Inflation

VanEck launched a fund that seeks long-term total return from exposure to a range of real assets — including commodities and companies involved in natural resources, real estate, and infrastructure — while mitigating downside risk.

The VanEck Vectors Real Asset Allocation ETF (NYSE Arca: RAAX) is designed to provide exposure to real assets while seeking to minimize the impact of drawdowns. According to VanEck, real assets can potentially help investors combat rising inflation, enhance portfolio diversification, and participate in global growth.

“VanEck has been a long-time proponent of the benefits of real asset investments, both from a performance and portfolio diversification perspective. We also understand that the volatility of real asset investing is a challenge for many investors,” David Schassler, portfolio manager for RAAX, said in a statement. “These are predominantly cyclical sectors that experience frequent periods of high volatility. RAAX was specifically designed to address this. It is a real asset investment solution with built-in risk management.”

The new fund uses a rules-based model to allocate among approximately 12 exchange-traded products (ETPs) and has the ability to allocate up to 100% to cash and cash equivalents in the event of market stress. The ETPs provide exposure to agribusiness, coal, infrastructure, real estate, steel, oil services, unconventional oil & gas, and gold mining companies as well as diversified commodity futures exposure and physical gold. It has a net expense ratio of 74 basis points.

Research Affiliates Launches New RAFI ESG Strategy

Research Affiliates announced the launch of the RAFI ESG strategy. RAFI ESG is a smart beta strategy that aims to help investors achieve the dual objectives of social responsibility and long-horizon outperformance.The strategy does this by emphasizing two key elements:. applying the Fundamental Index approach, which has historically been shown to outperform the cap-weighted benchmark, and supplementing traditional ESG metrics by adding the dimensions of financial discipline and gender diversity.

The RAFI ESG strategy takes an integrated approach to ESG investing by incorporating RAFI weights with a composite score of each security’s Environment, Social, Governance, Financial Discipline, and Diversity ratings.

The financial discipline score uses metrics that are associated with generating sustainable long-term performance. For the diversity score, metrics are used to determine a firm’s commitment to gender diversity, with particular attention paid to women in management, in the C-suite, and on company boards.

Research Affiliates also plans to launch a standalone RAFI Diversity strategy at a later date in 2018. Indices based on both the RAFI ESG and RAFI Diversity strategies will be published through RAFI Indices, LLC, a sister company of Research Affiliates.

TrimTabs’s Flagship Fund Gets Added to RBC Allocation Portfolio

TrimTabs Asset Management announced the addition of its flagship fund, the TrimTabs All Cap US Free-Cash- Flow ETF (TTAC), into the RBC Wealth Management’s PAG+ Canadian Active Allocation Model.

RBC Wealth Management is a provider of services for high net worth individuals, as well as corporate and institutional clients, and manages more than $702 billion worldwide.

TrimTabs said the addition is recognition that its actively-managed strategy, focused on free cash flow, can deliver superior performance for investors by providing exposure to high-quality companies with healthy balance sheets.

Utilizing a proprietary algorithm, TTAC seeks to deliver alpha by investing in approximately 100 companies in the Russell 3000 that are both generating free cash flow and maintaining high quality balance sheets, while reducing their outstanding share count.

IHS Markit Adds Cybersecurity Risk Ratings to Research Signals

Business information provider IHS Markit announced that Research Signals, its quantitative equity research product, has enhanced its factor-based investment analyses with 35 cybersecurity risk factors on more than 3,000 public companies.

The cybersecurity risk factors are based on security ratings from BitSight, a provider of actionable risk intelligence, and deliver investment risk indicators for institutional investors.

The BitSight Security Rating Platform generates objective, quantitative measurements on a company’s security performance to produce daily security ratings ranging from 250 to 900. BitSight analyzes security events including malware, vulnerabilities, user behaviors, and more and applies sophisticated algorithms to produce these ratings, which are derived using externally observable, non-intrusive methods.

Research Signals from IHS Markit provides investment analyses on more than 30,000 securities in 80 countries, supporting selection and strategy development for asset managers, fund administrators, hedge funds and investment banks

DNA Behavior Introduces a Simplified, More Cost-Effective Client Assessment Tool

DNA Behavior International  introduced a simplified starter package for its behavioral finance-based platform, Financial DNA, that is available at no cost for the remainder of April.

Financial DNA is an online tool that helps financial advisors and clients maximize communication, while identifying their risk profile, behavioral biases, spending patterns and goals-based planning preferences.

Financial DNA uses validated methodology to identify how likely a client is to delegate financial planning, how likely a client is to save/spend, how a client sets/pursues goals, and financial emotional intelligence — for instance, how emotional a client will become in the face of market fluctuations.

The starter package still includes a 10-minute, 46-question tool to reliably reveal the core of a person’s natural behavior, but it’s now much easier to use and implement for an advisor or firm and now with a lower-priced starting point, according to DNA Behavior.

For example, one simplified packages starts with a $75/month commitment, which includes free, self-paced online training (available 24/7), and enables advisors to co-brand the system’s reports with their name and/or firm’s logo.

Any of the starter packages are free for the remainder of April, using coupon code APRILFREE.

Check out Envestnet Tamarac Introduces Quick Start Offering: Portfolio Products on ThinkAdvisor.