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Fidelity makes target-date fund price reductions: News Scan

Our monthly roundup of industry highlights

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.

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Pedestrians pass a Fidelity Investments office in Boston, Massachusetts Tuesday, May 8, 2007. Until recently, LBO dealmakers led by Henry Kravis, David Bonderman and Leon Black paid scant attention to the interests of shareholders as they gorged on a record $864 billion of publicly traded companies in the past three years. Even Boston- based Fidelity, the largest U.S. mutual-fund company, with $1.4 trillion of assets, and Baltimore's T. Rowe Price Group Inc., which manages $350 billion for clients, were told to take it or leave it when presented with takeover offers. Now, the balance of power is beginning to shift as investors, tired of watching LBO firms make as much as eight times their money buying and selling public companies, are demanding more. Photographer: JB Reed/ Bloomberg News

"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."

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.

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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."

NICSA adds committees on alts, SMAs
In an effort to expand its focus on product development and distribution, industry trade association NICSA announced the launch of new committees focused on alternatives and separately managed accounts.

The group's alternatives committee will focus on industry standardization and best practices between product providers, distributors and service firms, and will advocate for streamlining policies associated with service and distribution, according to NICSA.

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The new committee will be chaired by John Corbisero, executive director and head of traditional and alternative investment operations at Morgan Stanley, and Peter Tenggren, director of strategic product management and asset serving capabilities at BNY Mellon. The SMA working group will operate under the association's existing product and distribution committee, which is composed of senior executives from 20 investment firms. Scott Brady, who leads U.S. product development and strategy at Columbia Threadneedle, chairs the NICSA product and distribution committee.

PRODUCTS
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 launches 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 unveils mutual fund family
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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Paul Nobile, Chief Marketing Officer, Artivest

ARRIVALS
Artivest appoints chief marketing officer
Artivest has appointed the former chief marketing and communications officer at Willis Towers Watson, Paul Nobile, to its newly created chief marketing officer position, according to the firm.

Based in New York, Nobile will oversee the firm's marketing and communications strategy, and execution processes, the firm said. He will report to James Waldinger, founder and CEO of Artivest.

Prior to Willis Towers Watson, Nobile was chief marketing officer and managing director at BNY Mellon, senior vice president at Eaton Vance, and managing director and head of global brand marketing at Barclays Global Investors, now BlackRock, where he helped launch and build its iShares brand, Artivest said.

Calamos hires chief investment officer
Calamos Wealth Management hired J. Reed Murphy, the former president and chief investment officer at TC Wealth Partners, as CIO, according to the firm.

Murphy will oversee all aspects of Calamos' investment platform, including strategy and implementation of new products, as well as communication with clients and business partners, the firm said.

"We feel fortunate to have acquired [Murphy] who, I feel, is one of the most experienced investment professionals serving wealth management clients in the country," said Jim Baka, president of Calamos Wealth Management, adding that his "talents for communicating complex issues, along with his natural leadership style, are welcomed contributions as we enter into the next phase of our firm's growth."

Michael Kassab, who previously held the position of CIO, is now moving to Calamos Investments as its chief market strategist.

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