retirement womanWells Fargo Asset Management (WFAM) launched the Wells Fargo Retirement Income Solution­, calling it a “step forward in planning for income in retirement.”

As life expectancy increases, funding retirement has become significantly more challenging because many workers and retirees don’t know how long their retirement savings will have to last, the firm said.

The Wells Fargo Retirement Income Solution was “designed to provide participants with an option to seamlessly transition from investing for retirement to drawing income in retirement,” the company said. It offers an option to pair a target date series with a deferred annuity, with the goal of providing income for life, the company said, noting the solution is available to plan sponsors and record-keeping platforms.

The solution features four key differentiators, according to the company: (1) a design based on patent-pending research; (2) an insurance carrier selection service, through which Wells Capital Management leverages the SECURE Act safe harbor to provide 3(38) fiduciary services; (3) collaboration with record-keeping experts to proactively improve simplicity and portability; and (4) a low-cost structure designed for the institutional defined contribution market.

BlackRock’s iShares Expands Suite of Factor Style ETFs

BlackRock’s iShares rounded out its suite of factor style exchange-traded funds with three new ETFs.

The new ETFs are the: iShares Factors U.S. Blend Style ETF (STLC, with a net expense ratio of 0.25%); iShares Factors U.S. Mid Blend Style ETF (STMB, 0.30%); and iShares Factors U.S. Small Blend Style ETFs (STSB, 0.35%).

They join two ETFs that were announced in January, each with a 0.25% net expense ratio: the iShares Factors U.S. Value Style ETF (STLV) and iShares Factors U.S. Growth Style ETF (STLG).

The new ETFs complete the iShares suite of funds that BlackRock said were “designed to provide Style Box investors with a risk-controlled, multifactor solution.” All the funds “seek to track custom rules-based indexes developed by FTSE Russell and are designed to provide exposure to five factors – momentum, value, quality, size and minimum volatility – while maintaining a risk and style profile similar to the ‘parent’ index, or starting universe,” BlackRock said.

The indexes were developed using the investment concepts and strategies conveyed by BlackRock’s Factor-Based Strategies Group, led by Dr. Andrew Ang.

Nottingham Files Short Form Exemptive Applications for ETFs

The Nottingham Company filed short form exemptive applications required by the Securities and Exchange Commission to offer non-transparent ETFs to new and existing clients, the fund services administrator and white label issuer to the mutual fund and ETF industry said.

Nottingham and affiliate investment advisor OBP Capital filed short form exemptive relief applications with the SEC for Blue Tractor’s Shielded Alpha ETF Structure and the New York Stock Exchange’s Actively Managed Solution Non-Transparent ETF Structure.

(Related: Another Nontransparent ETF Structure Readies for Launch)

In January, Nottingham signed a licensing deal with New York-based Blue Tractor Group’s Shielded Alpha ETF structure. As part of the deal, sub-advisors managing active portfolio strategies can issue their own branded Shielded Alpha ETFs via Nottingham’s white-label ETF investment advisor affiliate, OBP Capital. Nottingham has also signed a similar licensing deal with NYSE and its new AMS ETF structure.

“We believe these new products will open the ETF landscape to active portfolio managers, at a time when analysis of which companies are best positioned for our new economic environment is so important,” Kip Meadows, founder and CEO of Nottingham, said in a statement. “The old index paradigms may have changed quite a bit.” 

FiComm Launches Advisor Education Tools

FiComm Partners introduced a service to provide financial advisors with the tools they need to “implement proactive marketing and video communications designed to nurture and enhance client and prospect relationships,” it said.

Advisor Education was developed “in response to the wealth management industry’s demand for more nimble marketing and virtual offerings,” the wealth management and financial services communications firm said. The new offering provides various communications frameworks helping enterprise firms and individual advisors practice in a “video-based, forum-like environment,” it said.

It Includes:

  1. Educational services to “leverage video communications for both enterprise firms and individual advisors, including online training courses, interactive group workshops, white-labeled enterprise offerings, speaking engagements, and coaching.”
  2. Virtual workshops “structured as immersive sprints with weekly lessons and assignments, one-on-one and group coaching, and peer-to-peer feedback and collaboration.”
  3. Ongoing consultation and coaching to advisory firms and individual advisors implementing video-first communication strategies, including for speaking engagements, podcasting and video series
  4. Customized enterprise-level virtual workshops for service providers looking for direction and recommendations to add value to existing and prospective advisor relationships.

Advisor Education was “built for businesses looking to leverage technology to connect with clients in a meaningful and impactful way, and can also help overcome communication challenges brought on by social-distancing mandates from the COVID-19,” FiComm said.

The first workshop, “Zero to Launch DIY Video,” will be held May 11. It is tailored for advisors looking to take a “do-it-yourself approach” to staying virtually connected, the company said.

 — Check out last week’s portfolio product roundup here: WisdomTree to Close and Liquidate 10 ETFs