New products and changes introduced over the last week include SPDR’s Risk Aware ETF; a laddered corporate bond portfolio from Invesco PowerShares; IFC launched Green Bonds for individual investors; and Schwab launched a real estate mutual fund.
Also, an iShares ETF has switched its benchmark; Advent announced the next generation of its Black Diamond wealth management platform; and Aspire Financial Services launched an enhanced 403(b) enrollment portal.
Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) SPDR Launches Risk Aware ETF
SPDR ETFs has launched the SPDR SSgA Risk Aware ETF (RORO), which leverages its proprietary risk model to construct an active equity market portfolio designed to align with the risk environment.
RORO’s risk-first approach seeks to capitalize on where risk is being rewarded, and mitigate risk where it is not, potentially providing a smoother ride in an uncertain market environment.
2) Invesco Launches Laddered Corporate Bond ETF
Invesco PowerShares Capital Management, LLC has launched the PowerShares LadderRite 0-5 Year Corporate Bond Portfolio ETF (LDRI).
LDRI tracks the NASDAQ LadderRite 0–5 Year Corporate Bond Index, providing access to investment-grade, fixed coupon, U.S. dollar-denominated bonds issued by companies in the U.S., Canada, Western Europe and Japan. Bonds included in the index have an investment-grade rating from Fitch, Moody’s or S&P, a minimum outstanding of $500 million, and five years or less to maturity. The laddering methodology evenly staggers bond maturities so that they occur on regular intervals, providing a balance between risk and return, which may help investors manage volatility during a period of rising interest rates.
3) Schwab Launches Global Real Estate Fund
Charles Schwab Investment Management Inc., has announced the launch of the Schwab Fundamental Global Real Estate Index Fund (SFREX).
Managed by CSIM, the mutual fund will track the Russell Fundamental Global Select Real Estate Index. The index, made up of more than 200 real estate companies in 20 countries, measures the performance of residential and commercial real estate companies and REITs in U.S. and non-U.S. markets, including developed and emerging markets, using a fundamentally weighted methodology.
4) IFC Launches Green Bonds for Individual Investors
IFC, a member of the World Bank group, has announced an expansion to its Impact Notes program, introduced in March, that will allow individual U.S. investors to buy triple-A-rated IFC bonds that support renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in developing countries.
The “IFC Impact Notes—Green Bonds” offerings will be distributed by Incapital, which is also lead underwriter. IFC Impact Notes have the potential to offer more attractive yields than U.S. Treasuries with equivalent maturities. Proceeds from IFC green bonds are set aside in a separate account for investing exclusively in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Criteria for projects eligible for funding from IFC green bonds are independently verified by the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research-Oslo.
5) iShares ETF Switches Benchmark
MSCI Inc. has announced that the iShares Developed Small-Cap ex North America ETF has changed its benchmark from FTSE to MSCI.
The iShares Developed Small-Cap ex North America ETF, which tracked the FTSE Developed Small Cap ex North America Index, has been renamed the iShares MSCI Europe Small Cap ETF, tracking the MSCI Europe Small Cap Index, effective September 1. The ticker has also changed, from IFSM to IEUS.
6) Advent Announces Next Generation of Black Diamond Platform
Advent Software, Inc. has announced the next generation of its Black Diamond wealth management platform.
In addition to its reporting solutions, the Black Diamond platform also offers a rebalancing application, firm and business intelligence reporting, data mining, and a dedicated service model. It will also include an investor portal, a document vault and communications tools.
7) Aspire Financial Services Launches Enhanced 403(b) Enrollment Portal
Aspire Financial Services has announced the launch of its enhanced 403(b) enrollment and client service portal.
The enhanced 403(b) enrollment portal features Web-based search capabilities. Combined with the 403(b) K-12 suite of solutions, it provides access to 403(b) plan information, configurable investment choices and information on financial planning, as well as the ability to monitor financial performance through online reporting tools and quarterly account statements.
Read the Sept. 5 Portfolio Products Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.