Investment Product and Service Launches

Nationwide partners with AB to offer in-plan income guarantees; Voya’s new stable value solution offers manager diversity; Bloomberg and MSCI launch emerging markets ESG index suite; and more.

Nationwide Partners With AB to Offer In-Plan Income Guarantees

Nationwide and global investment and research firm AllianceBernstein L.P. (AB) have announced that they have expanded their partnership to offer AB’s Lifetime Income Strategy (LIS) to Nationwide’s large retirement plan clients.

LIS combines AB’s research in glide path design with a flexible guaranteed income option to offer plan participants control of their accounts, full access to their money and income certainty in retirement. This solution is customizable for retirement plans in the mega plan market and is the latest offering in Nationwide’s suite of in-plan guarantees that meet a range of plan sponsor and participant needs.

LIS includes an optional income feature that will systematically transition a participant’s retirement savings to a guaranteed lifetime income program starting at age 50. This allows the participant to build up a lifetime income benefit that is protected, even in down markets.

“The expansion of Lifetime Income Strategy is an extension of an already highly successful relationship Nationwide has with AB and will serve as an important addition to our suite of in-plan guarantees designed to address America’s growing retirement income needs across all plan types and sizes,” says Eric Stevenson, president of Nationwide Retirement Solutions. “This solution will be a strong fit for those types of plans that are looking to provide in-plan income options to their participants.” 

Stevenson adds that the passing of the Setting Every Community up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE) Act in 2019 created opportunities to provide more flexibility and access to lifetime income options within defined contribution (DC) retirement plans. “In addition to the legislative change, research shows consumers’ need for lifetime income is stronger than ever,” he says.

Voya’s New Stable Value Solution Offers Manager Diversity

Voya Financial Inc. has announced the launch of a new stable value solution that provides differentiated sector allocations and manager diversity.

The new fund—the Voya/RAM Focus Stable Value Fund—will be managed by Voya Investment Management (Voya IM) and Ramirez Asset Management (RAM), an affiliate of Samuel A. Ramirez & Co. Inc., which is one of the oldest and largest Hispanic-owned investment firms in the U.S. The Voya/RAM Focus Stable Value Fund is available to any workplace retirement savings plan currently eligible to use stable value as an investment option.

“As a core investment vehicle, stable value funds are a popular option offered in 401(k), 401(a) and 457 plans. We’re thrilled to offer a new and unique solution through the Voya/RAM Focus Stable Value Fund, which provides a specific focus on retirement security,” says Heather Lavallee, CEO of wealth solutions at Voya Financial. “Having a low-risk investment option can help individuals navigate market stress during uncertain times, which is an important consideration given what many experienced this past year amid the pandemic.”

The Voya/RAM Focus Stable Value Fund strategy seeks to deliver a high-quality, diversified fixed-income portfolio designed to optimize the objective of delivering top-tier, risk-adjusted returns. It is managed with a defined set of investment guidelines by Voya IM and sub-adviser RAM. Key fund features include:

  • A dynamic sector allocation process whereby Voya IM and RAM regularly evaluate macroeconomic and thematic insights that drive a risk profile based on their views of the best relative symmetry between risk and return in the market;
  • Voya IM’s rigorous security selection process that performs in-depth security-level analysis with a focus on fundamentals, technical analysis and valuations across bond market sectors, leveraging quantitative toolsets and incorporating broader macro insights into security-level analysis; and
  • A strategic allocation to the taxable municipal bond asset class. RAM uses its sector expertise and a proprietary credit evaluation model to offer access to essential infrastructure with attractive yields and higher credit quality.

“At Voya, we believe providing investment solutions that support individuals when it comes to retirement security is fundamental to helping Americans achieve their retirement savings goals,” says Christine Hurtsellers, CEO of Voya Investment Management. “The Voya/RAM Focus Stable Value Fund strives to support this goal.”

Bloomberg and MSCI Launch Emerging Markets ESG Index Suite

Bloomberg and MSCI Inc. have launched the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI Emerging Markets ESG Index Suite, which includes 10 environmental, social and governance (ESG) indexes.

These benchmarks incorporate ESG and socially responsible investing (SRI) considerations in underlying hard and local currency emerging market (EM) fixed-income indexes. The index family includes the following versions across global, pan-Euro and the U.S. dollar:

  • Bloomberg Barclays MSCI EM ESG Weighted Indices: uses MSCI ESG Ratings to tilt issuer market weights;
  • Bloomberg Barclays MSCI EM SRI Indices: designed to screen out issuers with substantial revenue derived from sources such as adult entertainment, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, controversial military weapons, civilian firearms, nuclear power and genetically modified organisms (GMOs); and
  • Bloomberg Barclays MSCI EM Sustainability Indices: uses an emerging markets debt benchmark that includes fixed- and floating-rate U.S. dollar, euro and/or British pound-denominated debt issued from sovereign, quasi-sovereign and corporate EM issuers. The index includes issuers with BB and above ESG ratings.

“Investor demand for ESG considerations continues to grow, and we are consistently working to expand Bloomberg’s offerings to meet these requirements as ESG factors are increasingly incorporated into investors’ workflows,” says Chris Hackel, index product manager at Bloomberg.

“We have seen accelerating demand from investors to expand ESG indexes and data solutions across asset classes and markets. This newly launched emerging markets fixed-income index family extends the breadth of coverage of ESG fixed-income indexes and provides institutional investors with additional options for indexed funds and for benchmarking performance,” says Eric Moen, head of ESG product at MSCI. 

For more information, visit Bloomberg Indices.

Janus Henderson Adds U.S. Real Estate ETF to Offerings

Janus Henderson Group plc has expanded its active exchange-traded fund (ETF) offering with the Janus Henderson U.S. Real Estate ETF (JRE).

Managed by Portfolio Managers Greg Kuhl and Danny Greenberger, the fund seeks to provide access to real estate securities driving the future of the sector, which may include cell towers, data centers, gaming real estate investment trusts (REITs), cold storage and more, without bias toward style, property type or market cap.

“Offering attractive valuations, structural and secular growth tailwinds, and an opportunity to provide investors with protection from inflation, real estate is an asset class with the potential to create significant shareholder value and compelling returns in the coming years,” says Kuhl. 

The JRE exchange-traded fund (ETF) is a natural product extension based on the expertise of the firm’s Global Real Estate Equities team and existing U.S. real estate equities strategy, the firm says.

“Supply and demand dynamics within the real estate market are continuously evolving, making it an asset class where active management can add meaningful value to investors,” says Nick Cherney, head of exchange-traded products at Janus Henderson. “With many investors under-allocated to real estate, JRE brings Janus Henderson’s expertise in the asset class to ETF investors seeking to access its diversification, income, inflation-protection and risk-adjusted return potential.”

For more information on the Janus Henderson U.S Real Estate ETF visit