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Vanguard continues to lower the cost of investing: News Scan

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Vanguard continues to lower the cost of investing
Vanguard extended commission-free online trading for stocks and options to all of the asset manager's brokerage clients, effective immediately, according to the firm.

The move expands Vanguard Brokerage's commission-free platform, which has included all Vanguard mutual funds since 1977 and all Vanguard ETFs since 2010, and nearly every ETF in the industry since 2018.

Additionally, more than 3,000 non-Vanguard mutual funds have no transaction fee when traded online, the firm says.

While the elimination of commissions will play a meaningful role in reducing the cost of investing, Vanguard encourages investors to look beyond commissions and consider the all-in cost of their brokerage relationships, including fees, expenses and opportunity costs.

Cushing and Swank Capital to rebalance the Cushing 30 MLP Index
The Cushing 30 MLP Index, which tracks the performance of 30 publicly traded midstream energy infrastructure companies, including master limited partnerships and non-MLP energy midstream corporations, underwent a rebalancing after markets closed on Dec. 20, according to the firm.

All changes were made effective on Dec. 23. Although no adjustments were made to the constituent weightings, there is no change to index constituents on the effective date.

PSERS Partners with SimCorp for multi-asset investment coverage
The Pennsylvania Public School Employees Retirement System said it licensed an agreement with SimCorp, a provider of investment management solutions and services to the global financial services industry, in an effort to provide deeper analytics and optimized investment decision-making.

Once implemented, Simcorp's investment-book-of-records will provide PSERS with a single system for its middle and back office operational needs, according to the firm.

"SimCorp Dimension will allow PSERS to join other large state pension systems and state Treasury departments in implementing an integrated IBOR to improve operations," said John Kemp, PSERS managing director of investment operations and risk. "PSERS' operations professionals have been called upon to support a growing number of portfolios, trades, positions and complex investment strategies as our investment program has evolved, and this trend is expected to continue into the future."

PRODUCTS
T. Rowe price launches china evolution equity fund
T. Rowe Price announced the rollout of the T. Rowe Price China Evolution Equity Fund (TCELX), a product seeking long-term growth through investments in Chinese companies. The fund carries a 1.40% expense ratio, according to the firm.

"China is undergoing unprecedented changes, including an evolving economic model, industrial upgrades and a shifting geopolitical outlook," said Wenli Zheng, portfolio manager of the China Evolution Equity Fund.

MSCI launches fixed income ESG and factor indexes
MSCI added to its fixed-income tools and solutions offerings for institutional investors with the launch of the MSCI Fixed Income ESG Indexes and the MSCI Fixed Income Factor Indexes, according to the firm.

The additions are aimed at assisting institutional investors' efforts in navigating market risk and return, deliver operational efficiency and transparency, and meet the increased demand for indexes to support their ESG and factor-based, fixed-income investment strategies.

SS&C ALPS Advisors announces new REIT dividend dogs ETF
ALPS Advisors announced the launch of a new ETF called the ALPS REIT Dividend Dogs ETF (RDOG), which implements a rules-based investment strategy intended to provide equal exposure to the five highest-yielding REITs within nine equally weighted REIT segments, as determined by S-Network, the index provider.

This approach excludes mortgage REITs and helps to smooth REIT volatility and segment biases, in addition to offering low overlap with major REIT indexes, according to the firm.

FolioBeyond, S-Network announce new fixed-income index model
FolioBeyond and S-Network Global Indexes have partnered on a new fixed-income index that is now available for direct investment on the turnkey asset management platform of SMArtX Advisory Solutions.

The S-Network FolioBeyond Optimized Fixed Income Index is composed of various fixed-income ETFs representing 23 discrete subsectors, and spanning most liquid fixed-income market sectors further defined by credit risk and duration. It provides a dynamically adjusted ETF portfolio that enhances returns in comparison to the Bloomberg Barclays U.S. Aggregate Bond Index, according to the firm.

