New products and changes introduced over the last week include a suite of factor-based ETFs from Fidelity, a defensive fund from CBOE Vest Financial and leveraged ETFs from Direxion.
In addition, Morningstar expanded its analysts ratings system; Impact Labs introduced software to help design socially responsible portfolios; Pacific Life launched a new annuity; and Lincoln Financial added enhancements to its variable annuities.
Here’s more about those and other recent developments of interest to advisors:
1) Fidelity Launches Factor-Based ETFs
Fidelity Investments launched a suite of six factor-based ETFs: Fidelity Core Dividend ETF (FDVV), Fidelity Dividend ETF for Rising Rates (FDRR), Fidelity Low Volatility Factor ETF (FDLO), Fidelity Momentum Factor ETF (FDMO), Fidelity Quality Factor ETF (FQAL) and Fidelity Value Factor ETF (FVAL).
(Related on ThinkAdvisor: Fidelity Launches Suite of Factor-Based ETFs)
The total expense ratio for each is 0.29%, and individual investors and advisors will be able to purchase them commission-free online through one of Fidelity’s brokerage platforms.
2) CBOE Vest Adds Buffer Fund
CBOE Vest Financial launched the CBOE Vest S&P 500 Buffer Protect Strategy Fund (BUIGX), which tracks the CBOE S&P 500 Buffer Protect Index Balanced Series (SPRO).
The buffer-protection strategy seeks to shield investors from the first 10% of a decline in their investment, in exchange for giving up some upside. The fund’s net expense ratio is 1.26%.
3) Direxion Adds Leveraged Commodity-Based ETFs
Direxion added leveraged ETFs focused on silver mining stocks. The Direxion Daily Silver Miners Index Bull 2X Shares (SHNY) seeks to achieve 200% of the daily performance of the Solactive Global Silver Miners Index. The Direxion Daily Silver Miners Index Bear 2X Shares (DULL) seeks 200% of the inverse of the daily performance of the Solactive Global Silver Miners Index.
Each ETF’s net expense ratio is 0.80%.
4) Morningstar Enhances Ratings
Morningstar is applying its forward-looking analyst rating to ETFs globally. It will also combine ETFs and open-ended funds in the same peer group when calculating its quantitative, backward-looking Morningstar Rating for funds. Both enhancements are intended to allow investors easier comparisons across fund types.
(Related on ThinkAdvisor: Morningstar to Launch Analyst Ratings for ETFs)
“Investors increasingly see open-end funds and ETFs as interchangeable options when choosing investments,” said Ben Johnson, Morningstar’s director of global ETF research, in a statement. “By combining them into the same peer group, investors can more easily compare investments regardless of the product structure.”
Morningstar will assign analyst ratings to approximately 300 ETFs later this year and will continue to add ratings for ETFs over time.
5) Impact Labs Adds SRI Portfolio Generation Software
Impact Labs launched an algorithmic portfolio generation and customization tool that it says builds a properly diversified investment portfolio while optimizing for social value and maximizing after-tax performance.
The tool was designed and developed by Jason Escamilla, founder and chief executive officer of Impact Labs, and Videh Seksaria, a co-founder.
6) Pacific Life Adds Annuity
Pacific Life Insurance Company launched the Pacific Index Edge, a deferred fixed indexed annuity that uses the BlackRock Endura Index.
The annuity offers four interest-crediting options, one of which uses the BlackRock index, as well as two optional benefits: the interest enhanced income benefit and the interest enhanced death benefit.
7) Lincoln Financial Distributors Adds VA Enhancements
Lincoln Financial Distributors is adding an optional living benefit rider, available at additional cost, to its American Legacy and Lincoln ChoicePlus Assurance variable annuities.
The enhanced option offers 5% guaranteed growth to the income base during accumulation, flexible income alternatives and access to managed and nonmanaged risk allocation funds. In addition, the rider has the option to transition to the i4LIFE Advantage guaranteed income benefit, which is available at an extra charge.
8) Voya Investment Management Launches Retirement University for Advisors
Voya Investment Management launched Retirement University for Advisors, a professional development and practice management program for financial advisors who serve both personal and/or defined contribution clients.
Retirement University provides advisors with practice management and professional development resources to expand the retirement-focused guidance sought by clients. It’s accessible via a Web-based experience that includes interactive learning modules and live seminars that provide CE credits.
9) Amplify ETFs Acquires YieldShares LLC
Amplify ETFs has acquired YieldShares LLC and filed to add two YieldShares ETFs.
The Amplify YieldShares Prime 5 Dividend ETF and Amplify YieldShares CWP Dividend & Option Income ETF are expected to launch later this year.
10) Envoy Management Launches
New York-based Envoy Capital Management, a private capital investor, has launched. The firm is focused on debt and equity funding for independent sponsors, family offices and owner-operators of buyouts and recapitalizations.
11) Trading Ticket Joins FinTech Sandbox
Trading Ticket’s TradeIt APIs and SDKs, tools that connect popular financial mobile apps with retail brokerage accounts and each other, are now available to startups using FinTech Sandbox.
The tools allow startups to test new retail trading capabilities or demonstrate their ability to integrate with retail brokerage accounts.