New products and changes introduced over the last week include a China bond ETF from Global X Funds; a donor-advised fund from AssetMark; four additional crowdfunding platforms on the PENSCO Marketplace; DRAFT announced the beta of its mobile app-based investment tool; and a Social Security optimizer tool from Franklin Templeton.

Also, MetLife and Fidelity announced a VA with a principal protection guarantee; Columbia Management announced a strategic initiative with Blackstone Alternative Asset Management; Altus Group and the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries have announced a new data platform; and CAIS announced a structured notes solution for advisors.

Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:

1) Global X Adds Bond ETF

Global X Funds has announced the launch of the Global X GF China Bond ETF (CHNB), which tracks the S&P China Composite Select Bond Index. Global X partnered with GF International Investment Management Limited, which serves as the fund’s subadvisor, to bring the fund to market.

CHNB offers direct access to China’s onshore bond market. It focuses its exposure on the high end of China’s credit quality spectrum, with the majority of its exposure in Chinese government and agency bonds. At each monthly rebalance, CHNB allocates 23% of its exposure to Chinese government bonds, 32% to agencies, and 45% to central state-owned enterprises.

2) AssetMark Adds Donor-Advised Giving Fund

AssetMark, Inc. announced the launch of the donor-advised Giving Fund on its platform. The fund allows clients to integrate tax-advantaged charitable giving with the management of their investment accounts and offers flexibility and choice when it comes to selecting charities and distributing grants.

All investment solutions on the AssetMark platform are eligible to be included in a Giving Fund account. Donors can contribute cash, mutual funds and securities (as well as some nontraditional assets like real estate), and distribute grants from their account to qualified charities of their choice. Contributions are tax deductible for the year that they are made, and investments grow tax free to potentially increase the donor’s future giving potential. The fund provides a single annual tax document that covers all grants made during that year. Grants may also be made anonymously to avoid solicitation.

3) PENSCO Marketplace Adds Four Crowdfunding Platforms

The PENSCO Marketplace has added four crowdfunding platforms that accredited investors can access using their IRAs.

LendZoan, Equity Round, EarlyShares and SilverPortalXchange are the additional portals now available on the Marketplace.

4) DRAFT Announces Beta Plans

Investment application company DRAFT has announced public beta plans for its mobile app-based investment tool.

DRAFT leverages crowdsourced data, and allows users to pull all their investment accounts into one single location and compare performance, fees and asset allocation against real portfolios from other users.

5) Franklin Templeton Adds Social Security Optimizer Tool for Advisors

Franklin Templeton has announced the launch of its Social Security Optimizer tool for financial advisors, which assists in the review of potential Social Security benefits options. It enables financial advisors to begin tailoring a Social Security approach to fit the nature of each client’s overall retirement situation and income plan.

Once an advisor enters specific inputs from the client, the tool assesses a range of variables and produces benefit filing options that could lead to greater total lifetime benefits using certain assumptions. Advisors then have the capability to further customize the proposed strategy to align more closely with a client’s specific retirement resources and goals. The tool also provides actionable suggested “next steps” for the chosen Social Security benefits claiming strategy.

6) MetLife, Fidelity Add VA with Principal Protection Guarantee

MetLife, Inc. and Fidelity Investments have announced a deferred variable annuity product, the MetLife Accumulation Annuity, that offers a principal protection guarantee rider for an extra charge.

Through the product’s preservation and growth feature, the investor is guaranteed the return of their initial investment, adjusted proportionally for any withdrawals, at the end of a 10-year period. At the same time, on every contract anniversary, investors have the opportunity to reset the guaranteed amount to a new, higher amount if the account value has increased, extending the 10-year period from that date.

7) Columbia, Blackstone Announce Strategic Initiative

Columbia Management has announced a strategic initiative with Blackstone Alternative Asset Management.

The two companies will research and develop investment solutions that leverage Columbia’s asset management capabilities and Blackstone’s hedge fund solutions business.

8) Altus Group, National Council of Real Estate Fiduciaries Team on Platform

Altus Group Limited and the National Council of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries (NCREIF) have announced that they are working together to develop a new data platform for the commercial real estate industry.

The new application, an interactive, cloud-based Web interface, will be tailored to the asset and investment management industry and is scheduled to be released in the first quarter of 2015. It uses data featuring 10,000 real estate properties comprising nearly $400 billion in market value.

9) CAIS Launches Multi-Issuer Structured Notes Solution

Independent product platform CAIS announced that J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, RBC and BNP Paribas are to join its new open-architecture structured notes platform.

On the CAIS platform, wealth advisors can build customized notes and access calendar offerings and performance tracking, as well as place orders. CAIS gives clients access to a selection of banks and products providing credit diversification and institutional pricing.

Read the Nov. 15 Portfolio Products Roundup at ThinkAdvisor.