S-Network currently offers 22 direct index strategies, covering a wide range of investment strategies including benchmark, thematic, smart beta and socially responsible indexes on the SMArtX platform. This latest addition is the first index in the lineup that provides exposure to fixed-income ETFs.

Aris launches risk parity ETF
Advanced Research Investment Solutions announced the launch of the RPAR Risk Parity ETF (RPAR), a fund aimed at providing low-cost, tax-efficient exposure to risk parity investing in a single-purchase strategy.

RPAR will seek to track the Advanced Research Risk Parity Index and invest across multiple asset classes and sectors.

At launch, the fund will be exposed to roughly 25% of global equities, 25% of commodities, 35% in long-duration TIPs and 15% in long duration Treasurys. The fund will rebalance on a quarterly basis and will have a gross expense ratio of 0.53%, according to the firm.

Exchange Traded Concepts launches uranium mining ETF
Exchange Traded Concepts - known for its white label ETF solutions - announced the launch of the North Shore Global Uranium Mining ETF (URNM) in conjunction with North Shore Indices.
URNM, which has an 85-basis-point expense ratio, is a targeted play on the uranium mining sector, offering access to a global basket of companies in the uranium industry. The fund offers a thematic play on potential nuclear power demand growth and uranium supply deficits.

Nearly all of the fixed-income funds held short term debt.
January 15

"Given the current state of uranium mining economics, a considerable price rise will be required if new mines are to be brought online to meet the future supply needs," said North Shore Indexes CEO Tim Rotolo.

Virtus announces agreement to license Precidian's structure
Virtus Investment Partners announced that its subsidiary Virtus ETF Advisers has entered into an agreement to license ActiveShares, the proprietary actively managed ETF structure from Precidian Investments.

The Precidian model enables a company to deliver actively managed investment strategies in an ETF vehicle without disclosing holdings on a daily basis.

Virtus has offered ETFs since 2015 and currently has 13 in its arsenal with $1.1 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30, managed by affiliated managers and select subadvisors.

SP Funds announces its first family of Sharia-compliant ETFs
SP Funds, a boutique asset management firm specializing in socially responsible and halal investment strategies, launched the first family of Sharia-compliant equity and fixed-income ETFs.

The fund's ETF family is designed to provide investors of all types with exposures that can help diversify both equity and fixed income portfolios and help investors avoid the types of over-leveraged companies that may be particularly susceptible to volatile performance during a market downturn.

Vanguard cuts fees on international income-oriented funds
Three Vanguard international income-oriented funds reduced expense ratios: the $1.6 billion International Dividend Appreciation Index Fund (VIAAX), the $1.5 billion International High Dividend Yield Index Fund (VYMI) and the $1.9 billion Emerging Markets Government Bond Index Fund (VGAVX).

The funds carry expense ratios of 0.25%, 0.32% and 0.30%, respectively.

Vanguard also reported lower expense ratios on four externally managed active equity funds. In addition to expense ratio changes previously reported this year by Vanguard in fund annual reports, aggregate savings to clients now totals $41.7 million across 50 fund and ETF shares, the firm says.

Avantis unveils suite of low-cost mutual funds
Avantis Investors announced the launch of five low-cost mutual funds that share the same strategies as funds Avantis rolled out in late September.

The funds, the Avantis International Small Cap Value (AVDVX), Avantis International Equity (AVDEX), Avantis Emerging Markets Equity (AVEEX), Avantis U.S. Equity (AVUSX) and Avantis U.S. Small Cap Value (AVUVX), have expense ratios of 0.36%, 0.23%, 0.33%, 0.15% and 0.25%, respectively, according to the firm.

ARRIVALS
Seix Investment Advisors makes additions to leveraged finance team
Former Citigroup analyst David Phipps joined Seix Investment Advisors as managing director and senior leveraged finance research analyst, according to the firm. J.P. Morgan's Derek Fin also joined the firm as vice president and client portfolio manager for the leveraged finance platform.

