Investment Product and Service Launches

Baring Asset Management reveals brand consolidations; Core Bond Fund launched by Vanguard; FTSE Russell moves forward on collaboration with momentum investing specialist Trendrating.

Baring Asset Management Brand Consolidation

Babson Capital Management LLC, its subsidiaries Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC and Wood Creek Capital Management LLC, and Baring Asset Management Limited, announced their intention to combine and use the Barings brand.

According to the firms, “the combination creates a leading global, multi-asset investment management firm with over $260 billion of assets under management, offices in 20 countries, and over 1,700 professionals.” The newly branded firm will be led by Tom Finke, current chairman and CEO of Babson, and will be headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David Brennan, chairman and CEO of Barings, “who will retire as planned during the summer of 2016,” says this is an “exciting opportunity for the Barings organization to combine with its affiliates to create a new, more diversified global manager.”

“Because of the complementary nature of the firms’ investment capabilities in fixed income, equity, multi-asset, real estate, real assets, and alternatives, no change in investment leadership is anticipated,” he adds. “Furthermore, distribution and marketing capabilities will be combined together to support the new global firm.”

Finke adds that, together, “Babson, Barings, Cornerstone, and Wood Creek offer institutional and retail investors worldwide a compelling array of investment offerings. As a unified firm we will be better able to deliver our diverse and global investment offerings to clients.”

As a result of the combination, the Barings brand and logo will be refreshed to reflect the global nature of the new Barings and signify the unified platform of the affiliates. “The choice to retain the Barings brand reinforces the global aspect of the new firm, the diversified nature of its client base, and the Barings heritage which dates back to 1762,” the firm says.

Babson, Barings, Cornerstone, and Wood Creek are all affiliates of Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual). The firms expect to close the initial phase of the integration during the fourth quarter of this year, subject to required regulatory approval. 

NEXT: Vanguard Launches Vanguard Core Bond Fund

Vanguard Launches Vanguard Core Bond Fund

Vanguard unveiled the new Vanguard Core Bond Fund, an actively managed fixed income offering, available to investors at a cost of 0.25% and 0.15% on Investor Shares and Admiral Shares, respectively.

Vanguard says the fund invests in high-quality bonds across the investment-grade market and limits non-investment grade bonds to 5%. It employs a risk-controlled approach and seeks to outperform the broad investment-grade U.S. fixed income market through disciplined security selection, sector allocation, and duration decisions.

Investor Shares are available with a minimum investment of $3,000, while access to Admiral Shares requires a $50,000 investment. Vanguard points out that the average core bond fund fee is in the ballpark of 80 basis points, making the pricing of the new Vanguard Core Bond Fund very competitive.

Gregory Davis, head of Vanguard Fixed Income Group, says new fund invests primarily in high-quality  bonds across the investment-grade market, including Treasury, mortgage-backed, corporate and asset-backed securities of varying yields and maturities.

“The fund will limit its exposure to non-investment grade bonds to 5%,” he adds. “We believe the fund to be well-suited for investors seeking an actively-managed, high-quality, and broadly diversified holding in their fixed income portfolio.”

NEXT: FTSE Russell Teams With Trendrating 

FTSE Russell, the global investment index provider, has signed a collaboration agreement with the momentum investing specialist and analytics firm, Trendrating.

The agreement will see Trendrating work with FTSE Russell to develop new innovative momentum indexes, according to the firms. The range of products “will incorporate Trendrating’s unique momentum model and supporting data as a core component of the methodology.”

Founded in 2013 by Rocco Pellegrinelli, Trendrating provides a range of tools designed to maximize investment performance and improve risk control. Currently more than 100 institutional fund managers across Europe, the U.S. and Asia use the company’s momentum metrics to help them improve their investment decision making process, according to the firm.

This latest announcement will further expand FTSE Russell’s existing range of factor products, including the FTSE Global Factor Index Series and the FTSE Global Diversified Factor Index Series. 

Mark Makepeace, CEO of FTSE Russell says of the agreement: “As passive investment requirements become increasingly sophisticated, we have seen strong demand for our factor indexes from a variety of market participants. As a result, we are delighted to collaborate with Trendrating to expand our offering by creating a range of new momentum indexes. The products will be developed using both firms’ expertise and supported by FTSE Russell’s longstanding commitment to strong and transparent governance.”

Rocco Pellegrinelli, founder and CEO of Trendrating agrees, adding that “momentum is a strong and persistent factor, rapidly gaining popularity among top global asset managers as a key component in portfolio construction and tactical allocation. This collaboration with FTSE Russell represents a huge leap forward for momentum investing and further endorses our momentum model as one of the leading methods to enable fund managers to harness the power of this important factor.”