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Franklin Templeton launches private equity firm: News Scan

Our weekly roundup of industry highlights

Franklin Templeton launches private equity firm
Franklin Templeton partnered with Asia Alternatives Management to launch Franklin Templeton Private Equity, which seeks to provide investors with private equity fund-of-fund solutions, according to the firm.

"We see tremendous opportunity for growth in the alternatives and private equity space as investors look to add alpha and increase diversification in their portfolios by accessing a wider range of liquid and illiquid asset classes," Jenny Johnson, COO of Franklin Resources, said in a statement.

Franklin Templeton Investments, a long-time active asset manager, is seeking approval for a Saudi Arabia ETF, according to a filing with the SEC.
Headquarters of Franklin Resources Inc., parent company of money management unit Franklin Templeton, are seen in the early morning hours in San Mateo, California on Monday, December 22, 2003. Franklin Resources Inc., the biggest publicly traded U.S. mutual fund company, suspended two employees for short-term trading and said it received subpoenas from federal prosecutors about possible illegal fund transactions. Photographer: Noah Berger/Bloomberg News.

The private equity firm will be led by managing partner Arthur Wang, who is joining from San Francisco Employees' Retirement System, Franklin Templeton says.

Reliance Trust expands relationship with Northern Trust
Reliance Trust has selected Northern Trust to provide global custody as well as fund administrative and accounting services for its collective investment trust funds, according to Northern Trust.

Northern Trust will provide service for 21 funds with approximately $7.7 billion in advised assets.

"Our platform is structured to offer fund managers an end-to-end solution that combines Reliance Trust's expertise and scale as a trustee with Northern Trust's global operations technology, financial strength and decades of experience supporting CITs and other fund structures," Dan Houlihan, head of asset servicing, said in a statement.

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RESEARCH
Passive investing assets surge, mutual funds are stagnant
Clean-share mutual funds will likely benefit from the death of the Department of Labor's conflict of interest rule due to fee transparency and lower costs, according to a study.

While passive mutual funds and ETFs experienced asset increases of 2.2% to just under $7.3 trillion in August, total mutual fund assets only grew 0.9%, Cerulli Associates finds.

About 55% of fund managers now place a high priority on modifying their fees, compared to the 41% that set this as a priority last year, the study says.

"Despite the general desire for modification, significant roadblocks have stood in the way of tangible innovation, with managers instead opting to continue reducing expense ratios rather than develop entirely new solutions," according to Cerulli.

PRODUCTS
Northern Trust launches integrated trading solution
Northern Trust has launched Integrated Trading Solutions, an outsourced trading capability that seeks to improve the trading and performance outcomes for asset owners and asset managers by reducing cost and risk, the firm says.

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"Through our newly-launched end-to-end integrated trading capability, we are positioned to deliver an immediate solution to help our clients address these challenges." Guy Gibson, head of institutional brokerage for EMEA & APAC at Northern Trust, said in a statement.

Litman Gregory Fund Advisors adds high income alt fund
Litman Gregory Fund Advisors announced the launch of a high income alternatives fund.
The fund, known as Litman Gregory Masters High Income Alternatives Fund, will be available on most trading platforms in investor (MAHNX) and institutional (MAHIX) share classes.

The fund has investment minimums of $1,000 and $100,000, respectively.

The fund seeks to preserve capital over time by generating current income and capital using diverse and flexible strategies.

BlackRock announces inclusion and diversity fund with Thomson Reuters
BlackRock, in collaboration with Thomson Reuters, has launched an ETF that aims to provide a way to invest in companies promoting diversity and inclusion practices, BlackRock says.

The ETF (OPEN), which has an expense ratio of 0.25%, seeks to track a Thomson Reuters index that ranks more than 2,000 global publicly-traded companies based on 24 metrics related to diversity, news and controversies, inclusion and people development.

Delta Data launches proprietary product manager
Delta Data announced a new tool for trust companies, Proprietary Product Manager, which supports the construction, trade execution and administration of proprietary funds for trust companies, record keepers, insurance companies and broker dealers.

The aim of the new tool is to create and manage proprietary products, including collective investment trusts, target-date funds, fund-of-funds, wrapped funds and variable annuities.

The technology attempts to track various versions of products as well as allow users to initiate changes at the lead security level.

Vanguard Charitable unveils 3 ESG options
Vanguard Charitable has released three ESG investment options, using ETFs opened earlier this year, according to the firm.

Donors will be able to invest charitable assets into ESG U.S. Stock (ESGV), ESG International Stock (VSGX) and ESG Global Stock, which is a proprietary 70/30 blend of the U.S. and international ETFs. ESGV has an expense ratio of 0.12% and VSGX has an expense ratio of 0.15%.

Fees were nearly half the price of the top-performing active funds.
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"Our donors are increasingly interested in aligning their charitable investment strategy with their personal values," Jane Greenfield, president of Vanguard Charitable, said in a statement.

State Street launches new ETF, lowers fees on four others
State Street Global Advisors is reducing the expense ratio for four of its SPDR ETFs and launching a new ETF.

The SPDR Solactive Hong Kong ETF (ZHOK) seeks to track a market cap index that is designed to measure equity market-performance of large and mid-cap companies in Hong Kong. The product has an expense ratio of 0.14%.

Four single-country ETFs began to track market-capitalization weighted indices, rather than the StrategicFactors smart beta indices they previously followed.

ARRIVALS
Goldman Sachs names investment-banking co-chief
Goldman Sachs has promoted Dan Dees, who currently leads the firm's tech, media and telecom group, along with New York-based Pete Lyon, to head its investment banking franchise, according to Bloomberg News.

Dees is replacing John Waldron, who was selected to become the firm's president and COO.
The new co-chief will head the bank's most profitable unit along with Gregg Lemkau and Marc Nachmann.

The new co-chief joined the firm in 1992 and was named partner in 2004, Bloomberg News reports.

What ETF Providers Can Learn from Robos

AlphaPoint elects Dan Draper to board of directors
AlphaPoint, a blockchain technology company, elected Invesco's global head of ETFs, Dan Draper, to its board of directors, the firm said.

"I look forward to joining AlphaPoint's board and bringing my decades of experience in ETFs, financial products, and global business development to help expand its business," Draper said in a statement.

Since 2013, Draper has been in charge of Invesco's ETF business growth, driving the issuer to over $220 billion in assets under management, the firm said.

Draper has also served in positions at Credit Suisse, Barclays, UBS, Goldman Sachs and Salomon Brothers.

"Dan has been behind the growth and success of many well-known financial products, including Invesco QQQ, which tracks the Nasdaq 100 Index," said Salil Donde, AlphaPoint CEO.

Unigestion hires 2 new managers
Unigestion appointed former Bridgewater Associates investment associate Salman Baig and EQ Investors analyst Joshua Seager as investment managers to its cross-asset solutions team, the firm said.

Earlier this year, Baig focused on fundamental macroeconomic research, portfolio construction and risk management at Bridgewater Associates.

Seager previously focused on asset allocation and quantitative analysis while at EQ Investors.

"The appointments of Salman and Joshua further strengthen the team's expertise and skill set, thanks to their breadth of experience in macro investing, quantitative research and risk management," Jerome Teiletche, head of cross asset solutions, said in a statement.

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