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Envision, US Bancorp Launch Mutual Fund Platform: Portfolio Products

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Envision Financial Systems and U.S. Bancorp Fund Services launched a new mutual fund account servicing platform, FundKeeper.

According to Brian Jones, executive vice president of Envision, “by combining Quasar Distributors mutual fund trading, U.S. Bancorp Fund Services back-office operations, and Envision’s PowerAgent technology, the collaboration between our firms can transform intermediaries’ ability to support the mutual-fund only investor. Our goal with FundKeeper has been to solve the longstanding business problems faced by many financial intermediaries as they struggle with hassle, expense or both when managing mutual fund accounts.”

FundKeeper offers a lower cost solution for mutual-fund only investors that eliminates unneeded wirehouse brokerage system capabilities and associated brokerage fees.

It also enhances financial intermediary firms’ control with the ability to select the funds their representatives have access to, set up parameters to determine investor suitability, leverage automated breakpoint calculations, and gain easy access to position and activity data.

FundKeeper provides access to more than 16,000 funds with a largely electronic mutual fund experience, allowing financial intermediary firms to enhance upfront compliance and eliminate the need for back-end consolidation of their clients’ mutual fund holdings. This can help them comply with the Labor Department’s fiduciary rule and help increase customer satisfaction.

The platform’s first clients are CUSO Financial Services (CFS) and Sorrento Pacific Financial (SPF), partner broker-dealers and registered investment advisors with more than 500 registered representatives nationwide. CFS and SPF went live with the FundKeeper platform in August, having fully integrated FundKeeper into their existing systems.

“We’re proud to be the first firm to customize and integrate FundKeeper into our existing systems because it is an efficient, cost-saving option that is both advisor and client friendly. Our investment programs appreciate that it’s an easy, transparent and compliant platform for processing and managing their clients’ mutual fund accounts,” Valorie Seyfert, president and CEO of CFS/SPF, said in a statement.

Hartford Funds Adds to Active Bond ETF Lineup

Hartford Funds announced the listing of its third actively managed fixed income exchange-traded fund, the Hartford Total Return Bond ETF (HTRB). 

Sub-advised by Wellington Management Co., this actively managed ETF delivers a core fixed income strategy and adds to a growing and comprehensive suite of investing tools for financial advisors and their clients.

HTRB provides investors with an actively managed core bond strategy that invests in U.S. government and corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, mortgage-backed securities and foreign-issued securities. The strategy seeks to deliver a competitive total return with income as a secondary objective. HTRB has a total expense ratio of 0.39%.

NuShares Adds U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF to Its ESG Suite

Nuveen launched the NuShares ESG U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF (NUBD), a new ETF designed to offer exposure to the U.S. investment-grade, taxable fixed income market while adhering to certain environmental, social and governance principles. 

The ETF seeks to track the investment results of the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI US Aggregate ESG Select Index, which is maintained by Bloomberg Index Services Ltd. pursuant to an agreement between Bloomberg, Barclays Bank PLC and MSCI ESG Research LLC. Like the other ETFs in the ESG suite, the index methodology was created with the assistance of TIAA Investments, one of the largest managers of responsible investment assets in the U.S. across multiple asset classes. 

CBOE Holdings Launches S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Target Income Index

CBOE Holdings launched the CBOE S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Target Income Index (SPAI), a benchmark index designed to track the hypothetical performance of a partial buy-write strategy applied to stocks contained in the widely utilized S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, to target a specific level of total income.

The S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index targets companies that are currently members of the S&P 500 index, have increased dividend payments each year for at least 25 years, and meet certain other market capitalization and liquidity requirements.

The primary goal of the SPAI Index is to target an annualized level of income that is approximately 3.5% over the annual dividend yield of the S&P 500 Index. The current income target of SPAI is approximately 5.5%. A secondary goal of the SPAI Index is to generate price returns that are proportional to those of the S&P 500 Index.

The SPAI Index investment strategy includes buying all stocks that currently have options listed on CBOE that are contained in the S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats Index, and partially “writing” (or selling) weekly covered call options on each stock, generally on the last trading day of each week. The number of call options overwritten per unit of stock exposure is varied weekly with the goal of generating a higher total yield from dividends and call option premiums that is 3.5% above the yield from dividends of the S&P 500 Index. The percentage of each stock that is overwritten with call options will by design always be less than 20%.

Sage Launches Credit Index to Track Highly Liquid ESG Securities

Sage Advisory Services launched the Sage ESG Intermediate Credit Index, with Wilshire Associates retained as index consultant and calculation agent.

The index uses Sage’s proprietary ESG factor analysis framework and rules-based selection process. It is designed to maximize exposure to positive environmental, social  and governance characteristics while maintaining a high level of liquidity.

The index uses a three-pronged approach to select 100-120 investment-grade securities with a minimum tranche size of $500 million from the Barclay’s Intermediate Credit Bond Index, and an issuance date within the last three years.

To be selected, securities must meet a proprietary ESG score, fall within the top third of the group to which Sage categorizes them, and meet a controversy rating that flags to investors potential environmental and social risks associated with the security.

—Read last week’s portfolio product roundup here: Envestnet | PMC Unveils Gender-Focused Impact Strategy: Portfolio Products


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