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Tuesday, 16 August 2022 14:11

A Reg BI Lawsuit Could Cost You Millions

Western International Securities Inc., which is the first broker-dealer to be sued by the SEC for alleged violations of its Regulation Best-Interest fiduciary rule, is expected to spend at least $1 million on its defense. The broker-dealer is accused of failing to meet its fiduciary obligations by selling $13.3 million in high-risk, unrated junk bonds that were not in the best interest of retirees and other risk-averse retail customers. Western said it plans to “actively defend” itself against the SEC’s allegations. Brian Rubin, a partner at Eversheds Sutherland LLP, estimated that Western’s legal fees will cost anywhere from several hundred thousand dollars to well over $1 million. He believes that it’s likely that the SEC demanded too much to settle due to it being its first Reg BI enforcement case. Since the conduct took place after the effective date of Reg BI in June 2020, the SEC brought the charges under Reg BI as opposed to its predecessor suitability standard. 


FinsumWestern International Securities is expected to spend at least $1 million on attorney fees as it fights the first Reg BI lawsuit.

 

A $4 billion investment advisor based in Washington, D.C. recently announced the launch of a new suite of US Treasury ETFs that will make it easier for investors to access the US Treasury market. F/m Investments' new US Benchmark Series will allow investors to own each “Benchmark” US Treasury in a single-security ETF. Each fund will hold the most current US Treasury security that corresponds to its stated tenor. The initial three ETFs are the US Treasury 10 Year ETF (UTEN), the US Treasury 2 Year ETF (UTWO), and the US Treasury 3 Month Bill ETF (TBIL). While Treasuries are very liquid securities, they can be hard to trade. This is especially true for investors who must roll them over frequently to maintain maturity. The new ETFs will hold each maturity's most current Treasuries. 


Finsum: A new suite of single bond ETFs will provide investors access to a maturity’s most current treasury.

For investors with assets in active bond mutual funds, there has never really been a time to implement tax-loss harvesting. Tax-loss harvesting is the process of selling securities at a loss to offset capital gains tax due on the sale of other securities. Until this year, investors had mostly experienced gains in their fixed income holdings tracing back to the 2008-2009 financial crisis. However, due to significant losses in fixed income this year, an opportunity has arisen for investors to transition their assets to ETFs through tax-loss harvesting. According to Morningstar Direct data, US fixed income funds have seen more than $205 billion in redemptions during the first half of the year. Sales in taxable bond ETFs, on the other hand, while slowing, still generated $53.8 billion in net inflows during the same period. This has set the stage for tax-loss selling out of mutual funds and into ETFs.


Finsum: Losses in active bond funds this year sets the stage for tax-loss harvesting into fixed income ETFs.

Monday, 15 August 2022 10:03

Is ESG Cratering?

With apparent eroding client interest, ESGs might be losing some of their bang, according to thinkadvisor.com. In the past several months, 31% of advisors reported taking questions about ESG or socially responsible investing from clients. That’s down from 39% who indicated as much last year and in 2020.

Thirty four percent of advisors were found to tap or recommend these strategies to clients this year,  according to the survey. While that’s an uptick of 2 percentage points from 2021, it receded from a high of 38% in 2020.

Investmentnews.com reported in June that, in recent years, while a burgeoning percentage of financial advisors folded ESG investments options into their business, more now indicated they intend shore back on suggesting such investments, according to a survey.

While financial advisor use or recommendation of environmental, social and governance or ESG investing strategies have moved consistently along over the past four years, according to prnewswire.com. However, during the next  12 months, it could slip in use, according to the 2022 Trends in Investing Survey, conducted by the Journal of Financial Planning and the Financial Planning Association, as provided to prnewswire.com by the Financial Planning Association.

Monday, 15 August 2022 10:01

Rumbles growing for direct indexing

The rumble for a trend called direct indexing seems to be accelerating, as a burgeoning number of investors are displaying a demand for specialized portfolios, according to markettradingessentials.com. The upshot: eschewing ownership of a mutual or exchange traded fund, direct indexing’s flashing the wallet on stocks of an index, the site continued. The idea’s to hit to hit paydirt on, for example, tax efficiency, diversification or values-based investing.

“It says a lot that these large fund providers are leaning into direct indexing,” said Adam Grealish, head of investments at Altruist, an advisor platform with a direct indexing product. So, in light of the ascension of direct indexing, investors might be asking, pre tell, how to build a portfolio in which this strategy’s incorporated, according to corporate.vanguard.com. Well, presto, investors can cull ways to meet that goal through a framework available in Personalized indexing: A portfolio construction plan, a Vanguard research paper recently published.

“Our research represents a sensible starting point for potential direct indexing investors who want to include this strategy in their portfolios,” said Vanguard senior investment strategist Kevin Khang, Ph.D., one of the paper’s authors.

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