Investment Product and Service Launches

BlackRock Launches Multiple ESG Funds and Tools; Fingage Managed Account Solution Added to LT Trust Recordkeeping Platform; Franklin Templeton Acquisition Expands Alternatives and Fixed Income Offerings; and more.

SS&C Technologies Adds ERS Managed Account Solution to Recordkeeping Platform  

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. has collaborated with Envestnet Retirement Solutions (ERS) to integrate its managed account solution with SS&C’s retirement recordkeeping platform, TRAC.

According to John Geli, president of Retirement Solutions, SS&C Technologies, the integration aims to promote choice and flexibility among clients. TRAC currently supports multiple managed account solutions and the partnership with ERS as the latest addition.

The partnership’s core feature will allow plan providers to build opt-in managed accounts and managed qualified default investment alternatives (QDIAs), which in turn would enable advisers to offer individualized glide paths in order to optimize accumulation and post-retirement decumulation, according to Babu Sivadasan, group president of Envestnet Retirement Solutions.

“One size doesn’t fit all, which is why we built a solution personalized for each participant that can be adapted by the adviser,” he said. “ERS can merely be the technology (i.e., “robo”) solution matched with the adviser’s customized investment solution. The adviser can also outsource any aspect of the solution to third-party strategists including ERS, from Capital Markets Assumptions to the Asset Class Portfolios to the fund selection.” 

BlackRock Launches Multiple ESG Funds and Tools

BlackRock announced a series of launches related to sustainable environmental, social and governance (ESG) line-ups, including the introduction of iShares Sustainable Core, transparent ESG data disclosures, new ESG portfolio analytic tools, and increased accessibility with ESG-focused model portfolios.

According to BlackRock, iShares Sustainable Core is said to focus on purpose and performance for the core of investor portfolios, and designed to offer “low cost building blocks” for investors looking to construct diversified, sustainable portfolios. The option includes a new ESG bond fund as well as six existing ESG ETF funds offering broad U.S. and international equity and bond exposures, said BlackRock.

 “The iShares Core Series gave rise to a new generation of simple, low cost and efficient investment portfolios,” said Mark Wiedman, senior managing director, global head of iShares and Index Investments. “The iShares Sustainable Core adds purpose to the mix, and is intended to help investors to match their values to their investments without giving up performance.”

Additionally, iShares’ website now shows ESG and carbon intensity metrics alongside existing portfolio characteristics on all ESG ETFs. BlackRock expects all metrics to be available on iShares ETFs by early next year. ESG metrics will include the MSCI ESG Quality Score, the MSCI ESG percentage of coverage, the MSCI Lipper Peer Group percentile ranking, and MSCI Weighted Average Carbon Intensity. Expanded ESG metrics are expected to be available by the end of 2019 for all ETFs. The site will also include iShares Sustainable ETF impact reports so investors can access more transparent data and understand the tangible outcomes from their decision to invest sustainably, according to the firm.

Fingage Managed Account Solution Added to LT Trust Recordkeeping Platform

LT Trust has added Fingage’s managed account solution to its recordkeeping platform.

“In 20 years of working with pension plans, we never asked them about their subjective risk tolerance. Why do that with individual investors who lack investment training?” said Samer Habl, CEO of Fingage Advisors. “LT Trust and Fingage share similar views on the necessity of personalized participant-level retirement solutions that maximize participant retirement readiness and improve the investment experience through technology. We look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership.”

The partnership is said to help advisers strengthen their relationships with plan sponsors and participants by offering personalized investment strategies. In turn, sponsors are able to reduce their risk as plan fiduciaries by offering broad access to investment options and retirement planning services.

“We are excited about adding Fingage as a solution for personalized participant account management to our open architecture retirement platform,” said Bob Beriault, LT Trust’s President and CEO. “Fingage’s experience and approach to simplifying participant investing aligns nicely with LT Trust’s strategy of supporting advisers and making retirement planning easy for employers and participants.”

Franklin Templeton Acquisition Expands Alternatives and Fixed Income Offerings

Franklin Templeton will acquire Benefit Street Partners L.L.C. (BSP) to bolster alternative offerings and expand its fixed income capabilities.

BSP is based in New York, with five additional offices across the U.S. BSP offers a broad spectrum of investment capabilities to its investors, covering corporate performing and distressed private credit, structured credit and commercial real estate credit. The alternative credit asset class is seeing strong demand in a rising rate environment, with BSP generally focusing on high quality, primarily senior secured, floating rate debt.

“Expanding our alternatives capabilities has been a strategic focus area for Franklin Templeton, and this acquisition will position us to capitalize on the growing and sought after alternative credit segment,” said Jenny Johnson, president and COO of Franklin Templeton. “We’re consistently seeing investors augment their traditional fixed income portfolios with alternative credit to enhance their risk/reward characteristics. BSP brings new alternative solutions within private credit that complement Franklin Templeton’s existing alternatives and fixed income capabilities to meet the evolving needs of our clients.”