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Vanguard announced plans to change benchmarks for three sector funds and their corresponding ETF Shares: Vanguard Telecommunication Services Index Fund, Vanguard Consumer Discretionary Index Fund and Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund.

The changes will be consistent with S&P Dow Jones and MSCI’s planned revisions announced in November 2017 to the funds’ respective target benchmarks under its Global Industry Classification Standards methodology.

“We’re pleased with MSCI’s changes as we believe the reconstituted benchmarks provide investors with a better representation of the sectors they track,” said Vanguard Chief Investment Officer Greg Davis in a statement. “We have determined that these changes and our approach to adopting the new benchmarks are in the best interests of shareholders.”

Vanguard’s Equity Index Group will carefully manage the transition. Beginning in the second quarter of 2018, the funds will track custom transition benchmarks. These interim benchmarks are designed to ensure the changes are implemented in the most transparent, cost-efficient way for the funds’ investors, while also reducing tracking error and mitigating market impact.

The funds will track these custom benchmarks until MSCI’s index changes are complete, at which time the funds will revert back to their applicable MSCI benchmarks.

The transition to the new benchmarks is not expected to result in material capital gains distributions to shareholders or changes to the funds’ expense ratios, according to Vanguard.

Davis Advisors Launches Davis Select International ETF

Davis Advisors expanded its suite of actively managed exchange traded funds (ETFs) with the launch of the Davis Select International ETF (DINT).

DINT, which has a net expense ratio of 0.75%, invests primarily in stocks with businesses outside the United States. The fund invests in approximately 30 stocks at a given time.

As with all Davis ETFs, DINT seeks to offer long term capital appreciation through a high conviction, benchmark agnostic portfolio. It provides the traditional benefits of ETFs along with Davis’ unique investment discipline and experienced active management team.

Allianz Life Bolsters Its Fixed Index Universal Life Lineup

Allianz Life launched two new fixed index universal life (FIUL) insurance products, Allianz Life Pro+ Elite and Allianz Asset Pro+.

Allianz Life Pro+ Elite is an enhanced version of the popular Allianz Life Pro+ product, now offering more proprietary index allocation options including bonused allocation options.

Allianz Asset Pro+ is a new product designed specifically for broker-dealers and financial professionals focused on helping meet their clients’ holistic planning needs with a simplified solution offering death benefit protection, flexibility and tax advantages.

ImpactAssets Releases Impact Investment Fund Database

ImpactAssets released its 2017-18 ImpactAssets 50 (IA 50), a free online database for investors and financial advisors that features a diversified listing of 50 private capital fund managers that deliver social and environmental impact as well as financial returns.

IA 50 users can sort and filter across a range of asset classes (debt, private equity and real estate), geographies, size of funds, themes and more.

Fund managers included in the seventh annual IA 50 manage an estimated $29.2 billion in assets devoted to creating measurable, positive impact — nearly double the assets managed by IA 50 managers in the previous year.

The IA 50 is not an index or investable platform and does not constitute an offering or recommend specific products.

In order to be considered, fund managers needed to have at least $10 million in assets under management, more than three years of experience as a firm with impact investing, documented social and/or environmental impact and be available for U.S. investment.

BNY Mellon Expands Role of Distribution Intelligence and Workflow Solutions Suite

BNY Mellon expanded the role of its Intermediary Analytics solutions suite, formerly Albridge Analytics, in supporting asset managers and broker-dealers globally.

The integration of Intermediary Analytics into BNY Mellon’s Asset Servicing business facilitates the creation of new and enhanced distribution solutions intended to help BNY Mellon clients improve business performance and maximize growth opportunities.

Intermediary Analytics aggregates sales and asset data from broker-dealers to provide granular financial product intelligence. Its analytical insights currently focus on mutual fund, ETF and separately/unified managed account products.

Intermediary Analytics also offers a set of due diligence tools to address the increasing oversight needs of key industry participants. The Intermediary Analytics solution suite complements the existing custody, fund accounting, fund administration, and tax and regulatory services that BNY Mellon Asset Servicing provides to asset owners, asset managers and broker-dealers globally.

Vestmark Unveils Research Portal with Focus on Transparency, User-Friendly Interface

Vestmark launched a research portal to support the Vestmark Manager Marketplace (VMM) platform. The new portal helps advisors at sponsor firms sort through more than 200 strategies offered by 85 asset managers currently delivering models through VMM.

The VMM research portal helps advisors efficiently search through an online database of third party managers. The portal lets advisors filter by asset class and style, and obtain a fast, transparent view into manager and strategy details.

The research portal introduces additional control and visibility for participating managers as well, permitting them to manage their online profile and upload white papers, analysis and promotional materials for convenient access by advisors. In addition, the portal automates and streamlines much of the due diligence process.

Putnam Investments Introduces Lower-Cost Pricing Option On Retirement Advantage TDF Series

Putnam Investments made available a new lower pricing option on its Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds, a series of 10 target-date funds designed for the retirement marketplace.

Putnam class X shares have a management fee of 0.35% and are available to defined contribution plans that have a minimum of $5 million invested in Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds.

Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds are designed for plan participants who want the risk/return profile of their asset allocation glide path to reflect their projected retirement date. The funds are actively managed by Putnam’s Global Asset Allocation team.

Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds, which currently have $3.8 billion in assets under management, are collective investment trusts, a pooled vehicle structure that can help to keep costs competitive by providing lower operational expenses and enhanced fee flexibility.

Salt Financial Launches Us Index Powered By truBeta

Salt Financial launched the Salt truBeta High Exposure Index, which uses the firm’s truBeta technology.

truBeta uses a machine learning algorithm and blends recent intraday with longer term historical data to forecast how sensitive a specific stock or portfolio is to the overall market, delivering what we believe is a far more accurate forecast of beta than traditional methods.

The Salt truBeta High Exposure Index selects stocks with the highest truBeta forecast, increasing exposure to the underlying market with simply targeted stock selection instead of derivatives or leverage.

The Salt truBeta High Exposure Index is available on Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters under ticker symbols SFMGX (price return) and SFMGXT (gross total return).

OppenheimerFunds International Equity Fund Named to Schwab’s OneSource Select List

OppenheimerFunds International Equity Fund (QIVAX) has been added to the Q1 2018 Schwab Mutual Fund OneSource Select List.

Mutual funds on the list are rigorously screened by Charles Schwab Investment Advisory based on factors such as risk, performance and expense.

OppenheimerFunds International Equity Strategy seeks capital appreciation by investing mainly in common and preferred stocks of companies that the portfolio manager believes are undervalued and are either domiciled or have their primary operations outside the United States.

SL Advisors Launches The American Energy Independence Fund (USAI)

SL Advisors launched the American Energy Independence Fund (USAI), an ETF that passively invests in the American Energy Independence Index (AEITR).

The index is float-adjusted, market-cap weighted, and incorporates both corporations and Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) that own and develop midstream energy infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines, storage assets, and processing facilities. The expense ratio is 0.75%.

Check out New Women-Led RIA to Focus on Impact Investing: Portfolio Products on ThinkAdvisor.