New products and changes introduced over the last week include a buyback ETF from Invesco PowerShares; an emerging markets Internet and e-commerce ETF from Exchange Traded Concepts; a corporate bond index fund from FlexShares; a China bond ETF from Van Eck; enhancements to a deferred annuity from Lincoln Financial; an additional option on variable annuity contracts from Nationwide; and MyNewFinancialAdvisor Inc. announced an online advisor marketplace.
Also, SWIFT announced the SWIFT profile for Know Your Customer compliance; Quovo announced integration with Orion; RiXtrema announced its RetireRisk tool; AdvisoryWorld announced its client-facing risk analysis tool; Barclays and MSCI announced the launch of a green bond index family; and Envestnet|Tamarac has announced the integration of streamlined trade processing with Schwab OpenView Gateway.
Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) Van Eck Launches China Bond-Focused ETF
Van Eck Global has announced the launch of the Market Vectors ChinaAMC China Bond ETF (CBON), designed to provide investors with direct access to China’s onshore bond market. ChinaAMC will serve as subadvisor to CBON using a renminbi-qualified foreign institutional investor (RQFII) quota that it has received in order to gain access to this market on behalf of foreign investors.
CBON seeks to invest in all major segments of the Chinese fixed-income markets, including sovereigns, policy banks, and high-rated corporate bonds, and seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the ChinaBond China High Quality Bond Index (CDHATRID). The index is comprised of fixed-rate renminbi (RMB)-denominated bonds issued in the People’s Republic of China by Chinese credit, governmental and quasi-governmental (e.g., policy banks) issuers.
2) Invesco PowerShares Adds Buyback ETF
Invesco PowerShares has announced the PowerShares Global Buyback Achievers UCITS ETF (BUYB), which launched in the U.K. and Europe.
BUYB is based on the Nasdaq Global Buyback Achievers Index, made up of securities from the Nasdaq U.S. Buyback Achievers Index and the Nasdaq International BuyBack Achievers Index.
The Nasdaq US Buyback Achievers Index is comprised of corporations that have effected a net reduction in shares outstanding of 5% or more in the trailing-12 months and the Nasdaq International BuyBack Achievers Index is comprised of corporations that have effected a net reduction in shares outstanding of 5% or more in its latest fiscal year.
3) Exchange Traded Concepts Adds EM Internet, E-Commerce ETF
Exchange Traded Concepts, LLC has announced the launch of EMQQ, a broad-based emerging markets Internet and e-commerce ETF that includes such companies as Alibaba, Baidu and Yandex, among others.
EMQQ seeks to track, before fees and expenses, the performance of EMQQ The Emerging Markets Internet and ECommerce Index, created by Big Tree Capital. Penserra Capital Management LLC serves as a subadvisor to the fund.
4) FlexShares Adds Corporate Bond-Index Fund
FlexShares has launched the FlexShares Credit-Scored U.S. Corporate Bond Index Fund (SKOR), a fixed-income portfolio consisting of corporate debt securities selected using a proprietary credit scoring process.
SKOR focuses on an intermediate maturity, with securities ranging from two to 10 years in maturity. It seeks to maximize the credit score while maintaining a similar spread and duration to the intermediate maturity corporate debt universe.
5) Lincoln Financial Announces Enhancements to Deferred Annuity
Lincoln Financial Group has announced enhancements to its Lincoln Deferred Income Solutions annuity that provide additional flexibility for clients.
The changes include flexible premium options and a shorter minimum deferral period, allowing annuity owners to spread premiums over multiple years at any frequency or to begin taking income as early as 13 months for those requiring income in the near term. There is also optional death benefit protection during the deferral and income phases.
6) Nationwide Adds Option on New VA Contracts
Nationwide has announced that an additional feature is being offered on new contracts for most of its variable annuity products at no additional cost. The Enhanced Surrender Value for Terminal Illness (ESVTI) feature allows terminally ill owner-annuitants access to their full death benefit value prior to passing away.
ESVTI pays the owner-annuitant an amount equal to their full death benefit value upon notification by a medical doctor of terminal illness (defined as anticipated death within 12 months). The feature is available after the first contract year, and the owner-annuitant must surrender the contract in order to take advantage of this feature. If a client purchased an enhanced death benefit, then Nationwide will pay the higher death benefit value amount. Upon payment, there are no restrictions on how the money is used. In addition, the ESVTI feature works with the spousal protection feature. If either co-annuitant is declared terminally ill, the owner has the option of exercising the ESVTI feature and receiving the death benefit value.