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GE looks to sell asset management arm
Asset Management
<p>General Electric is looking at a potential sale of its asset management arm, reports the Wall Street Journal.</p> <p>GE has expressed interest in cutting extraneous units to focus on its core industrial businesses. The asset management arm has $115 billion in assets from GE's U.S. benefits plans, as well as third party institutional investors. Proceeds of a potential sale will go to GE Pension Trust. GE Asset Management would still remain plan sponsor and fiduciary for the company's plan benefits following a sale.</p> <p>GE Asset Management is separate from the financial services unit GE Capital, but GE is moving to shrink that business as well.<br /> Photo: Diana Parkhouse<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Legg Mason cracks into growing ETF field
Asset Management
<p>Legg Mason isn't one to be left out. The Baltimore-based asset manager is breaking into ETFs.</p> <p>The $696 billion, multi-boutique Legg Mason requested regulator approval for its first four ETFs last week, reports InvestmentNews. Legg Mason CEO Joseph Sullivan has pushed to revitalize his firm after it was decimated during  and after the financial crisis. The ever-popular ETFs offer Legg the growth Sullivan is so fervently seeking.</p> <p>The four new ETFs include: developed ex-U.S. diversified core ETF, emerging markets diversified core ETF, the U.S. diversified core ETF, and the low volatility high dividend ETF. Legg affiliate QS Investors has developed the proprietary technology for the funds.</p> <p>U.S. listed ETFs brought in $2.4 billion in net new assets last month, according to ETFGI. The funds are raking in cash, posting net inflows of $219.7 billion globally during the first eight months of 2015, a 16% increase from the same period during 2014.<br /> Photo: Liam Quinn</p>
KKR snaps up stake in Marshall Wace
Asset Management
<p>Its competitors may be shutting down hedge funds right and left, but for private equity luminary KKR, now seems to be the time to get in, and in a big way.</p> <p>The Wall Street Journal reports that the vaunted private equity firm has taken a 24.9% stake in Marshall Wace (MW), the London-based, $22 billion long-short equity hedge fund run by Paul Marshall and Ian Wace.</p> <p>How much KKR valued its stake is currently unclear, though the acquisition was apparently a stock and cash deal with MW partners receiving 7.4 million shares in KKR worth $20 each.</p> <p>It isn’t just a straight-up purchase though; according to the Independent, the sale comes in two stages. The first involves an injection of cash from KKR which will be locked up until 2020, with the aforementioned KKR stock vesting in 2018, and in the next comes a possible 15% increase in KKR’s stake at the firm by 2019, with half of the additional proceeds reinvested in the fund and the other half used to snap up KKR stock until 2022, the time when Marshall, Wace, and Anthony Clarke get to cash out of the deal.</p> <p>None of them seem to be particularly eager to do so however, as Ian Wace told the WSJ:<br /> “We were never interested in a financial deal…This is all about the next 18 years of our life, not the first 18 years of our life.”<br /> The move effectively returns KKR smack bang on the hedge fund map, a place it was initially hesitant to join in and was ultimately unsuccessful at following the closure of its Goldman Sachs Principal Strategies group-manned hedge fund last year.<br /> Photo: Esther Dyson</p>
Stage set for first mainland ETF liquidation
Asset Management
<p>It’s pretty safe to say that the past few months have not been kind to the U.S. asset management industry. Here’s a story on Carlyle shutting down some of its funds, and here’s another one on hedge funds getting burned on Black Monday. Well, things aren’t so different over in mainland China:<br />  “ChangSheng Fund Management has asked its unitholders for approval to shut down its Shanghai-listed SSE Market Value Top 100 Index ETF. The Beijing-based manager has invited unitholders to attend a meeting in October for them to vote on the ETF liquidation proposal, according to a statement from the manager.”<br /> Apparently, this will be the first ever ETF liquidation in China according to Asia Asset, and it may be the harbinger of more closures to come as several mutual funds – including a QDII status fund – race to close up shop.</p> <p>ChangSheng has yet to receive approval though, and would need at least two-thirds of the fund's holders to vote in favor of liquidation in order to proceed, but given it’s 25% decline in July alone, chances are high that the DBS-backed firm will receive enough votes for it to push through.</p> <p>The fund, which was launched just two years ago, had just $3.2 million in NAV as of the end of June.<br /> Photo: Robert Daly</p>
U.S. ETFs/ETPs gathered $2.4 billion in new assets in August
Asset Management
