It appears that the growing adoption of model portfolios is driving inflows into municipal ETFs. In fact, this year’s inflows to muni ETFs are double the average of the last three years, with total assets sitting at $105 billion. Investors added a record $27.8 billion into muni-bond ETFs this year. Mutual funds, on the other hand, lost more than $130 billion. According to estimates by Drew Pettit, director of ETF analysis and strategy at Citigroup Inc, nearly half of the inflows came from mutual fund holders selling shares at a loss to offset gains and swapping into ETFs. The continued adoption of model portfolios by advisors should contribute to even more muni ETF growth. In an article on WealthManagement.com, it was noted that model managers such as FMR LLC’s Strategic Advisers, Wealthfornt Advisors, and Creative Planning are some of the largest holders of Vanguard and Blackrock muni ETFs. Pettit indicated that advisors like automated, off-the-shelf products which allow them to focus more on client relationships and growing their business. In a recent interview he stated that “When model portfolios get their teeth into an ETF or a group of ETFs, you start to see this stable, almost constant, drip of money coming into these products. And it’s really hard to unseat that.”
Finsum:Muni Bond ETFs saw a record $27.8 billion in inflows this year as a result of the growing adoption of model portfolios by financial advisors.
While many states are rushing to adopt an annuity sales rule revision, there are still some that are using the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) old sales rules and are not likely to move to the new version anytime soon. The NAIC adopted the Suitability in Annuity Transactions Model Regulation in 2010. The model required annuity sellers to verify that the annuities sold to consumers suit those consumers’ needs. In 2019, the SEC adopted Regulation Best Interest, which requires annuity sellers to document that they have acted in the best interests of annuity clients, rather than putting their interests first. The NAIC then adopted suitability model changes that were based on the SEC’s Reg BI standard in 2020. This has resulted in state officials that support Reg BI and those that oppose Reg BI. The states that haven’t moved to the new model are considered gray zones due to a map created that reflects the NAIC’s understanding of state adoption efforts. The states colored gray on that map indicates that they are far from implementing the NAIC’s 2020 suitability model changes. They include larger states such as California and Florida as well as smaller states such as New Hampshire and Vermont. The NAIC’s Annuity Suitability Working Group presented the implementation map Wednesday at the NAIC’s fall national meeting
Finsum:The NAIC updated its suitability model for annuity sales based on the SEC’s Reg BI, but several states are nowhere near close to adopting the new model.
Thornburg Investment Management recently introduced Thornburg Personal ESG Portfolios, a new separately managed account capability that can provide investors with the ability to emphasize ESG factors within their portfolios. The firm, which has $40 billion in client assets, said in a press release that “ESG is an organic extension of Thornburg's core investment competencies as a fundamental, bottom-up, active manager of global equities and global fixed income.” Thornburg will not outsource the ESG decisions. Instead, its analysts and portfolio managers will evaluate ESG information alongside other factors, grounded by materiality standards from the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board. The ESG Portfolios will be available through select financial advisory firms and platforms. As part of the announcement, Jason Brady, president & CEO of Thornburg investment management stated "We know that investing with ESG criteria can mean different things to different people. By addressing both these factors in Thornburg Personal ESG Portfolios, we seek to offer a unique opportunity for investors to personalize their portfolios to their ESG values."
Finsum:Investors will now have even more access to ESG-focused SMAs with the launch of the Thornburg Personal ESG Portfolios.
CAIS, a leading alternative investment platform, recently announced that global private equity firm Warburg Pincus selected CAIS to help expand its reach to independent advisors. CAIS provides financial advisors with a broad selection of alternative investment strategies, including hedge funds, private equity, private credit, real estate, digital assets, and structured notes. Warburg Pincus has more than $85 billion in assets under management and an active portfolio of more than 255 companies. Through the collaboration, CAIS will onboard a selection of Warburg Pincus funds to its platform, where they will be accessible to its vast independent advisory firms and teams. The private equity firm is looking to benefit from CAIS’ data-rich dashboard, which helps measure product interest and engagement from wealth management professionals using the platform. Chip Kaye, CEO of Warburg Pincus had this to say about the collaboration between the two firms, "This partnership helps us introduce our fund strategies to a wider audience of financial advisors and their clients. Having already served the independent wealth management ecosystem for more than a decade, CAIS provides the reach, knowledge, and technology stack required to bridge the gap between alternative asset managers and fiduciary professionals."
Finsum:Warburg Pincus is looking to expand the reach of its private equity funds to independent financial advisors through the CAIS investment platform.
Merrill Lynch recently announced that a $1 million plus producer from Ameriprise Financial has joined its private wealth unit team. Alex Miller, who was part of an Ameriprise Financial team with a billion-dollar book in Houston, joined Merrill’s Massey Schmidt Harper Group in Houston. The team is led by managing director Craig Lambert Massey and has $2.1 billion in team assets. At Ameriprise, Miller was part of Pennington Wealth Management, led by Darrell Pennington. The announcement follows several other new hires at Merrill in recent months, including producers in community markets that are outside its parent Bank of America’s branch footprint and junior brokers with fewer than 12 years of experience. The firm has also expanded its search to include higher offers for veteran brokers. For instance, last month it hired a team of private bankers managing around $1 billion from Citigroup in New York. They also nabbed a million-dollar producer from Morgan Stanley in Huntsville, Alabama, who joined through the firm’s community markets initiative. However, the firm is still seeing several high-producing teams heading for the door.
Finsum:As Merrill Lynchcontinues to lose several high-producing teams, the firm is making a recruiting push with the addition of a $1 million plus producer from Ameriprise Financial.
Last month, LPL Financial announced that it was acquiring Financial Resources Group Investment Services, an LPL branch office that supports financial institutions and advisors. The firm comprises approximately 800 advisors and serves approximately $40 billion of advisory and brokerage assets. Now that deal is paying off as LPL is adding another large team to Financial Resources. The firm was able to lure advisors David Rimkus, Donald Sharko, and Thomas Phelan to LPL and Financial Resources from LaSalle St. Securities. The three-advisor team rebranded its Orland Park, Illinois-based practice as Harbor Lighthouse Wealth Management. Harbor Lighthouse managed about $285 million in client assets at its previous firm and plans to use LPL as its brokerage, registered investment advisor, and custodian, and align with Financial Resources. Rimkus said in an interview that “The choice of Financial Resources enables Harbor Lighthouse to remain part of a firm more closely resembling the size of their prior midsize brokerage even as they became three out of the more than 21,000 advisors with LPL.” He also stated that “The need for technology enabling growth among new and existing clients and succession planning played a role in the move as well.”
Finsum:LPL's recent acquisition of Financial Resources Group is starting to pay dividends as another team of advisors that manages a combined $285 million in assets aligns with the branch.