LPL recently announced that it nabbed two advisors from Securities America. Eric Fenton and Rodney Wangler, who operate as Fenton Wangler Financial, and are based in Vancouver, Washington, will link up with the JFC Advisor Network, which conducts brokerage and advisory business through LPL Financial. The duo managed a combined $300 million in advisory, brokerage, and retirement plan assets at Securities America. Fenton has been in the industry since 1989. He started with Mutual Service Corporation but has also been affiliated with The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Pruco Securities Corporation, Mony Securities Corporation, Carillon Investments, Sunset Financial Services, SII Investments, and Securities America. Wangler started his career in 1996 with Pruco Securities Corporation. He has also been registered with Mony Securities Corporation, Carillon Investments, Sunset Financial Services, SII Investments, and Securities America. In a statement, Fenton had this to say about the move, “LPL invests heavily in its innovative technology, which is critical to keep pace in this ever-changing environment. We recognized that we needed a platform such as LPL’s ClientWorks where everything is connected, making it easier to do business. Our clients will also appreciate Account View, where they can easily view reports and account information in one place.”
Finsum:A duo from Securities America made the move to LPL due to the firm’s investments in innovative technology, which make it easier to do business.
Blackrock expanded its fixed-income ETF lineup with the launch of the BlackRock AAA CLO ETF (CLOA). The fund, which was launched on January 10th, seeks to provide capital preservation and current income by investing principally in a portfolio composed of U.S. dollar-denominated AAA-rated collateralized loan obligations (CLOs). According to Investopedia, a CLO is a bundle of loans that are ranked below investment grade. While the underlying loans are rated below investment grade, most CLO tranches are typically rated investment grade due to credit enhancements and diversification. CLOs have historically only been available to institutional investors, but Janus Henderson launched the first CLO fund in an ETF wrapper in October 2020. That fund, the Janus Henderson AAA CLO ETF (JAAA) was clearly able to find an audience since the fund currently has close to $2 billion in assets under management. This bodes well for CLOA, which has an expense ratio of 0.20%, six basis points cheaper than JAAA. Investors have been attracted to CLOs due to low volatility, low downgrade risk, and low correlations with traditional fixed-income assets. CLOA currently has a weighted average coupon of 5.40 and a weighted average maturity of 4.24 years.
Finsum: Blackrock launched an AAA CLO ETF to take advantage of investor CLO interest due to low volatility, low downgrade risk, and low correlations with traditional fixed income.
Recent developments in the wealth management space are expected to fuel the adoption of direct indexing by advisors over the next few years. We previously reported that direct indexing is expected to grow at an annualized rate of 12.3%, according to Cerulli Associates. In a separate survey by FTSE Russell in conjunction with Aite-Novarica, 80% of wealth and asset management firms expressed major interest in offering direct-indexing products to advisors, with 76% ranking the strategy as a top priority over the next year. Developments such as zero-commission trading and fractional shares are expected to help fuel the adoption of direct indexing among advisors. For instance, Charles Schwab and Fidelity both launched direct-indexing offerings last year with low investment minimums at $100,000 and $5,000, respectively. This could potentially bring these strategies into the mainstream. In addition, Fidelity's strategy incorporates fractional shares, while Altruist launched a direct-indexing product last April with a $2,000 minimum. Plus, according to an FTSE Russell spokesperson, “More large custodians and other players entering the space could fuel adoption among registered investment advisors.” Ninety percent of firms polled by FTSE Russell ranked RIAs as a major opportunity for the adoption and distribution of these strategies.
Finsum:Recent developments such as low investment minimums, fractional shares, and more players entering the space are expected to help fuel the adoption of direct indexing among advisors.
Last month, the Vanguard Group decided to drop out of the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative, whose members commit to making their investment portfolios emission-neutral by 2050. The decision by Vanguard emphasizes the notion that retail investors are less focused on ESG priorities than institutional investors. The fund giant said that 80% of its nearly $8 trillion in assets are in index funds, which typically attract retail investors. The rationale for the decision, according to Vanguard was that it was responding to the desire of its clients to provide "clarity" and make its independence clear. Vanguard's largest competitors, BlackRock and State Street rely more on institutional investors such as pension funds and foundations. Todd Rosenbluth, head of research at VettaFi told Reuters that “Institutional investors focus more on climate and other ESG priorities amid pressure to do so by clients, regulators and investment activists. BlackRock and State Street are appealing to an investment base that cares more about ESG." Both BlackRock and State Street have stuck with the Net Zero Asset Managers initiative. Rosenbluth also stated that “Many retail investors are also interested in matters like climate change, but prioritize them less in building retirement portfolios.” That matches a FINRA Investor Education Foundation study of retail investors last year that found only 9% of respondents held ESG investments.
Finsum:Many retail investors are interested in climate change, but prioritize them less in building portfolios, while institutional investors focus more on ESG amid pressure from clients, regulators, and activists.
Principal Asset Management recently announced that it is enhancing its fintech-enabled model portfolios by incorporating individual bonds as an option for the portfolios. The company collaborated with YieldX and Smartleaf Asset Management to offer the only full portfolio direct indexing solution, enabling advisors to expand the capabilities of direct indexing beyond equities to individual bonds. Principal launched fintech-enabled model portfolios last year in collaboration with Smartleaf to make it easy to construct and manage custom portfolios. As part of the announcement, Jill Brown, Principal's managing director of U.S. Wealth Platform, stated, “We are the first asset manager to work with YieldX to incorporate individual bonds into model portfolios, making the combinations of mutual funds, ETFs, individual equities, and now individual bonds available through our 37 model portfolios even more powerful.” Adam Green, CEO of YieldX added “Through the addition of capabilities from YieldX, advisors will now have the option to include individual fixed-income securities.”
Finsum:Principal collaborated with YieldX and Smartleaf to offer individual bonds as part of its direct indexing model portfolios.