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Launches of investment products and services

Schwab Asset Management cuts fees for 10 funds

Schwab Asset Management, the asset management arm of The Charles Schwab Corporation, announced the reduction in the operating expense ratios of 10 passively managed exchange-traded funds and actively managed mutual funds.

These changes are in addition to fee reductions that took place in December 2021 for five other fixed income ETFs. In February of this year, the net operating expense ratio of Schwab International Opportunities Fund, an actively managed mutual fund, was also reduced from 1.25% to 0.83%.

“We continually review our range of profitable products to find new opportunities to reduce investor spending,” says David Botset, managing director, head of equity product management and innovation at Schwab Asset Management. “We are committed to providing affordable, accessible and scalable products, and we are very pleased to be able to continue to make our customers the beneficiaries of our strategic direction.”

LeafHouse Financial Services Announces New DCIO Service

LeafHouse Financial Services LLC has announced that its investGrade service is online for defined contribution investment professionals only. InvestGrade focuses on the “democratization of data” to increase the free flow of information in the pension industry.

According to the company, this approach promotes transparency and enables people to make informed decisions to increase positive results and reduce costs. Early adopters will be able to pilot future features, the company adds.

The cloud-based service creates an efficient solution that puts data to work for advisors, employers and their employees, according to the company. InvestGrade developers integrate over a decade of technology research and development experience working with advisors, archivists, third-party administrators, and DCIO companies to create an interactive ecosystem.

Through this service, investment managers can explore over 100,000 unique investments. It also offers filters and comparison tools that include a cumulative grade point average system.

The GPA scoring approach is designed as an easy to understand grade on investments ranging from 1.0 to 4.0. The GPA applies to pension plan funds, including mutual funds and index funds. This allows investment managers to compare fund performance data and realign resources. This independent data exchange allows DCIOs to aggregate the assets, positions and plans of all archivists in one place with the appropriate license agreements.

InvestGrade partners with projekt202, which specializes in designing and building end-to-end user-centric experiences across multiple verticals and segments. The service will be available to advisors in the fall and will include a “freemium model,” meaning advisors will be able to use the standard version at no cost with upgrade and customization options.

Russell Investments Expands Custom Managed Accounts

Russell Investments has expanded its suite of custom managed accounts with the launch of two additional direct indexed options that provide customizable exposure to international and basic equities.

The company’s PMA suite now includes eight separately managed accounts that combine actively managed equity SMAs with directly indexed SMAs. These solutions leverage technology to help investors achieve optimal after-tax growth and earnings, according to the company.

LDCs offer a wide range of custom overlay and exclusion services, including maximizing after-tax wealth, developing an optimal tax-efficient transition plan, aligning specific ESG preferences with investments, diversifying concentrated stock positions and limiting purchases of stocks or industries that the client already owns or is biased against.

Russell Investments’ PMA solution includes a dedicated team of portfolio managers, quantitative research analysts and service teams. They also offer centralized trading and enforcement, as well as automated year-round tax management capabilities, including tax loss harvesting, fictitious sales minimization, tax-smart turnover and the management of the detention period.

Ultimately, accounts aim to help clients achieve desired results by minimizing the impact of taxes and transaction costs while maintaining tracking error on a target portfolio.

The newly added Custom Direct Indexed Core Equity SMA seeks to provide long-term capital growth through an allocation to US and international developed market equities. It is designed to track the performance of a mixed allocation to the Russell 3000 index and the MSCI World ex USA (Net) index. The new International Indexed Direct Custom SMA aims to provide long-term capital growth from non-US developed market equities. It is designed to track the performance of the MSCI World ex-USA (Net) index.