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According to a recent report from Cerulli Associates, increased demand from financial advisors had led fund managers to include separately managed account (SMA) strategies into their model portfolios. Matt Apkarian, a senior analyst at Cerulli, told FundFire “Typically, model portfolios tap mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, but large asset managers are now seeing demand for SMAs, given their customization and tax-management capabilities.” According to FundFire, citing data from Cerulli, assets in model portfolios hit $2 trillion through the end of 2021. That was a 22% increase from the prior year. That included assets from home-office model portfolios and portfolios offered by asset managers, but excluded advisor-built model portfolios. Cerulli attributes the rise in assets to home offices directing their advisors to outsource investment management. The firm also believes that home offices will increase their model portfolio capabilities to compete with third-party strategists.

Finsum: SMA strategies are being incorporated into model portfolios as a result of advisor demand for more customization and tax management.

According to Sage Advisory in its recently released fourth annual stewardship report, ETF issuers offered much less manager disclosure and transparency regarding their ESG activities compared to their responses in the previous year’s report. The financial firm said that ETF firms had a “distinct change in tone” and “restrained language” in their responses to the survey. The firm attributes the drop in transparency to pending regulation in Europe and from the SEC that would require issuers to define ESG investments more clearly. Regulators are looking to crack down on firms that government agencies believe are overstating their fund’s ESG credentials, also known as greenwashing. The survey covered seven areas of stewardship such as proxy voting, climate and governance, and had a total of 69 questions. Based on its report, the firm believes that fines and proposed regulations could have both positive and negative consequences. The positive is that greenwashing could become less common, while the negative is that a lack of transparency could become an issue.

Finsum:As a result of pending regulations, ETF firms are becoming less transparent regarding their ESG activities.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 03:30

FINRA conference just can’t get enough Reg Bi

Not only did the SEC’s Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI) take effect about two years ago, since then, its had tongues wagging, according to The topic continued to flash plenty of energy at FINRA’s recent 2022 Annual Conference.

So, what insights have been gained since Reg Bi was implanted and, to this point, what’s clicked for firms? Have any conflicts been isolated?

A few pieces:

1.) FINRA will be Conducting Deeper Reg BI Exams

FINRA wasted no time acknowledging that, down the road, it will undertake deeper reviews of Reg Bi and Form CRS.

2.) Audits Unveiled Some Good (and Bad) Behaviors

3.) Product Decision Trees Should be Documented

4.) Training/Policies Needs to go Beyond Rule Definitions

Meantime, senators recently were informed by Gary Gensler, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, that additional resources are required by the agency, according to The exam division’s “work is essential to ensuring strong compliance across the board,” including “work to test for compliance with Regulation Best Interest,” he continued.

The enforcement division’s “doing more with less,” Gensler said in testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, the site continued.

The tip line was burning in fiscal 2021, with the agency handling 46,000 tips, complaints and public referrals, the chair added. Five years earlier, that number stood at about 16,000.

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 03:28

Sustainable spend report a new wrinkle for ESGs


A little nip and tuck? 

Well, let’s just say someone hit refresh on ESGs, culminating in the sustainable spend report, which provides an overview of the organization’s ESG performance, according to How? Details…details, eh? Well, by dispensing detailed reports of spend with ESG certified supplies. 

Emissions reduction, sustainable sourcing, energy management, and animal welfare are among ESG certifications.

Thanks to this feature, TealBook customers with Elite license, make out. That’s because – with no extra effort -- this features lifts spend data capabilities, the site continued. On top of that, customers can filter by time period, take a gander at spend based on ESG category through the report.

The site describes the sustainability spend report as “a powerful new tool that enables customers to make procurement decisions that align with their organization’s policies and business strategies.”

To help define your ESG strategy, goal setting is integral, according to

To start establishing its ESG objectives, your company can keep a few steps in mind:

*Understand the value of ESG goal setting

*Assess your ESG baseline before you set your goals

*Familiarize yourself with and set SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time) goals.

*Measure ESG goals and set timelines by creating KPIs

*Share and announce your ESG goals

Think only a number cruncher can efficiently convert tax losses into assets?

Well, why it might not carry engraved business cards, direct indexing also can turn that trick, according to

Case in point: with clouds threatening a repeat performance in the portfolios of your clients this year – especially in light of the volatility more than making its presence felt in the financial markets. Sure, with intense inflation, the Ukraine war and supply chain headaches putting a dent in corporate profits, the Fed’s stoking rates at a seemingly breakneck pace. Yeah; yowser. That said, however, the market’s volatility yields an idyllic chance to not only tax loss harvest but also showcase how direct indexing – with room to spare, most effectively experiences the reverberations of tax loss harvesting benefits, the site continues.

Against the backdrop of volatility, of course, with direct indexing, the investors owns the individual securities rather than a comingled fund, according to While losses absorbed on receding stocks belong to them, down the line, those setbacks can be leveraged to offset gains. That can mean a significant boost toward paring down the tax bill of the investor.


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