<p>LONDON — September 9, 2015 — After a roller coaster August for investors, ETFs/ETPs listed in the United States gathered just US$2.4 billion in net new assets, according to ETFGI’s preliminary ETF and ETP global insights report for August 2015.</p> <p>In the first eight months of 2015 record levels of net new assets have been gathered by ETFs/ETPs listed globally, with net inflows of US$219.7 Bn marking a 16% increase over the prior record set during the first eight months of 2014. In the United States net inflows reached US$127.5 Bn, which is 19% higher than the prior record set last year, while in Europe year to date (YTD) net inflows climbed to US$59.7 Bn, representing a 17% increase on the record set YTD through end of August 2014. In Japan, YTD net inflows were up 74% on the record set last year, standing at US$28.9 Bn at the end of August 2015.</p> <p>“Worries about China’s stock market, currency and economy mixed with falling commodity prices helped to cause a correction in the US stock market. Investors in the United States are concerned given the uncertainty of when the Fed will raise interest rates. The S&amp;P 500 index ended August down 6%.", according to Deborah Fuhr, managing partner at ETFGI.</p> <p>At the end of August 2015, the US ETF/ETP industry had 1,768 ETFs/ETPs, assets of US$2.03 trillion, from 85 providers listed on 3 exchanges.<br /> U.S. ETFs/ETPs see net inflows of US$2.4 Bn in August<br /> In August 2015, ETFs/ETPs listed in the United States gathered net inflows of US$2.4 Bn.  Fixed income ETFs/ETPs gathered the largest net inflows with US$4.7 Bn, followed by commodity ETFs/ETPs with net inflows of US$822 Mn while equity ETFs/ETPs experienced the largest net outflows with US$6.4 Bn.</p> <p>YTD through end of August 2015, ETFs/ETPs have gathered net inflows of US$127.5 Bn.  Equity ETFs/ETPs gathered the largest net inflows YTD with US$83.9 Bn, followed by fixed income ETFs/ETPs with US$30.1 Bn, and commodity ETFs/ETPs with US$1.5 Bn.</p> <p>Vanguard gathered the largest net ETF/ETP inflows in August with US$3.6 Bn, followed by Deutsche Bank AG (NYSE:DB) (ETR:DBK) (FRA:DB) x-trackers with US$1.4 Bn, VelocityShares with US$1.3 Bn, ProShares with US$969 Mn and Schwab ETFs with US$812 Mn net inflows.</p> <p>YTD, Vanguard gathered the largest net ETF/ETP inflows with US$49.2 Bn, followed by iShares with US$46.8 Bn, WisdomTree with US$20.8 Bn, Deutsche Bank x-trackers with US$15.9 Bn and First Trust with US$9.2 Bn in net inflows.</p> <p>This article was originally published by ValueWalk. <br /> Photo: GotCredit<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Does Morgan Stanley add value for investors?
Asset Management
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>In an April 21, 2015 column, New York Times reporter Nathaniel Popper observed that, over the last few years, a growing line of mutual funds created by the likes of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo have attracted billions of dollars from investors looking to earn a good return.</p> <p>Popper noted that in the latest 10-year period, Morningstar data showed that only 38% of Morgan Stanley’s mutual funds outperformed their analyst-assigned benchmarks. Thus, while the fees these funds have generated are among the few consistent bright spots of growth on Wall Street, there is still a question for investors: Have these banks’ actively managed mutual funds actually been good investment choices?</p> <p>Today, I’ll provide further insights into that question as I continue my series evaluating the performance of the market’s foremost actively managed fund families with an in-depth look at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.</p> <p>According to Morningstar, as of April 30, 2015, Morgan Stanley had over $34 billion in assets under management in mutual funds. The firm’s website states: “Morgan Stanley Investment Management strives to provide outstanding long-term investment performance and best-in-class service to a diverse client base, which includes governments, institutions, corporations and individuals worldwide. Our global structure leverages the breadth, depth and access of the Morgan Stanley franchise to provide our clients a comprehensive suite of investment management solutions.”</p> <p>Does Morgan Stanley deliver on what they strive for? Have its funds been adding value for investors, or was the firm the real beneficiary?</p> <p>Active versus passive</p> <p>As is my practice, I’ll compare the performance of Morgan Stanley’s actively managed equity funds to similar fund offerings from two prominent providers of passively managed funds, Dimensional Fund Advisors (DFA) and Vanguard. (Full disclosure: My firm, Buckingham, recommends DFA funds in constructing client portfolios.)</p> <p>To keep the list to a manageable number of funds, and to make sure I examine long-term results through full economic cycles, the period covered will be the 15 years from April 2000 through March 2015. I’ll use the lowest-cost shares when more than one class of fund is available for the full period. In cases where Morgan Stanley has more than one fund in an asset class, I’ll use the average return of its funds in the comparison. The table below shows the performance of 13 of Morgan Stanley’s mutual funds covering seven asset classes – five domestic funds and eight international funds.</p> <p>April 2000 - March 2015</p> <p>Fund<br /> Symbol<br /> Annualized Return (%)<br /> Expense Ratio (%)</p> <p>U.S. Large Growth</p> <p>Morgan Stanley Multi-Cap Growth<br /> CPODX<br /> 0.2<br /> 0.92</p> <p>Morgan Stanley Institutional Opportunity<br /> MGELX<br /> 3.0<br /> 1.67</p> <p>Morgan Stanley Institutional Growth<br /> MSEGX<br /> 4.0<br /> 0.96</p> <p>Consulting Group Large Cap Growth<br /> TLGUX<br /> 1.9<br /> 0.67</p> <p>Morgan Stanley Average</p> <p>2.3<br /> 1.06</p> <p>Vanguard Growth Index</p>
