Our weekly roundup of industry highlights

JPMorgan Chase to acquire more ETFs
ETF Securities and Global X are on JPMorgan Chase's shopping list to expand its ETF lineup, according to Bloomberg. The bank's asset management unit has approached ETF Securities for its U.S. businesses, Bloomberg reported.

JPMorgan also spoke with Global X, which the firm held a minority stake in at one point, though that firm entered into an agreement this week to be purchased by South Korea's Mirae Asset Management, according to Bloomberg. Chloe Etsekson, a spokeswoman for New York-based JPMorgan, told Bloomberg the firm doesn't comment on market rumors.

Exterior of JMorgan Chase headquarters
Bloomberg News


The firm's asset management unit offers more than 20 smart beta funds, including strategies focused on equities, fixed income and alternatives.

Robo welcomes BNY Mellon as its new asset manager
As its assets under management doubled in the last five months, reaching $2 billion, ROBO Global's ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index ETF (ROBO) is turning to BNY Mellon for custody and transfer agency services, according to the firm.

With $1.9 trillion in assets under management, more fast-growing managers are approaching BNY for assets management services on a larger scale, said Jeff McCarthy, the firm's CEO of exchange traded products. The investment and wealth management firm specializes in helping global ETF issuers design, issue, distribute and manage funds, according to BNY Mellon.

RESEARCH
Active, fixed-income managers increase tenfold, but most are men
Over the past three decades, the number of active equity and fixed-income fund managers has increased tenfold, while 90% of the new managers are men, according to a study.

Nevertheless, a report from Morningstar shows women deliver equally competitive fund performance but and putting more women at the helm could improve a fund's performance. An investor who picks funds based solely on the manager's gender could see better results with all-female fund teams in both equity and fixed-income asset classes, according to the research.

Both equity and fixed-income funds experienced nearly two times higher cumulative ex-category average returns from all-female management teams from 2012 to 2017, based on data compiled by Morningstar. The study also indicates mixed-gender teams deliver a similar level of investment returns.

Vanguards sticks with its long-term investment
Recent stock market volatility does not sway Vanguard's investment plans, as the Vanguard Center for Investor Research shows low trading volume during the volatile days among households.

According to the research, 97% of households did not trade over the six-day period from Feb. 2 through Feb. 9. It also found that trading on volatile days rarely exceeds 1% of households. The study includes a sampling of both individual investors and 401(k) participants.

PRODUCTS
Vanguards debuts U.S. factor funds
Vanguard unveiled its very first actively managed funds in the U.S. The launch, including six ETFs and one mutual fund, is part of the firm's latest effort to expand its low-cost active funds.

Five of the ETFs seek to target risk and return objectives through factor exposures such as minimum volatility, value, momentum, liquidity and quality. Vanguard estimates these funds will have an expense ratio of 0.18%. The sixth ETF and the mutual fund, which are both based on multiple factors, will have expense ratios of 0.13%.

"The newly launched factor funds further broaden our active equity lineup and represent a differentiated approach — disciplined, rules-based, targeted exposure to factors - along with Vanguard's low costs," said Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley. "The funds are aimed primarily at financial advisors and institutional investors, who we believe understand the risks of potential underperformance and can effectively incorporate factor funds into their portfolios."

Deutsche lowers ETF expense ratios
Deutsche Asset Management lowered the expense ratios for three ETFs by 40%; from 0.15% to 0.09%. The firm also slightly decreased one domestic ETF's fee from 0.19% to 0.17%.

Two of the international funds are from Europe. Both the Xtrackers Germany Equity ETF (GRMY) and Xtrackers Eurozone Equity ETF (EURZ) seek investment results before fees and expenses, based on the Large Mid Cap Index.

The third international fund, the Xtrackers Japan JPX-Nikkei 400 Equity ETF (JPN) tracks the benchmark that consists of 400 Japanese companies. The domestic fund is The Xtrackers Russell 1000 Comprehensive Factor ETF (DEUS), which also seeks investment results before fees and expenses.

Slideshow
Top emerging markets funds for past 12 months
Trump’s call for tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, and subsequent worries of a trade war, have recently taken a toll on emerging markets investments.

It aims to provide exposure to domestic equities based on quality, value, momentum, low volatility and size.

Putnam adds 10 funds to its Advantage Retirement series
Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds introduced 10 target-date funds. The new funds will provide retirement plans with actively managed investment strategies at a lower price. The 10-year-old suite currently has $3.8 billion in assets under management.

The new Class X Shares will have a 0.35% management fee and be available to defined-contribution plans that have at least $5 million invested in Putnam Retirement Advantage Funds. This addition will be managed by the firm's Global Asset Allocation team with a focus on multi-asset investment strategies.

Direxion spices up ETFs with added exposure
Direxion Advisors has launched Portfolio+ ETFs, a new suite of ETFs that offer access to extra daily exposure to magnify returns for long-term investors.

The funds provide 25% more daily exposure to broad-based indexes targeted by advisors. Two of the funds already have a three-year track record, as they have already been part of the Direxion ETFs. The leveraged solutions can seek greater upside potential over time. While the funds are designed for investors to monitor their portfolios, their low leverage allows them to be managed within a longer-term portfolio, the firm said.

First Trust eyes AI and Robo sector
As the AI and robotics sector continues to deliver decent returns, First Trust, a leading ETF provider and asset manager, launched the First Trust NASDAQ Artificial Intelligence and Robotics ETF (ROBT).

The fund, which has an expense ratio of 0.65%, will track the Nasdaq CTA Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Index, an index developed by NASDAQ and Consumer Technology Association to track the performance of companies engaged in AI, robotics and automation.

Metaurus launches 2 ETFs
Metaurus Advisors launched a new passive and index-based ETF in an effort to allow investors to seek cash flow through dividends and stock price appreciation, respectively.

The US Equity Cumulative Dividends Fund — Series 2027 (IDIV), which has an expense ratio of 0.58%, enables income-oriented investors to participate in the dividends of companies in the S&P 500 without exposure to their price movements. The US Equity Ex-Dividend Fund — Series 2027 (XDIV), which has an expense ratio of 0.29%, provides growth-focused investors a way to participate in the growth potential of the companies in the S&P 500.

Matt Hougan was appointed to vice president of Bitwise Asset Management.
Matt Hougan was appointed to vice president of Bitwise Asset Management.

ARRIVALS
Crypto index fund manager recruits ETF veteran
Bitwise Asset Management appointed former Inside ETFs CEO Matt Hougan to vice president of research and development of the firm.

Hougan will play a key role in supporting crypto investors with institutionally oriented investment products, according to Bitwise's CEO, Hunter Horsley. "We look forward to working with him as we expand our offerings and capabilities in the years to come," Horsley added.

Prior to Inside ETFs, an ETF education company, Hougan was the CEO of ETF.com and was a three-time member of Barron's ETF Roundtable, according to the firm.

"Having the opportunity to participate in the development of a potentially massive new platform or technology is rare," Hougan said. "Bitwise is taking the right approach to the market, and I'm incredibly excited to join them as they navigate this rapidly growing space."

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