Investment Products and Services Launches

American Century reorganizes income fund; Nuveen releases ESG U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF; Voya enhances ETF model; and more.

Lazard Launches Equity Portfolio

The Lazard Equity Franchise Portfolio by Lazard Asset Management (LAM) seeks long-term returns by investing in companies that are considered to have an “economic franchise”—meaning they share a history of stable financial returns, strong earnings forecasts and sustainable competitive advantages.

The fund is managed in accordance with Lazard’s existing Global Equity Franchise strategy, which the team has managed since 2013. That investment team also manages the Lazard Global Listed Infrastructure Equity Portfolio, rated five-star by Morningstar, as of this June 30.

“We believe investing in a concentrated portfolio of companies with a history of predictable earnings and sustainable competitive advantages offers the potential for strong returns with lower volatility over the long term,” says Matthew Landy, portfolio manager of the Lazard Equity Franchise Portfolio.

For more information about LAM, visit

American Century Reorganizes Income Fund

American Century Investments has reorganized the Nomura High Yield Fund into its American Century High Income Fund.

The reorganized fund will aim to achieve current yield and capital growth, with Nomura Corporate Research and Asset Management (NCRAM) remaining as sub-adviser.

The fund’s benchmark is the Bank of America Merrill Lynch U.S. High Yield Constrained Index.

The American Century High Income Fund has typically invested at least 80% of net assets in a portfolio of high yield bonds generally rated below investment grade by Moody’s Investors Services, Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Rating Services or Fitch. NCRAM’s approach is opportunistic, seeking to capture credit market returns while minimizing losses, American Century notes.

“The Nomura investment team is seasoned investors with proven track records,” says Co-Chief Investment Officer (CIO) David MacEwen. “We believe this is an excellent opportunity for the firm to leverage its investment capability for the benefit of our clients.”

MacEwen adds, “Being able to tap into the team’s skill set serves as a testament to our strategic partnership with Nomura.”

In 2016, Nomura completed its purchase of a 41% non-controlling equity stake in American Century Investments.

Nuveen Releases ESG U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF

Adding to its NuShares series, Nuveen has launched a new exchange-traded fund (ETF), with investing objectives influenced by environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles.

The NuShares ESG U.S. Aggregate Bond ETF is designed to offer exposure to the U.S. investment-grade, taxable, fixed-income market while adhering to ESG principles. The ETF is trading on the NYSE Arca.

The ETF seeks to track the investment results of the Bloomberg Barclays MSCI US Aggregate ESG Select Index. As for the other ETFs in the ESG suite, the index methodology was created with the assistance of TIAA Investments.

“We are pleased to offer investors the opportunity to build a full asset-allocation portfolio that incorporates RI [responsible investment] principles and helps to align [clients’] full portfolio with their values in a transparent, tax-efficient and low-cost solution,” says Martin Kremenstein, senior managing director and head of ETFs at Nuveen.

For more information about the NuShares ESG ETFs, visit

Voya Enhances ETF Model

Voya Investment Management’s Global Perspectives Market Models (GPMM) ETF [exchange-traded fund] series has increased its use of BlackRock’s iShares ETFs, making iShares the exclusive provider across the entire lineup of ETFs in the GPMM series.

The GPMM series provides global diversification based on market fundamentals—a tactical asset allocation that aims to help investors maintain long-term investment discipline.

“The ETF landscape has evolved since the GPMM ETF series was launched nearly five years ago,” says Douglas Coté, Certified Financial Analyst (CFA), chief market strategist at Voya and the fund’s portfolio manager. “Increased focus on the fund’s tax efficiency, quality and performance led us to expand our partnership with BlackRock, as we believe iShares ETFs are best designed to meet our investors’ goals.”

The GPMM ETF Series is designed to help investors build wealth in rising markets and limit losses in bear markets by providing a lower-cost, globally diversified portfolio with the flexibility to shift into a defensive allocation position to help protect assets from market declines.

“This switch to iShares provides our investors with access to the industry-recognized, cutting-edge ETFs of iShares and also provides our clients with lower fees,” Coté notes.

iShares ETFs, managed by BlackRock, are used extensively by institutional investors. In addition to other firms, Voya’s retail broker/dealer (B/D) and registered investment adviser (RIA), Voya Financial Advisors, will offer the series to its national network of independent financial advisers.