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Portfolio > Alternative Investments > Real Estate

Legg Mason Launches First Commercial Real Estate Fund: Portfolio Products

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Legg Mason is fielding its first commercial real estate-focused fund for individual investors. The Clarion Partners Real Estate Income Fund (CPREIF) has a management fee of 1.25% and is being managed by Legg Mason affiliate Clarion Partners.

The new fund enables individuals and small institutions to access private real estate transactions that are usually only available to larger investors at “significantly higher minimums,” according to Brad Fryer, managing director of alternative sales for Legg Mason.

Most of CPREIF’s underlying investments are expected to be in private commercial real estate, both equity and debt positions, the firm said. The rest will be invested in publicly traded real estate-related securities, cash and cash equivalents, it said. The fund “will seek to invest in assets across the major property sectors,” it said.

CPREIF closed on its first investment, an $18 million structured debt investment to Buckingham Companies for the recapitalization of Aertson Midtown, a newly constructed, best-in-class property in the heart of Nashville’s Midtown/West End neighborhood in Tennessee, Legg Mason said.

Fidelity Expands Its Index Fund Offerings

The Fidelity International Bond Index Fund (FBIIX) is the latest addition to Fidelity’s index fund lineup.

The new fund has a net expense ratio of 0.06% and is available with no investment minimum to individual investors, as well as via third-party financial advisors and workplace retirement plans, the company said.

EventShares Changes ETF Name, Reduces Expense Ratio

EventShares changed the name of its actively managed exchange-traded fund from the EventShares U.S. Policy Alpha ETF to the EventShares U.S. Legislative Opportunities ETF and reduced its net expense ratio from 0.86% to 0.75%, it said.

The ETF’s ticker, however, remains PLCY and the fund’s underlying focus hasn’t changed either, it said.

Since launching its ETF business in 2017, the Newport Beach, California-based firm has “sought to draw a very clear line between politics and policy,” according to Ben Phillips, its chief investment officer. “With this new name, we believe we’ve made our fund’s mandate even more clear,” he said in a statement.

Broadridge Buys Appatura to Enhance Communications Solutions

Broadridge Financial Solutions bought Ridgefield Park, N.J.-based enterprise content management specialist Appatura and its Software-as-a-Service-based platform.

The acquisition stands to help Broadridge enhance its existing communications solutions for asset managers and other financial services clients, it said.

The purchase price and other terms weren’t disclosed. Appatura had been bought from Havas Creative, a subsidiary of Vivendi Universal and other selling shareholders.

Howard Capital Introduces New Defender Series ETFs

Howard Capital Management launched HCM Defender Series ETFs, including the HCM Defender 100 Index ETF (QQH) and HCM Defender 500 Index ETF (LGH), each with a 1.36% net expense ratio.

The new ETFs track the Nasdaq-100 and S&P 500, respectively, and were “designed to offer upside potential with downside risk management,” the Atlanta company said.

The new investment vehicles are “guided by” the company’s proprietary HCM-BuyLine model, the company said, noting that, when a key index, such as the S&P 500, dips below the company’s mathematical model projections, the HCM-BuyLine signals to reduce the ETF’s exposure to equities by investing in one- to three-month U.S. Treasury bills.

J.P. Morgan Enhances Target Date Compass Tool

J.P. Morgan Asset Management made enhancements to its Target Date Compass target date fund analysis tool that include new search capabilities allowing advisors to more quickly find the funds that align to plan sponsor goals, the company said.

Other new features include filters that enable users to easily narrow down the target date universe, the company said, noting the upgraded tool is powered by third-party Morningstar data that J.P. Morgan said delivers a “digital-first, best-in-class experience.”

Target Date Compass, launched in 2008, is used by “thousands” of advisors to help plan sponsors evaluate and select funds with greater knowledge and confidence, the company said.

New Firm Touts Correspondent Clearing, Brokerage Services

New, Anaheim, California-based firm Velox Clearing is offering securities clearing, “prime” brokerage solutions and other services to small- to mid-sized broker-dealers, RIAs, hedge funds and automated (black box) traders, it said.

The company is led by a team of clearing industry veterans, including CEO Pat Kelly, who collectively have almost 170 years of collective experience.

Its back office services combine “modern, responsive technology with high-touch service, competitive pricing, and rigorous risk management controls,” the company said. It also offers flexible application program interfaces that it said enable the firm’s customers to “seamlessly integrate their existing infrastructure with Velox’s environment — in some instances, this can reduce account opening times to mere seconds.”

Nuveen Expands Retirement Offerings With New CITs

Nuveen enhanced its target date fund offerings by adding a new collective investment trust series.

The Nuveen TIAA Lifecycle Blend CIT series consists of 12 funds, including 11 target-date funds at five-year intervals for retirement dates 2010 through 2060 and a retirement income fund for those already in retirement: Nuveen TIAA Lifecycle Blend Fund 2010, 2015, 2020, 2025, 2030, 2035, 2040, 2054, 2050, 2055, 2060 and the Nuveen TIAA Lifecycle Blend Retirement Income Fund.

The CIT series contains a blend of active and passive holdings, and “aims to appeal to plan sponsors seeking expertise and experience in actively managed funds while seeking to balance investment costs by using index funds where appropriate,” according to Nuveen. SEI Trust Co., a wholly owned subsidiary of SEI Investments Co., is the trustee for the new CITs..

The “new blended target date fund CIT series helps meet a growing demand in the 401(k) market space,” according to Jeff Eng, managing director and head of retirement products at Nuveen.

Greenbacker Adds to Its Portfolio

 Greenbacker Capital bought the rights to 31.33 megawatts of solar projects and partnered on an additional 3.5 MWs of solar in three separate transactions.

The transactions followed Greenbacker’s September purchase of two wind energy facilities in Iowa, and builds on the company’s growing momentum as it establishes itself as a key investor and project sponsor in the U.S. renewable energy sector.

Through its portfolio of green power projects with long-term contracts in place with utilities, municipalities and other corporate entities, Greenbacker is looking to provide steady current income and moderate capital appreciation for RIAs and other investors, it said.

In the first new transaction, Greenbacker acquired the rights to a 25.6 MW solar Commercial & Industrial portfolio from IGS Solar. The portfolio spans several states, including California, Colorado, Massachusetts and New Jersey, as well as Washington D.C. The projects are expected to be placed in service between Q4 2019 and Q3 2020.

Greenbacker also bought the Brattleboro landfill project, which consists of an operating 5.74 MW ground mount solar project in Brattleboro, Vermont, and partnered with Scenic Hill Solar on a 3.5 MW portfolio of to-be-constructed projects in Arkansas.

— Check out last week’s portfolio product roundup here: SkyView Launches Marketplace to Buy, Sell Advisory Practices: Portfolio Products.


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