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Horizons Nasdaq-100 Index ETF Strategy Adjusted: Portfolio Products

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Horizons ETFs adjusted the investment strategy of the Horizons Nasdaq-100 Index ETF (HXQ) from a synthetic total return swap structure to a conventional physical index replication structure.

Under the new strategy, HXQ will directly hold the underlying constituents of the Nasdaq-100 Index in mostly the same proportion as they are reflected in the index, the company said. However, no changes are being made to its investment objective or net expense ratio, which remains at 0.25%.

The Horizons Nasdaq-100 Index ETF, which includes 100 of the largest U.S. and international non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq, seeks to replicate the total return performance of the  Index, net of expenses.

Separately, Horizons ETFs said it completed the quarterly rebalance of the constituent holdings of the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (HMMJ), Horizons US Marijuana Index ETF (HMUS) and Horizons Emerging Marijuana Growers Index ETF (HMJR). Dropped from the index were seven companies: 48North Cannabis, Emerald Health Therapeutics, Eve & Co., Fsd Pharma, Heritage Cannabis Holdings, Radient Technologies and Zenabis Global.

Advicent Enhances NaviPlan

As part of the latest enhancements to its NaviPlan financial planning software, Advicent has enabled the guided retirement tool to harness data analytics by Aivante.

With NaviPlan 19.3, financial professionals can now “leverage a robust healthcare dataset to deliver more accurate healthcare cost projections,” Advicent said. Those forecasts can be delivered via the new NaviPlan Guided Retirement tool — a two-minute guided workflow designed to demonstrate an advisor’s value — or through the comprehensive planning experience of the NaviPlan financial planning platform, according to Advicent.

Both provide “granular insight into how healthcare costs impact an investor’s retirement spending,” it said, adding advisors can then use the estimates to “collaborate with clients and craft financial plans which address strategies for meeting healthcare needs in retirement.”

In April, NaviPlan “got an entirely new facelift” when it “decoupled the user interface … with the calculation engine, and we’ve actually replaced it now with” application programming interfaces,” said Stich. “What this has allowed us to do is develop new features and functionality” via the APIs that large banks can use to build into their own clients or advisor dashboards, he said.

As a result, NaviPlan is “putting the power in the hands of the client rather than just in the hands of the advisor,” he said, adding the new features were “extremely well-received” by users and “widely adopted” by enterprise partners.

NaviPlan users totaled more than 140,000 in the U.S. as of late 2019 and consist of a “decent split between insurance broker-dealers, independent broker-dealers, wirehouses and banks,” Anthony Stich, Advicent chief operating officer, told ThinkAdvisor.  RIA users “make up a much smaller percentage of the total user base, he said.

SS&C Alps Advisors Introduces New Strategy for REIT ETF

SS&C Technologies’ subsidiary ALPS Advisors introduced a new name, strategy and ticker symbol for its Cohen & Steers Global Realty ETF (GRI). It’s now called the ALPS REIT Dividend Dogs ETF (RDOG) and has a lower net expense ratio of 35 basis points, down from 55.

The new strategy applies the “Dogs of the Dow Theory” to the asset manager’s rules-based investment strategy. RDOG “intends to provide investors with equal exposure” to the five highest yielding REITs (“Dividend Dogs”) within nine equally-weighted REIT segments as determined by S-Network, the index provider, ALPS Advisors, said. The approach “excludes mortgage REITs and helps to smooth REIT volatility and segment biases, in addition to offering low overlap with major U.S. REIT indices,” it added.

RDOG includes a separate Technology REITs segment that provides exposure to “strong growth opportunities within wireless towers and data centers, which can also act as a defensive attribute for the fund,” ALPS Advisors said.

Willow Oak Teams With Focused Compounding on New Fund

Willow Oak Asset Management and Focused Compounding Capital Management launched a  private investment partnership to introduce the Focused Compounding Fund.

Portfolio Manager Geoff Gannon and his colleague, Andrew Kuhn, are spending “99% of their time focused on the 1% of stocks other funds ignore,” the companies said in a joint announcement. They are managing a “concentrated portfolio, investing in companies with durable competitive advantages, predictable operational results over extended time periods, and whose stocks are overlooked by the market,” the firms said.

In addition to funding the launch, Willow Oak will provide ongoing operational support and investor-relations services.

Available to institutional investors and an exclusive group of high-net-worth individuals, Focused Compounding’s investment process is to “find and buy a small number of great businesses,” which the fund defines as those with “high returns on equity and a long history of predictable and growing earnings and cash flow,” the firms said.

Next-Gen Advisor Platform Coming from Principal Financial

On tap for 2020 from Principal Financial Group is a rollout of RobustWealth’s next-generation advisor platform for RIAs, broker-dealers and banks, according to Mike Kerins, CEO and founder of RobustWealth, which Principal bought in 2018.

The next-gen platform was already in beta as of mid-November with a small number of clients and a “full transition” to the next-gen platform is expected for either late in the first quarter or early in Q2, Kerins said.

“We’re putting a lot of money into it,” he said, without specifying how much, adding that enhancements are being made on the infrastructure and front-end, including advisor capabilities and “how they can interact with clients.”

Later in the year, the company expects to launch a financial planning suite for the platform, offering a “way deeper relationship between the advisor and the client,” and it “will be actionable, too,” Kerins said, adding it will arrive in Q3 or Q4.

RobustWealth’s advisor platform is “essentially the same” as the Principal SimpleInvest robo-advisor digital advice platform which uses the same technology and was first rolled out to a small number of Principal clients in April 2019 before being opened up to more users later in the year, Kerins told ThinkAdvisor.

Check out last week’s portfolio product roundup here: Vanguard Lowers Expense Ratios on 9 ETFs: Portfolio Products


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