Phipps has previous experience with high-yield bonds in the technology, media and telecom industries. He joins from Citigroup Global Markets, where he was most recently a leveraged finance analyst covering the technology, media and telecom sectors.

Fin has experience as a fixed-income client portfolio manager and product specialist with a focus on leveraged loans and high-yield debt. In his new role as client portfolio manager, Fin will represent Seix's leveraged finance strategies available to institutional clients.

Prior to joining Seix, Fin was at J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where he was vice president in the alternatives portfolio management group, responsible for analyzing and trading liquid alternatives and hedge fund strategies.

Eaton Vance adds portfolio managers for closed-end funds
Eaton Vance Management announced various additions to its closed-end fund portfolio management team.

Christopher J. Eustance, a vice president of EVM, has been a member of the firm's municipal bond team since 2007. Trevor Smith is a vice president of EVM and has been a member of EVM's municipal bond team since 2010.

The funds under their management include the Eaton Vance New York Municipal Income Trust (EVY), the Eaton Vance New York Municipal Bond Fund (ENX), the Eaton Vance California Municipal Income Trust (CEV) and the Eaton Vance California Municipal Bond Fund (EVM), the firm says. The funds carry expense ratios of 2.73%, 2.48%, 2.78% and 2.74%, respectively.

Kevin Neubauer was promoted to partner at Seward & Kissel.
Kevin Neubauer was promoted to partner at Seward & Kissel.

Seward & Kissel announces promotions
Seward & Kissel's Kevin Neubauer was promoted to partner and commercial litigator Brian Maloney to counsel.

"We are thrilled to make these well-deserved promotions. Kevin brings our clients a tremendous wealth of knowledge in fund formation and other issues of concern to private funds and pooled investment vehicles," said Seward & Kissel Managing partner Jim Cofer. "Brian has demonstrated his litigation talents across a range of subjects and types of engagements, from banking and shipping disputes to securities investigations. His versatility is a great asset to our clients and the firm."

Neubauer has previous experience representing sponsors and managers of private investment funds, particularly private equity funds, private credit funds, venture capital funds and hedge funds, according to the firm.

Maloney has prior experience as a litigator across a wide range of sectors, including banking, maritime and securities.

Avantis adds an academic consultant
American Century Investments named Sunil Wahal, the Jack D. Furst professor of finance and director of the center for investment engineering at the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, as an academic consultant supporting Avantis Investors.

Wahal will contribute to many areas of Avantis' offerings, including research aimed at informing investment strategy design and execution. Wahal's extensive research background spans short- and long-horizon investment strategies, trading issues and asset allocation, according to the firm.

Prior to joining Avantis, Wahal served as a consultant to Dimensional Fund Advisors and AJO Partners. Wahal holds a doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a master's from Wake Forest University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Delhi, India.

Morningstar appoints head of index business growth
Ron Bundy was appointed to lead the evolution and growth of Morningstar's global Morningstar index business. Bundy, most recently the CEO of North America benchmarks and head of strategic accounts for global index provider FTSE Russell, joined Morningstar in December as managing director.

Also joining Morningstar is Pat Fay, managing director of Morningstar Indexes. Fay was formerly head of research and consulting for EQDerivatives and, before that, global head of derivatives for FTSE Russell.

Dan Suzuki joins Richard Bernstein advisors as deputy CIO
Richard Bernstein Advisors has named Bank of America Merrill Lynch's Dan Suzuki to deputy CIO, according to the firm.

Prior to joining RBA in 2018, Suzuki spent 15 years at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he was most recently senior equity strategist for the firm's global research team. Suzuki will report to both Richard Bernstein, RBA's CIO and CEO, and John McCombe, president of the firm.

"Dan has excelled during his tenure here," Richard Bernstein noted. "As our firm enters its second decade, we want our investors to fully recognize RBA's deep investment team beyond just me. We see this as a natural progression for both Dan and the firm from the investment side, as well as, representing RBA with clients or in the media."

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