New products and changes introduced over the last week include an ETF from State Street focused on European small-cap equities and two mutual funds launched by Gemini Fund Services and KKM Financial; Forethought Life Insurance Company added a withdrawal benefit to its variable annuity platform.
Also, AssetMark has expanded portfolio construction capabilities for advisors and AALTCI is offering a package of long-term care insurance training videos.
Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) State Street Launches Eurozone ETF
State Street Global Advisors has announced the launch of the SPDR EURO STOXX Small Cap ETF (SMEZ), which seeks to provide investment results that, before fees and expenses, correspond generally to the total return performance of the EURO STOXX Small Index.
The EURO STOXX Small Index consists of the Eurozone stocks included in the STOXX Europe Small 200 Index. The STOXX Europe Small 200 Index is a market-cap-weighted representation of the smallest eurozone stocks in the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. The STOXX Europe 600 Index is a free-float market-capitalization-weighted index of European stocks.
The EURO STOXX Small Index is represented by 12 countries and includes 96 stocks. Each individual stock is capped at a maximum of 20% of the index weight. The index is reviewed quarterly.
Countries covered in the index have historically included, among others, Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain.
2) Gemini, KKM Financial Team on Two Funds
RMRAX seeks to obtain capital appreciation and preservation with negative correlation to the broader U.S. equity market.
The fund, designed as a portfolio hedging tool, attempts to achieve its goals by primarily investing in long and short VIX futures contracts, and long and short call and put options contracts trading on the S&P 500 Index and the Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index (VIX).
UMRAX utilizes a total return strategy and also incorporates elements of the RMRAX tail-risk strategy.
UMRAX attempts to generate higher risk-adjusted returns with minimal equity market correlation. It seeks to meet its objective by primarily investing in large-cap U.S. stocks, VIX futures contracts, and long and short call and put options on VIX.
Its portfolio is tied to the U.S. Equity ARMOR Index, which is designed to create a portfolio consisting of large-cap S&P 500 stocks (82%) and holdings in the ARMOR Index (18%).
3) Forethought Adds Withdrawal Option to VA Platform
Forethought Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Global Atlantic Financial Group Limited, has added a withdrawal option to its variable annuity platform. The updated ForeRetirement variable annuities now offer Daily +4, an optional withdrawal benefit featuring daily step-up potential for income. Daily +4, instead of applying either a fixed deferral credit or performance-based increases, credits both. A 4% annual deferral credit applies on top of daily, performance-driven growth potential, or step-ups, for income purposes. The option is available for an additional charge.
In addition, the ForeRetirement variable annuity investment platform has added three Forethought Variable Insurance Trust (FVIT) investment options from Forethought Investment Advisors, LLC. The FVIT investment options represent eight of nine managed-risk choices, offering volatility management alongside exposure to equities and fixed income investments for capital appreciation objectives.
4) AssetMark Expands Portfolio Construction Capabilities for Advisors
AssetMark has announced expanded portfolio construction capabilities for advisors in the form of customizable unified managed account (UMA) capabilities and expanded choices for its turnkey portfolios (GPS Solutions and GPS Selection Solutions).
The UMA offers advisors the capability of using the firm’s multiple strategy accounts to combine up to eight different investment strategies in a single account, with only one statement and a single fee. GPS Solutions, which use proprietary mutual funds to provide turnkey accumulation and distribution strategies, are now available with or without alternative investments. The new Custom GPS Select Solutions allow advisors to adjust underlying portfolio strategists and their risk profiles, as well as the allocation weightings in the strategy, to address client preferences and goals.
5) AALTCI Offers Package of LTC Insurance Training Videos
The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance (AALTCI) has announced that it is offering a package of five LTC insurance sales training videos. The sessions feature industry experts and sales pros and were filmed at the just-concluded 2014 National Long Term Care Solutions Sales Summit that took place May 18-20 (2014) in Kansas City, MO.
The five presentations include a two-part session, “Long Term Care Insurance Sales Ammo,” featuring three of the nation’s sales trainers and experienced sales pros. In addition, a 60-minute session shares how to get consumers talking about LTC planning and features Harley Gordon, president of the Corporation for Long Term Care Certification. Sessions can be viewed on any computer or tablet with Internet access.
Read the June 8 Portfolio Products Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.