BNY Mellon building in New York. (Photo: AP)

BNY Mellon expanded its exchange-traded product relationship with United States Commodity Funds and completed the asset conversion onto BNY Mellon’s ETF Servicing platform.

BNY Mellon serves as the funds’ custodian, accountant, administrator and transfer agent, the firms said.

USCF specializes in commodity and alternative exchange-traded products, including the United States Oil Fund, LP, which trades on the NYSE Arca (USO, with a 0.79% net expense ratio), introduced in 2006.

“BNY Mellon is focused on delivering digital exchange-traded product solutions aimed at driving efficiencies across the ecosystem and working closely with our partners to develop long-term solutions for the industry,” according to Jeff McCarthy, global ETF product head at BNY Mellon Asset Servicing.

AlphaCentric Municipal Opportunities Fund Launches

AlphaCentric Funds introduced its first municipal bond fund, one that integrates the expertise of two management teams to provide complimentary active strategies.

The  “integrated dual strategy seeks to reduce market-value erosion when rates rise and generate alpha when rates fall, all while providing federally tax-exempt income,” according to the firm.

The core portfolio relies on broad flexibility to invest in a large variety of federally tax-exempt bonds and other federally tax-free structured products, to “potentially provide a higher than average federally tax-exempt income stream” and  capital appreciation, AlphaCentric said.The fund also uses a time-tested, trend following quant overlay designed to take advantage of changes in interest rates and credit spreads.”

The strategy “provides investors the opportunity to maximize returns and limit exposure during periods of changing interest rates and credit cycles,” said Mark Kamies, AlphaCentric co-founder.

The core portfolio strategy is being sub-advised by R&C Investment Advisors, while the quant overlay strategy is being sub-advised by Mount Lucas Management. The fund trades on the Nasdaq, with three classes of shares: Class I (MUNIX, with a net expense ratio of 1.33%); Class A (MUNAX, 1.58%) and Class C (MUNCX, 2.33%).

Direxion Reduces Leverage in 10 ETFs

Direxion reduced the exposure level in 10 of its leveraged ETFs.

The Direxion Daily Bull and 3X Shares ETFs now seek daily exposure, before fees and expenses, of +200% or -200% of each fund’s respective benchmark index, down from +300% or -300%. Fund names were also changed, to reflect the shift from 3X Shares to 2X Shares.

The change affects country funds and commodity funds. Among the former are the Direxion Daily MSCI Brazil Bull 3X Shares (BRZU, with a net expense ratio of 1.29%) and  Russia Bull 3X Shares (RUSL, 1.23%).

The commodity funds are Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares (NUGT, 1.17%), Gold Miners Index Bear 3X Shares (DUST, 1.07%), Junior Gold Miners Index Bull 3X Shares (JNUG, 1.12%), Junior Gold Miners Index Bear 3X Shares (JDST, 1.10%), Energy Bull 3X Shares (ERX, 1.06%), Energy Bear 3X Shares (ERY, 1.07%), S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bull 3X Shares (GUSH, 1.04%) and S&P Oil & Gas Exp. & Prod. Bear 3X Shares (DRIP, 1.07%).

American Portfolios Enhances Advisor Dashboard

Independent broker-dealer American Portfolios Financial Services introduced a new and improved version of Advisor Dashboard, its proprietary technology tool that was designed mainly for its affiliated investment professionals who conduct fee-based advisory business, it said.

“This new technology advancement will have a meaningful impact on the practices of AP advisors,” predicted Gus Catanzaro, a partner and COO of American Portfolios-affiliated PPS Advisors and a member of the American Portfolios Advisor Council. It was “built by our advisors, for our advisors—all to help them better manage their businesses,” said Catanzaro.

The new Advisor Dashboard gives AP advisors a “dynamic view of their businesses, affording them the increased ability to scale their operations by giving them a hierarchical, at-a-glance overview of the health of their practices,” according to the firm.

The dashboard provides the firm’s affiliated financial advisors with “multiple ways to analyze their business and identify areas of growth, as well as problem areas that need to be addressed to ensure overall success,” the company said, adding: “Everything is automated in a comprehensive, yet concise, manner—giving investment professionals back the time they spend manually reporting this vital information so they can focus on nurturing existing client relationships and forging new ones.”

Envestnet MoneyGuide Rolls Out Tax Planning Feature

Envestnet MoneyGuide added a new Tax Planning feature that it said will enable advisors to have “deeper conversations with clients regarding different strategies and show via interactive graphics and illustrations the potential impact of each across personalized retirement plans.”

Since the SECURE Act became law in late 2019, advisors say clients have more questions than ever about rules related to required minimum distributions for certain retirement accounts and how the new law might impact their own financial plans, according to the company.

Advisors are also finding that there are a few common misconceptions among their clients about paying taxes in retirement because pre-retirees often assume they will automatically pay less to Uncle Sam during their golden years, the company pointed out. However, the opposite is more likely now, it said.

MoneyGuide’s new Tax Planning feature enables advisors to gain more facts about these topics because it quantifies the expected savings and illustrates the potential impact of implementing different strategies in the plan, thereby helping reduce a client’s tax burden during retirement, the company said.

“Our goal was to deliver a solution that helps advisors feel confident in having these conversations and educating their clients so they can make informed decisions,” according to Tony Leal, president of Envestnet MoneyGuide.  ”Advisors can discuss the tradeoffs of taking qualified distributions early in retirement, when tax brackets may be lower, to avoid being pushed into higher tax brackets later and the overall potential tax savings if implemented in the plan,” he said in a statement.

Some examples of what the new feature can provide advisors: show how converting a traditional IRA or Employer Retirement Plan to Roth Assets impacts one’s tax burden and the assets left to heirs and how taking distributions from a traditional IRA or ERP early in retirement rather than waiting until RMDs start impacts retirement savings.

Jackson Integrates LifeYield’s Portfolio Management Tools

Jackson National Life Insurance Company has integrated fintech firm LifeYield’s portfolio management tools into its existing digital toolset.

The strategic alliance allows financial professionals who work with Jackson to use LifeYield’s technology suite to “quantify the potential benefits of incorporating annuity products in client portfolios,” the firms said. LifeYield’s easy-to-use tools will provide those who do business with Jackson “access to sophisticated technology that is designed to potentially improve investor outcomes through tax-efficient multi-account and product management,” they said.

“We worked closely with the Jackson team to create an industry-leading capability that incorporates annuities into LifeYield’s tax-efficient household management tools,” LifeYield CEO Mark Hoffman said in a statement. “With the help of our technology, users of Jackson’s toolset can holistically manage multiple account and product types, while showing the tax efficiency of their strategies in a concrete way.”

— Check out last week’s portfolio product roundup hereJohn Hancock Reduces Fees on Five ETFs: Portfolio Products