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BlackRock closes 16 iShares ETFs: Fund Scan

Our roundup of industry highlights

BlackRock closes 16 iShares ETFs
BlackRock closed and liquidated 16 currency-hedged, minimum-volatility and multifactor ETFs, according to the firm.

The shuttered funds include iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Global Currency Hedged ETF (HACV) and iShares Edge MSCI Multifactor Materials ETF (MATF), among others, the firm said.

The decision to close the ETFs is part of an ongoing review to ensure products are meeting client needs, according to the firm.

BlackRock's iShares​ unit added three ETFs to its lineup of investment-grade corporate bond funds.
A monitor displays BlackRock Inc. signage on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. U.S. stocks fell as markets reopened after Monday's holiday as financial and health-care shares declined and the U.S. dollar headed for the biggest single-day loss since July. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

BlackRock stopped taking creation orders as of Aug. 15 and trading was suspended prior to market open on Aug. 16. Proceeds from the liquidations were scheduled to be sent to shareholders on Aug. 22, the firm said.

Vanguard launches commission-free ETFs

Vanguard has officially launched its line of commission-free ETFs the firm announced in July. Approximately 90% (nearly 1,800) of its ETFs that trade on major exchanges will be offered online with no commission, excluding inversed and leveraged ETFs, which the firm considers to be too speculative.

"Our goal is to provide additional access and flexibility to our clients, not spur counter-productive, frequent trading activity," said Karin Risi, managing director of Vanguard's retail investor group.

Vanguard expects the commission-free ETFs to result in lower costs for initial ETF investments and strategies such as dollar-cost averaging, rebalancing and harvesting losses for tax purposes.

JPMorgan enters the low-fee trading battle
JPMorgan Chase announced plans for a mobile brokerage platform that includes free research and some free trading to retail clients, according to Bloomberg News.

With the new offering, JP Morgan says it aims to appeal to millennials as well as encourage existing clients to initiate more trading on their own.

The firm first told investors it was working on a way to offer free robo-investing to retail customers back in 2016.

“We were hearing from clients that they wanted to invest with us as they digitally banked with us,” Kelli Keough, JP Morgan’s global head of digital wealth management, told Bloomberg News. “It really came from clients and was a concerted focus across the organization to make this happen.”

Alts made available to more clients at AllianceBernstein
AllianceBernstein announced it has reached an agreement to provide iCapital Network's alternative investment platform to high-net-worth investors, RIAs and multi-family offices.

The partnership will simplify access and streamline the subscription process and performance reporting, improving the advisor and investor experience, the firm said.

"With today's lower expected return environment, potential for rising interest rates, inflationary pressures and increasing volatility, it is critical for investors to maintain a well-designed allocation to alternatives that can help their portfolios weather uncertain markets," said Matthew Bass, head of global product strategy and alternatives business development at AllianceBernstein.

Vanguard proposes global credit bond fund
Vanguard filed preliminary registration for a global credit bond fund, which the firm expects to launch in November.

The fund will be actively managed and aim to invest in corporate and non-corporate obligations, excluding government-guaranteed issues, the firm said. The fund, a portion of which will be hedged to the U.S. dollar, will offer investors two share classes: Investor Shares (VFINX), with an expense ratio of 0.35%, and Admiral Shares (VFIAX), with an expense ratio of 0.25%, Vanguard said.

These investments offered better returns than the broader fixed-income world in recent years, but the risk/reward equation leans heavier on risk.
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“Our clients are increasingly looking to reduce their home bias and harness the return potential and diversification benefits offered by the international equity and fixed income markets,” said John Hollyer, global head of Vanguard’s fixed income group, adding that the fund’s “wide range of security selection opportunities and regional and sector exposures, combined with the flexibility of active management, will make it an attractive core or satellite portfolio holding.”

Assetmark launches 12 new portfolios
AssetMark announced 12 new portfolios coming to its platform, which the firm expects will drive higher returns.

"Dimensional Fund Advisors' robust investment process addresses a growing advisor need for low-cost, tax-efficient strategies," said David McNatt, senior vice president of product management and development at AssetMark.

The portfolios, known as AssetMark MarketDimensions, are aligned with six risk profiles to target investors in different life stages, says the firm.

Global X introduces new ETF family
Global X is releasing two new ETFs aimed at helping investors achieve a specific income level: the Global X TargetIncome 5 ETF (TFIV) and the Global X TargetIncome Plus 2 ETF (TFLT). They have expense ratios of 0.77% and 0.78%, respectively, according to Morningstar.

The funds were developed by Wilshire Associates. "We've structured indexes that aim to target specific yield objectives while mitigating risks," Jason Schwarz, president of Wilshire Analytics and Wilshire Funds Management, said in a statement.

TFIV will seek a 5% yield, net of fees, and TFLT will seek the current 10-year US Treasury note plus 2%, according to the firm, which expects the funds to pay distributions monthly.

Innovator launches ETF with structured outcomes
Innovator Capital Management listed the Innovator S&P 500 Defined Outcome ETF, which offers protection levels of 9%, 15% or 30% over a near one-year period, the firm said.

"No other ETFs in the market today seek to offer investors defined exposures to the S&P 500, where the downside protection level, upside growth potential and outcome period can all be known, prior to investing," said Innovator CEO Bruce Bond.

The ETF will invest all of its assets in flexible exchange options on the S&P 500 that are customizable and guaranteed for settlement, the firm said.

Bitwise to welcome public cryptocurrency ETF
Bitwise Asset Management has filed registration with the SEC for Bitwise Hold 10 Cryptocurrency Index Fund, a publicly-offered cryptocurrency ETF that will join its privately offered fund, the firm said.

The new fund, which has a $25,000 investment minimum and 2.5% expense ratio, will track returns of a Bitwise market-cap-weighted index of 10 cryptocurrencies, Bitwise said. The index uses a five-year-diluted market cap to address challenges within the cryptocurrency space, which includes changing supply, liquidity and custody limitations, the firm said.

New FANG notes allow investors to make tech predictions
REX Shares listed three derivatives based ETNs that enable investors to go long or short the NYSE FANG+ Index, which includes Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google's parent Alphabet, according to Bloomberg News.

The funds will join other notes that already track the index, according to Bloomberg News. They will charge $9.50 for every $1,000 invested.

"Late-stage pre-IPO technology companies have become their own asset class, growing from $100 billion to $490 billion over the past three years," said Swarm CEO Philipp Pieper.

Blockchain comes to private equity at Andra Capital
Andra Capital is partnering with private equity blockchain provider Swarm to offer Silicon Valley Coin on its platform, the firm said.

The partnership, according to the firm, aims to add individual private companies available to its platform, such as Airbnb and Lyft.

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