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Saturna Capital Launches Clean Shares for Two Funds: Portfolio Products.

Byline: Emily Zulz

Saturna Capital Corporation announced the launch of Z Shares for the Sextant Growth (SGZFX) and Sextant International Funds (SIFZX). The Z class shares are a lower-cost option with no sales loads and distribution or service fees.

With the launch of these new shares, all of Saturna's mutual funds now have a clean share option for professional and individual investors.

(Related: MFS Adds Funds With CyClean Shares')

A growing number of firms -- MFS most recently -- have been offering these lower cost "clean shares" to advisors in light of the DOL fiduciary rule. Clean shares, as defined by the Securities and Exchange Commission, are characterized by a lack any ongoing distribution expenses, sub-transfer agency, or recordkeeping fees, and that financial intermediaries transact shares solely on an agency basis.

(Related: Morningstar: Industry's Idea of Clean Shares May Not Be Clean Enough)

Saturna Capital's CEO, Jane Carten said in a statement: "Our clean shares offering is intended to meet the growing demand for lower costs and fee transparency in the mutual fund industry. In the changing environment for investment products and uncertainty around the Department of Labor's Fiduciary rule, Saturna prioritizes investors' best interest."

The Z shares differ from investor shares with lower expense ratios, potentially different distributions, different net asset values (NAV) and returns, and different ticker symbols, but the investment objective of each fund and minimum investment amounts remain the same.

Shareholders of both funds were automatically moved to the new share class on July 11 unless otherwise requested.

Carlson Capital Management offers new Minnesota municipal bond Carlson Capital Management announced that it added Dimensional Fund Advisors' new Minnesota municipal bond portfolio to its investment lineup as part of its commitment to providing clients with a low-cost, diversified option that enhances their portfolio while also supporting the local infrastructure.

The DFA MN Municipal Bond Portfolio (DMNBX), which was launched by Dimensional Fund Advisors LP in July, offers an expense ratio that is approximately 37% less than the expense ratio for the lowest cost Minnesota municipal bond fund available as of July 3, based on Carlson Capital Management's research. Its expense ratio is 31 basis points.

The fund seeks to provide current income that is expected to be exempt from federal personal income taxes and Minnesota state personal income taxes.

CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions launches PlanOnTarget

CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions launched PlanOnTarget, a major business expansion that will provide advisors, plan sponsors and third-party administrators with enhanced technology capabilities.

The expansion includes an upgraded website and recordkeeping and data management capabilities. PlanOnTarget delivers several new efficiencies for advisors, such as an online summary of an advisor's book of business, easy navigation between plans and enhanced analytics. New self-service dashboards enable easier plan management, including benchmarking, plan design, retirement readiness, and financial and investment performance.

The new technology is now available and included with new plans at no additional cost. PlanOnTarget is part of an ongoing multi-million dollar investment in CUNA Mutual Retirement Solutions' technology and digital capabilitie.

TruValue Labs launches ESG Momentum Score in suite of new timely ESG metrics

TruValue Labs announced the ESG MomentumScore, which quantifies the positive or negative environment, social, and corporate governance (ESG) momentum of a company.

(Related: 2 Very Different Approaches to Sustainable Investing)

The score reveals the direction, or trend, of ESG performance based on daily data. Much of ESG data is based on annual, company self-reported information, but TruValue Labs leverages AI technology to analyze unstructured data, creates ESG performance scores based on non-company disclosed data and updates on a continuous basis. Unlike annually produced ESG ratings, TruValue Labs' scores incorporate events as they occur.

The ESG Momentum Score will now be available as part of TruValue Labs' Insight360 suite of products.

Western Asset partners with Flat Rock Global, a new alternative asset manager

Western Asset, a global, fixed-income manager with $429 billion in assets under management as of June 30, has taken a minority ownership stake in alternative asset manager Flat Rock Global.

John Thomson of Thomson Equity also invested alongside Western Asset. The investment supports Flat Rock Global's investment strategies, including their initial fund, Flat Rock Capital Corp., a business development company focused on investing in first lien, floating rate debt of middle market companies.

Flat Rock Global exclusively offers its funds through registered investment advisors (RIAs), family offices and institutional investors with a single institutional style share class.

AutoShares announces a new trading platform in partnership with ETNA

AutoShares, a full service online broker-dealer with a focus on automatic investing, and fintech firm ETNA announced the launch of a new web-based trading platform for AutoShares.

AutoShares partnered with ETNA in early 2017 to private label ETNA Trader, which is an all-in-one white label online trading platform for brokers, trading firms and FinTech startups that ETNA launched in 2012.

AutoShares also adopted ETNA API as a primary means of connectivity with their algo trading and robo-advisory clients. ETNA API for robo-advisors automates trade execution and compliance for digital financial advisors and alternative investment platforms.

--Read last week's roundup here: Harvest Returns Launches Agriculture Investment Platform: Portfolio Products
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Publication:ThinkAdvisor
Date:Aug 14, 2017
Words:847
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