) Vanguard Offers New Tools for Retirement Plan Participants

Vanguard is offering new interactive graphics to help 401(k) retirement plan participants make key decisions about their retirement assets. Two examples of this new technology are the “Boost Your Savings” dial and its retirement analysis alerts. Both tools are delivered to participants based on their savings rate, investment mix, other retirement readiness indicators, and plan features. They are prominently displayed on the secure home page of targeted participants.

The savings booster is a spedometer-like gauge that displays a participant’s current savings rate and recommends a range of increases. Users can turn the dial to the number they want and in one click, submit a request to change their regular contribution amount. In a test of the dial, Vanguard recommended a 1%, 2% or 3% increase. Participants who used the dial between its rollout in December 2012 and May 2013 increased their savings rate by an average of 2%.

Retirement analysis alerts are delivered in the form of a stoplight to encourage participants to use either of two investment advice services if offered within their plan. One is the personal online advisor (POA), which provides a personalized forecast and fund recommendations from Financial Engines. The other is the Vanguard managed account program (VMAP), powered by Financial Engines, which creates, implements and monitors a custom plan for a fee. For the year to date through May, nearly a quarter of the participants who received these alerts clicked on them. Of those who responded, 12% adopted POA and 6% chose to enroll in VMAP.

Read the July 5 Portfolio Products Roundup.


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