Investment Product and Service Launches

Putnam launches ETFs series; Broadridge releases ESG disclosure, data and benchmarking tool; Lincoln adds digitally available life insurance product; and more.

Putnam Launches Fixed-Income and Non-U.S. Equity ETFs

Putnam Investments announced it is expanding its investment offerings across asset classes with five actively managed exchanged-traded funds listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Putnam launched three fixed-income ETF portfolios, as well as two non-U.S. equity strategies sub-advised by Putnam affiliate PanAgora Asset Management Inc. Putnam is the sponsor and investment adviser on the five new ETFs, which employ an environmental, social and governance focus, according to the Boston-based firm.

“We think it is increasingly important to offer clients a range of investment products across asset classes delivered through a choice of product wrappers, such as ETFs, mutual funds and separately managed accounts,” Robert L. Reynolds, president and CEO of Putnam Investments, said in a statement.

The new fixed-income and non-U.S. equity ETFs, along with the existing Putnam Sustainable Leaders ETF and Putnam Sustainable Future ETF, will serve as underlying investments for the firm’s planned ESG-focused target-date series, the Putnam Sustainable Retirement Funds, according to the announcement. That new suite is expected to be implemented in the coming weeks, the firm said.

Broadridge Releases ESG Disclosure, Data and Benchmarking Tool

Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc. introduced a web-based ESG disclosure and data analytics benchmarking tool offering timely, high-quality, cost-effective and transparent data and insights.

Broadridge’s ESG Analyzer will compare ESG practices across peers and industries, according to the New York-based financial technology firm. The analyzer allows companies to view their ESG metrics in one dashboard, as well as leverage artificial intelligence to access aggregated data.

“This is the perfect tool for management to understand their strengths and weaknesses on ESG issues, enabling them to see how they compare to peers and create a plan to improve their performance and disclosures where needed,” Joseph Vicari, vice president and ESG practice lead at Broadridge, said in a statement.

The ESG Analyzer compares more than 5,000 companies in North America in terms of company policies and disclosures from more than 385 ESG topics, including energy and climate change, community development, diversity, labor rights and leadership ethics, according to Broadridge.

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Lincoln Brings Digitally Available Life Insurance Product to Market

Lincoln Financial Group has started offering an indexed universal life product, that can provide a digital and automated experience to customers, called Lincoln WealthAccelerate, the company announced.

The indexed universal life product uses an electronic process from application to policy management, according the company.

The insurance product, which provides access to a cash value component in addition to a death benefit, was launched to meet changing consumer expectations for their financial products to be digitally accessible and easy to use, according to the Radnor, Pennsylvania-based financial firm.

“Today’s life insurance customer is changing—they’re digitally savvy, expect faster and simpler processes and want flexibility,” Matt Grove, Lincoln Financial’s executive vice president and head of Lincoln Financial Network, said in the announcement.

WealthAccelerate is available to customers, from ages 20 to 55, with protection needs from $100,000 to $1.5 million. The product offers a permanent life insurance death benefit and options that cover critical and chronic illness expenses to meet a policyholder’s long-term care needs, as well as offering holders access to a policy’s cash value, according to Lincoln Financial.

Kwanti Adds Screener Feature for Financial Advisers to Find Best-Performing Assets

Portfolio and analytics company Kwanti has launched additional features to its screener program to help financial advisers and investment managers with prospect conversion, client retention, and model management.

Kwanti Screener’s new features will also help advisers screen for the best performing assets and find the right investment opportunities for clients, the San Francisco-based firm announced.

“Screener reveals best performing assets in seconds, sifting through millions of risk, performance, and allocation data points,” Christophe Gauthron, founder and CEO of Kwanti, said in a statement.

Kwanti users can now search exchange-traded funds, mutual funds, separately managed accounts, and individual stocks and narrow the list down based on specific criteria of their choosing, according to the firm.

Vanguard Adds Multi-Sector Income Bond Fund to Lineup

The Vanguard Group Inc. announced it has added the actively managed Vanguard Multi-Sector Income Bond Fund to its fund lineup to offer investors diversified exposure to fixed-income credit sectors.

The fund, managed by the Vanguard Fixed Income Group, provides clients with a flexible, risk-controlled approach that enables portfolio managers to seek opportunities across various sectors and credit qualities, according to the Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based firm.

“[The] Vanguard Multi-Sector Income Bond Fund provides investors access to our world-class fixed income investment talent through a low-cost strategy with high alpha potential,” Sara Devereux, Vanguard’s global head of fixed income, said in a statement.

The Vanguard Multi-Sector Income Bond Fund can invest in a wide range of fixed-income asset classes but will offer exposure to U.S. high-yield corporate securities, U.S. investment-grade securities and emerging-market debt of all credit quality ratings. By appropriately weighting these three allocations within the fund’s custom benchmark, Vanguard aims to provide greater performance transparency than solely using a broad fixed-income benchmark, according to the firm.

The fund has an estimated expense ratio of 0.40% for investor shares and 0.30% for its Admiral class, compared with an average expense ratio of 0.66% for industry peers, according to Vanguard and Morningstar research.

Hub Starts HR Technology Consulting Practice

Hub International Limited has expanded and formalized its focus on human resources consulting and HR technology services by announcing a consulting practice of 35 specialists called People & Technology Consulting.

The insurance brokerage consolidator providing employer solutions in insurance, benefits, retirement and wealth management, among other services, announced that the new division will help clients with HR strategy, as well as with the processes and the technology to drive performance and business results.

Andrea Goodkin will lead the new division as executive vice president and practice leader, according to Chicago-based Hub. Goodkin will work with Michael Booth, Hub benefits national sales leader, on the growth of the new practice.

“People & Technology Consulting is a people business, dedicated to helping clients tie everything together, whether it’s absence management, HR consulting or HR technology services to help transform their organization further and faster with innovative resources and tools that engage with their people on a deeper level,” Goodkin said in a statement.

The new practice will work with employers of all sizes, according to the firm. 

Vestmark Launches 6 Direct-Index Separately Managed Accounts

Vestmark Inc. is launching six direct-index, separately managed accounts called Focused Index Portfolios, in collaboration with S&P Dow Jones Indices, and licensing select equity benchmarks from the index provider. The SMAs will be available through Vestmark Manager Marketplace, according to the announcement.

Of the six new SMA strategies, three are based on new, custom indices from S&P Dow Jones Indices that select constituents from the large-cap S&P 500 Index and the S&P 500 Catholic Values Index, according to Wakefield, Massachusetts-based Vestmark. Each index is constructed to measure the performance of a subset of securities from an underlying index, and each is selected and weighted to reflect the Global Industry Classification Standard Industry Group coverage and weighting of the underlying index, the announcement stated.

Additionally, Vestmark will launch three SMA strategies based on longstanding indices from S&P Dow Jones Indices that provide insight on specific segments of the market, including dividend payers, ESG and international developed markets.

“We are excited to create these index-based SMA strategies designed to be offered at lower minimums in order to open this type of approach to a broader range of investors,” Robert Battista, senior vice president and managing director of Vestmark Advisory Solutions, said in a statement.

The six Focused Index Portfolios available through Vestmark are being offered with investment minimums as low as $100,000, according to the firm. The strategies also enable advisers to choose certain stock exposures, such as Vestmark’s strategy based on the Dow Jones U.S. Dividend 100 Index, comprised of large-cap stocks.