AP photo of JPMorgan Building in New York A JPMorgan Chase sign on a building in New York. (Photo: AP)

JPMorgan Asset Management has introduced two actively-managed transparent equity exchange-traded funds: the JPMorgan Equity Premium Income ETF (JEPI, with a net expense ratio of 0.35%) and JPMorgan International Growth ETF (JIG, 0.55%).

Both new ETFs are trading on the NYSE Arca.

JEPI “targets a significant portion of S&P 500 returns with less volatility, seeking annualized income distributed monthly,” the firm said.

The fund “leverages an experienced equity management team comprising more than 50 years of combined experience” and led by 32-year industry veteran Hamilton Reiner as lead portfolio manager, based in New York, it said.

JIG, meanwhile, “seeks high quality growth opportunities for U.S. investors looking for broad, diversified access and exposure to the international equity market through an ETF,” the company said.

The fund is managed by an experienced J.P. Morgan team, with 21-year veteran Shane Duffy serving as lead portfolio manager, based in London.

State Street Shutting Two ETFs

State Street Global Advisors plans to close and liquidate the SPDR S&P Technology Hardware ETF (XTH) and SPDR S&P 500 Buyback ETF (SPYB), which trade on the NYSE Arca with a 0.35% net expense ratio.

State Street’s asset management division made the decision “based on an ongoing review of the SPDR ETF offering,” it said, but didn’t specify the exact reason in the announcement.

However, a company spokeswoman on Friday told ThinkAdvisor: “The decision to close the funds was made based on clients’ feedback and limited market demand after we did a review of the SPDR ETF offering.” She added: “We’re always reevaluating the  offerings.”

The final day for creations in each fund will be May 29. Trading of all shares will be suspended on the NYSE Arca at the open of market on June 1, and proceeds of the liquidation are scheduled to be sent to shareholders on or about June 8, State Street said.

Schwab Portfolio Connect Update

The Schwab Advisor Portfolio Connect management tool surpassed 1,000 independent advisor firm users, Schwab said Thursday, noting it plans to roll out more flexible user permissions later this year, allowing firms to grant user-level access to select client accounts while restricting others.

The free tool was launched in April 2019 and was seeing “great adoption,” Bernie Clark, executive vice president of Schwab Advisor Services, told ThinkAdvisor early this year, noting it was approaching the 1,000 user market at the time.

Adoption to date has been by small to midsize firms (with an average firm asset, or AUM, level of $40 million) looking for an intuitive approach to portfolio management that includes performance, billing and reporting, for free, the firm said.

Schwab also continues to enhance Portfolio Connect to increase its appeal to larger firms, it said.

The company recently introduced several new and enhanced features to Portfolio Connect, including:

  1. Batch onboarding that lets advisors set up payment and reporting schedules for multiple client groups or households in a single step, automating an otherwise laborious process, freeing up time and reducing errors.
  2. Data export that allows advisors to download data from the portfolio management system to perform custom calculations and simplifies integration with third-party applications.
  3. Management View that provides advisors with an aggregate view of the firm’s assets under management, including projected revenue, performance and transactions, Schwab said.

ESG Metrics Made Public by MSCI

MSCI announced the public availability of its ESG Fund Rating, provided by MSCI ESG Research. MSCI Limited, meanwhile, made public ESG metrics for all of its indexes covered by the European Union Benchmark Regulation.

The MSCI ESG Fund Ratings are part of a wider environmental, social and governance transparency initiative by the firm to provide consistent and comparable ESG metrics at the company, fund and index level.

The ratings are available for 36,000 multi-asset class mutual funds and ETFs, the firm said.

The ESG ratings and metrics are available as part of two new search tools now available to anyone on the MSCI website.

Funds Added to Oranj Platform

Pacific Funds joined the growing list of asset managers that have made their mutual funds available on the Oranj model marketplace platform.

Pacific Funds is a family of mutual funds designed for income generation, growth and diversification to help shareholders meet their long-term financial goals, Oranj said.

Pacific Funds portfolio managers “possess specialized capabilities” spanning a wide variety of asset classes and strategies that include fixed income (sub-advised by Pacific Asset Management), U.S. equity (sub-advised by Rothschild & Co. Asset Management) and multi-asset (managed by Pacific Life Fund Advisors).

“In today’s volatile markets, we believe our active, disciplined process that focuses on fundamentals in selecting individual securities can be especially important in the search for yield,” according to Douglas Jackson, vice president of Pacific Global Asset Management, which oversees product development and distribution of Pacific Funds.

LeafHouse Teams With Empower 

LeafHouse Financial launched the RetireGuide managed account service on the Empower Retirement platform for advisors to use with their clients.

RetireGuide was designed to help retirement plan participants optimize their retirement investing strategies while reducing costs and managing risks as they save for the future, according to LeafHouse, a discretionary investment manager and consultant for retirement plans.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, participants and plan sponsors are trying to reduce expenses and improve service and RetireGuide is a solution to help achieve that, the firm said.

LeafHouse created RetireGuide “to offer a low-cost and comprehensive savings solution that is designed to serve the best interest of plan participants,” according to the announcement.

The managed account program “combines the strength of LeafHouse’s portfolio construction and manager selection expertise with Empower’s advisory services technology platform and client experience,” the companies said.

LeafHouse currently works as a third-party investment fiduciary with more than 400 advisors and 1,000 plan sponsors on the Empower platform.

RetireGuide provides retirement advisory firms with a “seamless path to offer managed account services directly to their Empower Retirement clients,” the firms said.

RetireGuide was designed in collaboration with the Advisor Managed Account service that Empower launched in 2019. The service is offered through Advised Assets Group, a registered investment advisor that also provides Empower Retirement Advisory Services.

Stifel Strikes Deal With Nasdaq

Stifel Financial will leverage Nasdaq technology for a new Alternative Trading System that was developed and is powered by Nasdaq’s Market Technology, Stifel and Nasdaq said in a joint announcement.

The Stifel Crossing Platform (STFX) is targeted to go live in June and will provide unique liquidity to the firm’s 3,500 institutional clients.

The system will enhance Stifel’s trading capabilities by leveraging the firm’s substantial retail order flow. STFX also offers flexibility and seamless integration of new technologies, while also meeting all regulatory requirements, Stifel and Nasdaq said.

— Check out last week’s portfolio product roundup here: J.P. Morgan to Liquidate Six ETFs: Portfolio Products