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Top Portfolio Products: ProShares Rolls Out Emerging Market Bond ETF; China Gets S&P 500-Based ETF

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New products and changes introduced over the last week include a short-term emerging markets bond ETF from ProShares; an S&P 500-based ETF in China; and an annuity from Allianz Life with a 7-year decreasing surrender charge.  

In addition, W.E, Donoghue launched a power dividend index fund; American Century offered a retirement plan assessment tool; and Franklin Templeton and K2 Advisors announced a multi-strategy fund.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) ProShares Launches Short-Term Emerging Market Bond ETF

Proshares announced Thursday the launch of the Short Term USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (EMSH), which is designed to offer yield potential with reduced interest rate sensitivity.

EMSH tracks the DBIQ Short Duration Emerging Market Bond Index, which is composed of a diversified portfolio of U.S. dollar-denominated emerging markets bonds with a weighted average maturity of three years or less. The index currently includes bonds from 19 countries issued by sovereign governments, other government entities and agencies, as well as corporations that have significant government ownership. A country’s weight in the index is capped at 10%. Bonds must have a minimum $500 million outstanding issuance to be eligible.

2) S&P 500-Based ETF Launched in China

Through a licensing agreement with S&P Dow Jones Indices, Bosera Asset Management has launched an S&P 500-based ETF in China, a move that allows the Chinese greater access to the U.S. market.

Total assets under management of ETFs listed in mainland China (Shanghai and Shenzhen) topped 150 billion yuan (about USD $25 billion) in Q3 2013 with close to 80 ETFs available in the market. The new ETF is the first to track the S&P 500.

3) Allianz Life Announces Annuity With 7-Year Decreasing Surrender Charge

Allianz Life has announced the launch of the Allianz Signature 7 annuity, available on the Allianz Preferred platform. The annuity is designed for retirement accumulation with a seven-year decreasing surrender charge period and is currently available in 41 states.

Prior to retirement, the annuity allows customers to accumulate retirement savings through indexed interest based on changes in several external market indexes of their choice. When they are ready for retirement, customers can access income with annuity income options including payments guaranteed for the life of the customer. Or, the full contract value is available to customers as a lump sum without surrender charges after seven contract years.

4) W.E. Donoghue Introduces Power Dividend Index Fund

W.E. Donoghue & Co. introduced its Power Dividend Index Fund (A shares, PWDAX; I shares, PWDIX) on Tuesday. The fund uses the firm’s proprietary Power Dividend Index to seek to generate income while deploying a tactical overlay in an effort to preserve capital in all market cycles. The index isolates the top five dividend-yielding stocks in each of the 10 global industry classification standard (GICS) sectors—consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financial services, healthcare, industrials, materials, utilities, telecommunication services and information technology—that comprise the S&P 500 Index.

Those 50 stocks make up the S-Network Sector Dividend Dogs Index, and are equally weighted in the fund’s portfolio. The fund will sell positions in stocks that are removed from the S&P 500. An intermediate-term tactical overlay positions the fund bearishly or bullishly, depending on market developments and outlooks, and allows it to be invested in money market funds and other cash equivalents during equity market downturns.

5) American Century Offers Retirement Plan Assessment Tool

American Century Investments has announced the launch of a new tool aimed at helping retirement plan advisors and sponsors assess plan effectiveness for better participant outcomes. Plan Health Pro is an online resource designed to help determine overall retirement plan health. Using a series of questions and answers, the plan is evaluated for plan health, retirement readiness and due diligence.

The tool takes into consideration aspects such as plan objectives, plan design, participant communications and investments. Once the plan sponsor or advisor completes the questionnaire, the result is a personalized report, including a green, yellow and red scorecard on a plan’s effectiveness and suggested areas of improvement. The report may serve as historical documentation of a plan’s progress to helping participants achieve retirement readiness. A demo is available at

6) Franklin Templeton and K2 Advisors Announce Multistrategy Fund

Franklin Templeton Investments has announced the launch of its first multimanager, multistrategy mutual fund focused on alternative investment strategies, Franklin K2 Alternative Strategies Fund (FAAAX). FAAAX seeks to provide investors with lower correlations to traditional asset classes, reduced portfolio volatility and risk-adjusted returns, while offering daily liquidity.

K2 Advisors is the fund’s investment manager. FAAAX provides access to a diversified portfolio of alternative investment strategies and to a group of unaffiliated, institutional-quality hedge fund managers. The  initial set of subadvisors includes: Basso Capital Management, L.P.; Chatham Asset Management, LLC; Chilton Investment Company, Inc.; Impala Asset Management LLC; Jennison Associates LLC; Lazard Asset Management LLC; Loomis Sayles & Company, L.P.; P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LLC; and York Capital Management L.P.

Read the Nov. 15 Portfolio Products Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.


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