New products and changes introduced over the last week include new SRI offerings from Advisor Partners; a fund to invest in female and minority entrepreneurs from Intel Capital; three additional portfolios from W.E. Donoghue; several fund changes announced by Vanguard; and a custom target-date solution from Pensionmark.
Also, Exhilway exited a fund; Advent debuted the next generation of its Black Diamond wealth platform; CAIS and Mercer offered an institutional private equity solution; First Foundation and Pacific Rim Bank announced the completion of their merger; and Lincoln Financial Group announced enhancements to its VUL insurance suite.
Here are the latest developments of interest to advisors:
1) Vanguard Announces Fund Changes
Vanguard has announced changes to its money market mutual fund lineup in response to rules adopted by the SEC in 2014.
Vanguard plans to designate its Prime Money Market Fund and its six tax-exempt funds (one national and five state municipal money funds) as “retail funds.” In addition, effective this coming December, institutional shares of Vanguard Prime Money Market Fund (VMRXX) will be renamed admiral shares and the Vanguard Admiral Treasury Money Market Fund (VUSXX) will be renamed the Vanguard Treasury Money Market Fund. Vanguard is also reopening its Federal Money Market Fund immediately.
2) Advisor Partners Adds Fossil-Free, Empowerment Portfolios
Advisor Partners has announced that it has expanded its socially responsible investment offerings with the addition of fossil fuel-free and empowerment portfolios. The Advisor Partners portfolios will be available through First Affirmative Financial Network, LLC, and will also be broadly available to advisors wishing to respond to clients’ values-driven investment goals.
For the fossil fuel-free aspect, it has created both U.S. equity portfolios and ADR portfolios that exclude fossil fuel companies. The portfolios also reflect inclusionary and exclusionary aspects of SRI investment, excluding companies outside of fossil fuels that have unfavorable SRI characteristics and including companies with favorable SRI characteristics.
The empowerment portfolio emphasizes companies with favorable diversity characteristics, such as a higher proportion of women and minorities in senior management and on the board, as well as other attributes that demonstrate that the company values diversity in its workforce. Other vital SRI considerations are also taken into account.
4) Intel Capital Launches Fund
Intel Capital, Intel’s global investment organization, has announced the launch of the Intel Capital Diversity Fund.
The fund, which will invest in technology startups run by women and underrepresented minorities, launches with investments in four companies: Brit + Co, CareCloud, MarkOne and Venafi.
5) W.E. Donoghue Adds Portfolios
W.E. Donoghue & Co. has announced that three additional portfolios are now available through Mid Atlantic Trust Company’s ModelxChange 401k platform: Power Dividend & Yield, Power Income and Power Growth & Income.
The Power Dividend & Yield and Power Growth & Income strategies are designed to preserve capital during periods of market weakness by investing more heavily in fixed income asset classes. In addition, it will employ tactical investment strategies to attempt to control downside volatility by moving towards defensive money market positions when the market warrants it.
The Power Income strategy has the objective of maintaining long-term capital appreciation while producing high current returns. It invests primarily in high-yield bonds (sometimes termed “junk bonds”) and money market funds.
6) Pensionmark Adds Target-Date Solution