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Vanguard Lowers More Expense Ratios: Portfolio Products

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Vanguard lowered net expense ratios on more of its funds: this time, four exchange-traded funds and three mutual fund share classes of the Vanguard Extended Market Fund.

The affected ETFs include the $8.3 billion Vanguard Extended Market ETF, where the net expense ratio declined to 0.06% from 0.07%. They also include the $21.9 billion Vanguard Short-Term Bond ETF, $12.6 billion Vanguard Intermediate-Term Bond ETF and $4.8 billion Vanguard Long-Term Bond ETF, with the expense net ratio on each of the three declining to 0.05% from 0.07%.

Vanguard also reported lower expense ratios on three mutual fund share classes of the Vanguard Extended Market Index Fund, with the net expense ratio dipping to 0.06% from 0.07% on Admiral shares, to 0.05% from 0.06% on Institutional shares, and to 0.04% from 0.05% on Institutional Plus shares.

In aggregate, the changes “represent $12.9 million in savings returned to investors, bringing the total 2019 fiscal year client savings” to $85.1 million, Vanguard said.

“Driven in part by record fixed income ETF cash flow,” Vanguard reported lower expense ratios on 16 of its 18 U.S. bond ETFs during the 2019 fiscal year. Its fixed income ETFs saw $37.1 billion in cash flow, up 103% increase from $18.3 billion in 2018.  Vanguard expects greater fixed income ETF adoption to continue, it said.

Hartford Core Bond ETF Launches

Hartford Funds introduced the Hartford Core Bond ETF (HCRB), with a 0.29% net expense ratio.

The new ETF is sub-advised by Wellington Management, which is looking to provide long-term total return by investing mainly in investment-grade fixed income securities.  It was “designed to provide investors with high quality fixed income exposure from diversified sources of return across multiple perspectives, investment styles, and time horizons,” including U.S. government, credit and securitized instruments, Hartford Funds said.

The actively managed ETF structure enables HCRB to provide shareholders with the “benefits of transparency, intraday trading, and the potential for increased tax-efficiency via the ETF creation and redemption process,” the firm said. HCRB expands Hartford’s product suite to five actively managed fixed income ETFs.

Planning Solutions Strategy Announced By eMoney Advisor

A strategy to provide planning solutions for every stage of a client’s lifecycle was announced by eMoney Advisor.

The company’s enhanced planning vision for products and features “enables advisors and firms to meet the increasing demand for advice at all levels — from a single planning topic to the most sophisticated of plans — through a scalable, interactive and comprehensive solution,” it said.

One component of the strategy is a new financial mobile app for self-directed planning. The app is in development now and expected to launch later this year, eMoney Advisor said. For now, it has no official name, but is being referred to a “Project Avocado.” Advisors will be able to use it to “scale their business to reach hundreds or thousands of clients and prospects,” the firm said.

The company, meanwhile, continues to make enhancements to its platform and new features under development include: interactive and dynamic reports, a unified presentation builder, streamlined workflow for a more “seamless user experience,” automated intelligence, client site planning and value tracking, it said.

SoFi Teams With Edmit on College Financial Planning

Digital personal finance company SoFi joined forces with college planning software maker Edmit to give college-bound students and their families tools and resources needed to make the college selection and financial ad process easier, personalized and transparent, the companies said.

Registered SoFi members now have free access to Edmit Plus, which considers a student’s particular academic merits and family finances to “provide data-driven recommendations on college affordability and return on investment,” the companies said.

Members can enter their academic profile and receive unlimited college-comparison reports that include personalized cost of attendance (including potential merit scholarships), projected monthly loan repayment amounts and prospective post-graduation earnings based on major and profile, the companies said. That information and other factors are also captured to provide an overall “financial grade” that helps members easily compare schools to each other, they said.

In addition to Edmit Plus, SoFi members also get benefits that include access to financial planners, complimentary career services and networking events, the companies said.

AdvisorPeak and LifeYield are Building a Rebalancing Platform

Trading and rebalancing software company AdvisorPeak and portfolio software company LifeYield are collaborating to build a “tax-smart” rebalancing platform focused on the wealth management industry, the firms said.

Via a new integration with AdvisorPeak, LifeYield is “quantifying one of the most elusive sources of value – tax efficiency,” the companies noted. The integration will “simplify the asset location process for AdvisorPeak’s users, while also providing exact recommendations that improve client portfolio outcomes,” they said.

The integration will, in the process, “increase efficiencies for RIAs by allowing for coordination of accounts and households across both platforms,” the companies said.

Skience 12.0 Helps Advisors Open Multiple Financial Accounts

The latest version of Skience’s wealth management platform includes functionality that enables advisors to open multiple new financial accounts for households simultaneously.

Skience 12.0 also features a bi-directional integration with Envestnet that provides what the companies said is an “efficient, multi-point advisor experience” when opening new accounts.

First Ascent’s Navigator Investor Education Resource Center Goes Live

First Ascent Asset Management launched a Navigator Investor Education Resource Center at its webside under the knowledge center tab.

The resource center was developed to help advisors educate their clients to behave as successful investors, the Denver, Colorado-based firm said. It offers material “on the fundamentals of investing” which can “help clients establish reasonable expectations for what they will experience as long-term investors,” the company said.

— Check out last week’s portfolio product roundup here: T-Rowe Price Introduces New Target Date Retirement Options: Portfolio Products