Investment Product Launches for the Week

BlackRock launches impact equity funds, and Schwab reveals money market fund changes.

BlackRock Launches Impact Equity Funds

BlackRock has launched the BlackRock Impact U.S. Equity Fund, a mutual fund that aims to invest in measurable social and environmental outcomes while seeking to generate competitive financial returns. The fund will trade under the ticker BIRAX.

BlackRock says the fund strives to deliver transparent measurement and outcome reporting, allowing investors to better understand how their money is being put to work.

The fund arrives at a time when sustainable and impact investing strategies are attracting a significant amount of interest as well as assets from investors, BlackRock says, both on the individual and institutional sides of the investing markets.

The firm cites research from Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA), showing sustainable investment assets have expanded 61% between 2012 and 2014. “Within this, impact investing is the fastest growing segment, and the U.S. is the fastest growing area for impact investing, with 33% compound annual growth rate between 2012 and 2014,” BlackRock says. “GSIA defines impact investing as targeted investments aimed at solving social or environmental problems.”

With these trends in mind, the fund aims to deliver “a portfolio of equity securities of companies targeting competitive market returns and aggregate societal impact outcomes, as determined by BlackRock, relative to its benchmark.” The Fund is run by BlackRock’s Scientific Active Equity (SAE) team.

For more information, visit

NEXT: Schwab Reveals Money Market Fund Changes

Money Market Fund Changes Announced by Schwab

Charles Schwab Investment Management announced planned changes to its money market fund line-up.

To address new SEC regulations, all Schwab Prime and Municipal Money Market Funds plan to qualify as retail money market funds by October 14, 2016. As such, these funds will continue to seek to maintain a constant net asset value (NAV) of $1.00 per share, and will be subject to potential liquidity fees and redemption gates in times of extreme market volatility.

Additionally, three Schwab Money Market Fund share classes have been renamed to reflect that these funds plan to qualify as retail money market funds by October 14, 2016. The Schwab Value Advantage Money Fund – Institutional Shares becomes the Schwab Value Advantage Money Fund – Premier Shares; Schwab Value Advantage Money Fund – Institutional Prime Shares becomes Schwab Value Advantage Money Fund – Ultra Shares; and Schwab Municipal Money Fund – Institutional Shares becomes Schwab Municipal Money Fund – Premier Shares.

Moving forward, Schwab’s Government Money Funds and the Schwab Money Market Portfolio will be officially designated as government money market funds under the SEC’s new definition of such funds on April 14, 2016, and as a result, they will continue to seek to maintain a constant NAV of $1.00 per share. These funds have no plans to adopt a policy to implement liquidity fees or redemption gates at this time.

The changes were announced in a prospectus filed today and in a letter to clients/shareholders posted on the company’s website.