Wells Fargo to redesign asset management brand: News Scan

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Wells Fargo to redesign asset management brand
Wells Fargo Asset Management announced a brand redesign initiative as part of the company's "This is Wells Fargo" marketing campaign.

"We are proud to launch this new branding platform, which represents a transformational step forward in better fulfilling the expectations and needs of our clients," said Nico Marais, co-CEO of Wells Fargo Asset Management. "We want our brand to be viewed as a powerful, innovative and unified provider of our investment products and problem-solving solutions."

The redesign will include the consolidation of three websites — wellscap.com, wellsfargofunds.com and wellsfargoassetmanagement.com — into a single platform, according to the firm.

BlackRock pares CEO pay by 14%
BlackRock cut CEO Larry Fink's compensation to $24 million following three quarters of losses and a 24% drop in stock price in 2018, according to Bloomberg News.

"2018 was a difficult year for the asset management industry and a marker of things to come: greater focus on value, tougher competition, more operating complexity and disruption of legacy business models," said Fink in a letter to shareholders. "Many asset managers have not adequately prepared for these changes."

Fink reportedly received a $7.8 million cash bonus, in addition to his $1.5 million salary and $14.8 million in equity awards, BlackRock said. This comes after the firm announced plans to cut 500 jobs, or 3% of its global workforce in 2019. BlackRock shares rose 14% this year through April 11.

Volunteers awarded at NICSA's 2019 strategic leadership forum
NICSA selected and honored 11 of its association members for their contributions to the asset management community at the 2019 Volunteer of the Year Awards.

"NICSA's Volunteer of the Year Awards recognize the outstanding efforts of members who are especially dedicated to serving the NICSA community," said NICSA President Jim Fitzpatrick. "These individuals have shown exemplary commitment as volunteers, and have demonstrated a passion around furthering best practices within the global asset management industry."

The awards ceremony took place in April at NICSA's 2019 Strategic Leadership Forum in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

Vanguard to launch commodities fund with inflation protection
Vanguard filed preliminary registration for a new actively managed fund that invests in commodity-linked derivative investments — such as commodity futures and swaps — collateralized by a mix of TIPS for inflation protection, the firm said.

The Vanguard Commodity Strategy Fund, which will have an expense ratio of 1.25%, is expected to launch in June 2019. It will be managed by Vanguard's quantitative equity and fixed-income groups, according to the firm. Additionally, at launch, the $1.8 billion Vanguard Managed Payout Fund (VPGDX) will reallocate its commodities exposure, consisting of $135 million, to the new fund.

State Street announces new actively managed ETFs
State Street Global Advisors announced the launch of two actively managed, sector rotation SPDR ETFs; the SPDR SSGA US Sector Rotation ETF (XLSR) and SPDR SSGA Fixed Income Sector Rotation ETF (FISR).

XLSR, which seeks to provide capital appreciation by overweighting or underweighting S&P 500 Sector ETFs, has an expense ratio of 0.70%. The portfolio is designed to maximize returns while managing risk. FISR, which seeks to provide total return by allocating across income- and yield-generating ETFs throughout the fixed-income spectrum, has an expense ratio of 0.50%. The fund uses a proprietary, tactical investment strategy, that seeks exposure across the range of maturity- and credit-quality. Both are managed by the firm's investment solutions group.

KraneShares excludes china with new emerging markets ETF
KraneShares, known for its China-focused ETFs and investment strategies, announced the launch of an emerging markets ETF that excludes China.

With an expense ratio of 0.59%, KraneShares MSCI Emerging Markets ex China Index ETF (KEMX) will list on the NYSE, benchmarked to the MSCI Emerging Markets ex-China Index, which keeps track of both large-cap and mid-cap companies within emerging markets nations.

"Within emerging markets, KraneShares believes China is in a league of its own; an asset class unto itself distinguished by its market size and unparalleled growth," said KraneShares CEO Jonathan Krane.

Procure Holdings introduces first pure-play space ETF
Procure Holdings has launched the Procure Space ETF (UFO), the world's first global ETF to provide pure-play access to the space industry, according to the firm.

Top inflows of 2018
The top 20 are now home to nearly $1.2 trillion in combined assets.

UFO has an expense ratio of 0.75% and keeps track of the S-Network Space Index, the latter of which places emphasis on firms that maintain high engagement in space-related activities.

"We firmly believe the next era of space exploration is upon us, and we believe we are uniquely positioned to help investors access this space like never before," said Robert Tull, co-founder and president of ProcureAM. "We believe we are uniquely positioned to help investors access this space like never before.

Block 30, Coinbook unveils ETX products
Block 30 Financial and Coinbook announced the official US launch of the Block 3 + Block 5 ETX products, the first to provide a buy-and-hold basket of digital assets for retail customers, according to Block 30.

"We wanted to create an FDIC-insured, U.S. exchange that made digital assets more approachable, easy and safe for people to purchase," said Calvin Weight, founder and CEO of Coinbook. "Our investors can get some very basic portfolio exposure to the potential upside of new global markets, without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed."

UBS revamps leadership
UBS Global Wealth Management is moving Jeffrey Hans and Christopher Shea, previously responsible for overseeing its opportunistic equity income and mid-cap model portfolios in the firm's investment platforms and solutions unit, to its chief investment office.

The shift is indicative of the firm's previous success across additional areas of GWM's mandate business since the beginning of 2018, according to UBS.

In addition, UBS is moving CIO's Jeremy Zirin, David Lefkowitz and Edmund Tran to also contribute on the portfolios with Shea and Hans, according to the firm. The Equity Advisory Group in IPS, led by Robert Romano, will work closely with CIO on all equity model portfolios, the firm said. IPS will continue to work with financial advisors to implement the products in client accounts, according to the firm.

Seismic appoints managing director
Seismic, an industry-focused marketing firm, announced the hiring of William Finnegan — previously employed at AMG Funds — as managing director.

Finnegan will oversee the firm's global efforts within financial services and focus on the expansion of Seismic's foothold in the following three sectors: asset management, wealth management and banking.

"Technology innovation is driving the future of customer engagement in financial services," Finnegan said. "Throughout my time in the industry, and as someone that had experience with Seismic, it quickly became clear to me that Seismic is the leader in the sales enablement space."

Prior to Seismic, Finnegan was chief marketing officer for AMG funds, where he managed marketing for more than 100 funds and SMAs managed by more than 35 independent and autonomous sub-advisors, the firm said.

Finnegan also previously served as senior managing director of global retail marketing at MFS.

BMO hires head of alternatives
BMO Global Asset Management appointed Stewart Bennett, formerly with Ondra Partners, to oversee its newly formed Global Alternatives offering as its newly created Global Head of Alternatives, according to the firm.

Based in the firm's London office, Bennett boasts 25 years of professional experience in the industry.

Bennett is in charge of developing and executing the firm's alternative investments' global growth strategy. Bennett will report to Kristi Mitchem, CEO of BMO Global Asset Management.

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