Investment Product and Service Launches

Goldman Sachs announces investment-grade debt private placements capability; FTSE Russell Equity Indices adjusts treatment of Russia; Dimensional adds three new U.S. equity ETFs; and more.

Dimensional Adds Three New U.S. Equity ETFs

Dimensional Fund Advisors has expanded its exchange-traded fund offerings with the listing of three new U.S. equity ETFs on the New York Stock Exchange. The new ETFs offer diversified exposure to U.S. small-cap value and U.S. high-profitability equities, as well as U.S. real estate markets.

“We continue to build out Dimensional’s ETF suite, which not only offers the benefits of passive strategies—such as broad diversification, low turnover and transparency—but also provides the advantages of active, flexible portfolio management to continually target higher expected returns over traditional indexes,” says Gerard O’Reilly, Dimensional co-CEO and chief investment officer.

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Dimensional’s ETF suite harnesses the firm’s daily, flexible implementation process that seeks to maintain consistent exposure to each strategy’s specific investment objectives. The ETFs also go beyond indexing to pursue higher expected returns, with comprehensive risk management and tax efficiency. The listed funds are new ETFs that can benefit from the long track records of similar strategies that Dimensional has utilized for decades within the firm’s mutual fund offering.

The three newest ETFs are part of the firm’s previously announced plan to list 10 additional equity ETFs in 2022.

Since its first ETF listing in November 2020, the firm has listed 13 active transparent ETFs, with approximately $45 billion in assets under management. The firm also recently launched an expanded, separately managed accounts offering, which gives more investors access to customized portfolio solutions. Dimensional, additionally, continues to support and expand its mutual fund lineup.


MSCI to Reclassify MSCI Russia Indexes

MSCI Inc. has announced that the MSCI Russia Indexes will be reclassified from emerging markets to standalone markets status. The reclassification decision will be implemented in one step across all MSCI Indexes, including standard, custom and derived indexes, at a price that is effectively zero. The move takes effect as of March 9.

On February 28, MSCI launched a consultation with international institutional investors on the accessibility and investibility of the Russian equity market. During the consultation, MSCI received feedback from a large number of global market participants, including asset owners, asset managers, broker/dealers and exchanges. An overwhelming majority confirmed that the Russian equity market is “currently uninvestable” and that Russian securities should be removed from the MSCI Emerging Markets Indexes.

Consultation participants highlighted several recent negative developments that led to a material deterioration in the accessibility of the Russian equity market to international institutional investors, to such an extent that it does not meet the market accessibility requirements for emerging markets classification as per the MSCI Market Classification Framework.

MSCI will continue to monitor market developments and may issue additional guidance or announce further changes relevant to specific indexes, if necessary.

MSCI reminds users of its indexes for any purpose, including both indexed and active management, that they are responsible for ensuring compliance with all applicable sanctions and any other rules, regulations, prohibitions, laws and other restrictions applicable to their portfolios, trading and other investment activity.


Robeco Introduces Sustainable Index Family

Robeco has launched a sustainable index family, the Robeco SDG Low-Carbon Indices. The launch follows the introduction of its multi-factor index range back in 2017.

Similar to the multi-factor index range, the SDG Low-Carbon Indices are available for seven regions: global AC, global DM, emerging markets, U.S., Europe, Asia-Pacific and Japan. The index aims to make a positive contribution to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and applies Robeco’s proprietary SDG Framework.

Negatively scored stocks based on the SDG Framework are excluded from the index universe. The index also aims to make a positive contribution to a low-carbon economy and obtains a significant carbon footprint reduction compared with market cap indices. The forward-looking view of Robeco’s climate strategy team, led by Lucian Peppelenbos, and the SDG Framework, are used to lower the carbon footprint and to differentiate between climate laggards and climate leaders.


Goldman Sachs Announce Investment-Grade Debt Private Placements Capability

Goldman Sachs Asset Management has announced the launch of a new investment capability focused on investment-grade private placement debt for the firm’s insurance, pension and sovereign wealth clients. The Debt Private Placement Investors platform will originate and manage 4(a)(2) and select 144a private placement investments. The launch adds an important investment offering to the firm’s asset management platform.

The team will be led by Jessica Maizel, who joined Goldman Sachs in 2021, bringing over 18 years of underwriting, origination and portfolio management experience, most recently with New York Life Investments. To further build out the platform capabilities, Christine Stehle, who recently joined Goldman Sachs from MetLife, will lead corporate private placements, and Marisol Gonzalez de Cosio, who helped to establish the infrastructure rating practice at Kroll, will lead infrastructure and utilities origination and placement.

“Over the past five years, the average annual deal flow in the PP market has been approximately $100 billion and our investment in DPPI further enhances the firm’s ability to fulfill clients’ growing appetite for private assets,” says Jared Klyman, head of insurance strategy. “Many issuers that borrow via the PP market are seeking an alternative to the public bond market to access long-term capital and these transactions provide duration and diversification opportunities for investors outside of traditional fixed income channels.”

The unregistered nature of the market also allows private companies and special purpose entities to raise debt in a market that does not require a rating and issuers can ensure confidentiality around sensitive financial information.


FTSE Russell Equity Indices Adjusts Treatment of Russia

Following consideration by the FTSE Russell Index Governance Board of the feedback received from independent advisory committees and given the current market conditions, FTSE Russell announced that, in accordance with Rule 2.1 of the FTSE Russell Index Policy, Russia will be deleted from all FTSE Russell Equity Indices effective from the open March 7.

Russian index constituents that are listed on the Moscow Exchange will be deleted at a zero value, effective from the open March 7.

FTSE Russell held a meeting with the FTSE Russell Policy Advisory Board and Equity Country Classification Advisory Committee to discuss the escalation of sanctions by the European Union, United Kingdom and the United States on Russia following its invasion of Ukraine. The independent advisory committees and other stakeholders were consulted on the treatment of Russia with regard to the escalating sanctions, the decision by the Central Bank of Russia to temporarily suspend trading on the Moscow Exchange and prohibit non-resident investors from executing security sales.

Additionally, on Tuesday, the CBR imposed a temporary suspension on Russian banks executing withdrawal transactions of funds in all currencies held by foreign clients (both legal entities and individuals), and residents of the countries who issued sanctions against the Russian Federation, to the accounts opened in foreign countries.

Following the deletion of Russia from all FTSE Russell Equity Indices, Russia will be classified as an “unclassified” market within the FTSE equity country classification scheme. Once regular trading resumes on MOEX and all restrictions on non-resident investors have been lifted, the market will not be re-included in the standard FTSE Russell global indices automatically, but rather the status of the market will be re-evaluated as part of the FTSE equity country classification process. This process will follow the standard FTSE equity country classification procedure and timetable for a new market, and the country may be required to spend a period of time on the relevant watch-list before its status is confirmed.

To assist existing investors in benchmarking their performance, the FTSE Russia Unclassified Index, a standalone country index using local exchange prices, will be available to clients March 7.