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BlackRock dives deeper into thematic ETFs: Fund Scan

Our roundup of new fund launches.

BlackRock dives deeper into thematic ETFs
BlackRock is developing a line of ETFs based on what it has determined as “megatrands,” or strategies that look beyond sectors and geographical focuses for returns, according to Bloomberg News.

The firm says it will focus the new funds on five themes: technological breakthrough, demographics and social change, rapid urbanization, climate change and resource scarcity, and emerging global wealth.

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

Two of the funds launched last week: the iShares Cybersecurity and Tech ETF (IHAK) and the iShares Genomics Immunology and Healthcare ETF (IDNA). Both will charge $4.70.

LPL reduces ETF pricing on RIA platforms
LPL Financial clients will pay 45% less on ETF transaction charges from various providers, according to the firm.

Transaction charges associated with ETFs offered on LPL's strategic asset management and strategic wealth management platforms, designed specifically for advisors on the firm's corporate, hybrid or RIA-only platforms, will drop to $4.95 from $9 for State Street, Invesco and WisdomTree, according to the firm.

"The firm remains committed to leveraging our scale to invest in advisors' businesses with price reductions and new capabilities," said Rob Pettman, LPL Financial's executive vice president of products and platforms. "ETFs are another step in the journey to expand our breadth of solutions and help advisors remain competitive in the marketplace."

Fidelity makes target-date price reductions
Fidelity Investments has made a 14% price reduction on entry-level share classes for its Fidelity Freedom Index Funds and Fidelity Institutional Asset Management Index Target Date Commingled Pools, according to the firm.

Following the change, 21 of the 22 Fidelity index funds will carry net expense ratios lower than similar Vanguard products, saving shareholders an estimated $3.2 million annually, the firm said.

"At Fidelity, we have a long history of providing investors with a wide array of high-quality products at a great value to help them meet their investment goals," said Eric Kaplan, Fidelity's head of target-date products. "These target-date index fund expense reductions build on that legacy, providing our tens of millions of customers - individual investors, workplace retirement plan sponsors and participants, and financial advisors — an even more compelling value proposition."

New Frontier launches 6 global multi-asset ETF indices
New Frontier has launched six indices to reflect the systematic equity risk levels along the Michaud Efficient Frontier, according to the firm. Each is composed of 20 to 30 diversified, low-cost ETFs that include stock/bond ratios of 20/80, 40/60, 60/40, 75/25, 90/10 and 100/0, the firm said. The indices are made up of equity, commodity and fixed-income ETFs from iShares, SPDR and Vanguard, according to the firm.

Quadratic ETF to hedge against an inflation increase
Quadratic Capital Management launched a new ETF aiming at profiting from an increase in interest rate volatility and steepening yield curve, according to the firm.

The Quadratic Interest Rate Volatility and Inflation Hedge ETF (IVOL), which has an expense ratio of 0.99%, seeks to hedge against an inflation increase and profit from an increase in interest rate volatility, according to the firm. Nancy Davis, managing partner and chief investment officer of Quadratic, will manage the fund.

Calamos announces small-cap growth fund
Following its acquisition of Timpani Capital Management, a boutique small- and mid-cap investment manager, Calamos Investments says it has completed revisions to its small-cap growth strategy.

The newly named Calamos Timpani Small Cap Growth Fund, which has a minimum investment requirement of $100,000, will maintain its investment team and eight-year track record alongside the Calamos Timpani Small Cap Growth Strategy, a separately managed account with an 11-year track record.

Hartford unveils its first multifactor mutual funds
Hartford Funds announced the launch of its first two multifactor mutual funds: the Hartford Multifactor International Fund (HMIVX) and the Hartford Multifactor Large Cap Value Fund (HMLVX).

HMIVX, which tracks the Hartford Risk-Optimized Multifactor Developed Markets (ex-U.S.) Index (LRODMX), aims to provide exposure to developed markets in Europe, Canada and the Pacific Region.

HMLVX tracks the Hartford Multifactor Large Cap Value Index (HMLCVX), which seeks to outperform traditional cap-weighted, value-oriented U.S. equity market indices and active U.S. equity market strategies, while reducing volatility over a complete market cycle, the firm said.

Symmetry Partners completes mutual fund family rollout
Symmetry Partners has completed the launch of its Panoramic Mutual Funds, a suite of eight open-end funds, according to the firm.

The suite, built and advised by Symmetry, includes U.S. equity, international, global, tax-managed, fixed income, muni and alternatives. They will be managed by institutional managers including Dimensional Fund Advisors, AQR Capital, Vanguard, JP Morgan Asset Management and BlackRock.

"The Panoramic Funds are backed by Symmetry's 25 years of experience and commitment to helping investors achieve their most important goals," said Patrick Sweeny, principal and co-founder of Symmetry Partners. "We do this by drawing on extensive academic research — and Symmetry's own — to engineer what we believe to be exceptional investment solutions."

Vanguard launches its first active global ESG stock fund
Vanguard announced the launch of the Vanguard Global ESG Select Stock Fund, the first actively managed offering in the firm's lineup of ESG funds.

The open-end fund is available in two share classes, Admiral Shares (VESGX) and Investor Shares (VEIGX), with estimated expense ratios at 0.45% and 0.55%, respectively.

"Vanguard's new Global ESG Select Stock Fund is taking a distinctive approach to ESG investing, seeking long-term outperformance through the selection of companies that integrate leading ESG practices into their corporate strategies," said Matthew Brancato, head of Vanguard's portfolio review department.

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