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Folio Signs Up to Sell NextShares

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Folio Investing and Folio Institutional, which provide online brokerage services to investors, financial advisors, institutions and their clients, say they will be the first organizations to sell Eaton Vance NextShares, which are exchange-traded managed funds.

Folio will offer NextShares on its platforms in conjunction with Navigate Fund Solutions, the developers of NextShares and a subsidiary of Eaton Vance, pending regulatory approvals.

“We are delighted to work with Folio as the first broker-dealer to make NextShares directly available to individual investors and advisors on its platforms,” said Navigate President Stephen W. Clarke, in a statement. “We commend Folio for their innovative leadership in bringing this pioneering fund structure to the market.”

According to Navigate, NextShares aim to protect the confidentiality of fund trading information and provide buyers and sellers of shares with transparency and control of their trading costs, while saving them 60 to 80 basis points over actively managed equity mutual funds.

In related news Tuesday, ALPS says it has entered into an agreement with Navigate in order to roll out a family of ALPS NextShares. According to ALPS, the new ALPS NextShares funds will be launched through the ALPS ETMF Trust, which it says is a “turnkey solution for investment managers looking to launch new NextShares funds.”

“It’s clear to us that NextShares can offer certain advantages as vehicles for active investment strategies,” said ALPS Holdings CEO Ned Burke, in a statement. “As pioneers in product development, we look forward to working with Navigate to bring this new product initiative to the marketplace.”

The timing of  NextShares launch depends upon final regulatory approval and market readiness, ALPS adds.

On Aug. 18, Envestnet, a wealth management platform for financial advisors, signed on as the first advisor-platform provider for NextShares. Eaton Vance has filed registration statements for 18 NextShares funds based on Eaton Vance-branded mutual funds. (Envestnet’s network includes 41,000-plus advisors and $700 billion in client assets.) Eleven asset managers, including ALPS and Eaton Vance, have said they plan to offer the funds.

“Folio is dedicated to providing advisors and investors with leading-edge innovation and offering better ways to invest through the power of technology,” said founder Steven M.H. Wallman, in a press release. “By offering NextShares, we advance our longstanding commitment to empowering investors’ financial success with the best investment options available at fair prices.”

Complex Products

In mid-May, Boston-based Eaton Vance said it would offer broker-dealers some compensation for technology costs associated with sales of the funds.

In addition, the fund group may give a share of sales revenue to the BDs. This news came about six months after the SEC approved the general format of its NextShares-branded funds, which will not disclose daily holdings, unlike traditional ETFs.

“We are trying to work with our distribution partners to bring better performing product to the marketplace. We recognize that there is work to be done and are facilitating that,” Clarke said in an interview with ThinkAdvisor at the time. “We do not see this as particularly sensational but as an extension of the spirit in which Eaton Vance has worked with its distribution partners for years.”

In mid-June, the SEC requested public feedback on the listing and trading of new, novel or complex exchange-traded products as part of its 60-day comment period about the key issues that arise when exemptions are sought by a market participant to trade a new ETP or when a securities exchange seeks to establish standards for listing new ETPs.

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