Wealth Management

Fund giant BlackRock is warning regulators that the SEC's new proposed rules to fight greenwashing by fund managers could create more confusion and lead investors to think their holdings are more socially conscious than they are. Specifically, the firm is concerned over a key detail in the proposal that would require managers to say how ESG issues fit into strategies that also consider other factors. It sent a letter to the SEC arguing that the detail could mislead investors about how much environmental, social, and governance issues factors into stock and bond decisions. The SEC had proposed new regulations for ESG funds in May, which are expected to be finalized in the coming months. BlackRock’s argument has been echoed by industry trade groups such as the Investment Company Institute and the Managed Funds Association. However, these arguments are unlikely to stop the SEC’s crackdown on ESG labels.

Finsum:Blackrock sent a letter to the SEC warning that the new proposed rules on ESG labels will only muddy the waters.

iCapital, a leading global fintech platform, announced today that it agreed to acquire UBS Fund Advisor LLC, UBS’s legacy proprietary US alternative investment manager. The agreement also includes the feeder fund platform that UBS manages. The platform, which is also referred to as “AlphaKeys Funds,” represents more than $7 billion in client assets. It includes private equity, hedge fund, and real estate feeder funds. iCapital will now manage and operate the platform, while UBS Financial Advisors continue to serve their high and ultra-high net worth clients that hold feeder funds. UBS became an investor in iCapital in 2017 and entered into a strategic relationship to structure new feeder funds going forward. It also integrated iCapital’s proprietary technology into its private fund operations. In 2021, the partnership was enhanced to further digitize the UBS Advisor experience. The transaction is expected to close sometime this year.

Finsum:iCapital, which has had a long-standing relationship with UBS, is acquiring its Alternative Investments Feeder Fund Platform which represents more than $7 billion in client assets.

With most stocks falling yesterday, the Cboe Volatility Index (VIX), also known as Wall Street’s fear gauge, jumped 15.5% to close the day at 23.80. This was the index’s highest closing level in almost three weeks. This resulted in volatility-related ETFs seeing large jumps in performance. For instance, the ProShares VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (VIXY) rose 6.5% on the day, while the leveraged ProShares Ultra VIX Short-Term Futures ETF (UVXY) jumped 9.7%. The VIX had previously been on a downturn since the market bottomed in June, but with anxiety beginning to hit investors once again, volatility is returning. The jump in the VIX can be attributed to investors anticipating another round of interest hikes in September. Plus, last Thursday’s month-end options expirations likely contributed to a resurgence in volatility. 

Finsum: Month-end option expirations and concerns over additional rate hikes drove the VIX higher yesterday, resulting in strong returns for volatility ETFs.

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