Friendly fire helped to blow up ETFs on Black Monday
Asset Management
<p>ETFs traded like drunken sailors on Black Monday, practically throwing themselves overboard.</p> <p>Recall on August 24, some ETFs traded at a 50% discount to the underlying baskets of stocks that they reference.</p> <p>Is that anyway for a $2 trillion-plus market to act, even if the Dow Jones Industrials tumbles 10% at the open?</p> <p>No. It is not. Credit Suisse estimates that 42 cents of every dollar traded on U.S. exchanges is for an ETF.  A lot of industry insiders have said some self-serving stuff. Or retail investors shouldn't set market orders. Thanks for the advice.</p> <p>Barron's takes a deep dive into what happend on August 24 and comes up with some pretty interesting observations. Observation numero uno: New regulations put in place after the June 2010 flash crash made things much worse. Namely: 327 ETFs were forced to halt trading for five minutes; some were halted more than 10 times.</p> <p>What would you do if suddenly you had no idea how much the ETFs you were trading were worth? Or more important, what would a market maker do? Widen the hell out of the spread. And then you get iShares Core S&amp;P 500 tumbling 26%, more than 20 percentage points below the underlying stocks for the $65 billion ETF. This is the stuff of panic.<br /> “Aug. 24 highlighted the fragility of ETFs in a stressed market,” says James Angel, a professor at Georgetown University who specializes in the functioning of the stock market. “The characteristics of the products aren’t going to change, so we need to contain that fragility.”<br /> Later this month, the SEC's equity market structure committee is holding a meeting. Let's hope ETF structure is top of the agenda.</p> <p>Read the entire analysis at Barron's here. It's very good stuff.<br /> Photo: Official U.S. Navy Page</p>
September swoon for ETFs could continue in the week ahead
Asset Management
<p>U.S. stocks ended last week in miserable fashion as all three major U.S. indexes slumped more than 1 percent on Friday. For the week, the S&amp;P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq Composite each lost at least 2.6 percent.</p> <p>With those dismal numbers in mind, perhaps it is a good thing that the week ahead will be shortened by the Labor Day holiday because while the bull market is still in tact, investors' enthusiasm for riskier assets is clearly waning. Emerging markets stocks and exchange traded funds continue to confirm as much.</p> <p>Read more at Benzinga.<br /> Photo: Rich Herrmann</p>
ETFs may wobble, but can they 'flash crash'?
Asset Management
<p>Wobbly markets and international turmoil can get the best of even a seasoned investor. Take a look at what happened in the world of ETFs. When the Dow Jones Industrials plunged 10% on Black Monday, some ETFs went all haywire. The much-loved vehicle for Main Street suddenly stopped making sense.</p> <p>Kim Arthur, of Main Management, told ETF.com that the August 24 mayhem was  reminiscent of the May 2010 flash crash.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Just to recall what happened: In the early trading hours, ETFs suffered a massive sell-off, with some funds seeing close to 50% losses. The iShares Select Divident fund was down 36%. And the Guggenheim S&amp;P 500 Equal Weight dropped 42%. Skittish investors sold the funds at huge discounts, only to see the security prices bounce back in minutes. Some investors were stalled for up to 20 minutes trying to log into their accounts, creating pent-up sell stops that slammed the market.</p> <p>Arthur says players aren't playing close enough attention to trade executions and keeping realistic bid/ask spreads.<br /> “I had thought, along with that flash crash in 2010, [regulators] told market makers they had to have some reasonable tolerance within your bid and your offers; otherwise, you cannot be making a market. You have to get out of the way,” Arthur said. “It seems like we saw that again [August 24].”<br /> Not so, says Ed Rosenberg, head of ETF Capital Market and Analytics for FlexShares. You can't compare the original "flash crash" of 2010 to a quick downturn in ETFs, he argues.  “Its almost impossible for the ETFs to crash on their own,” says Rosenberg. ETFs are tied so closely to the underlying securities that there needs to be serious price dislocation from securities for that to happen. Price dislocations do happen, but they self correct within seconds. "Those last so short it's unbelievable," says Rosenberg.</p> <p>The market did exactly what it was supposed to do August 24, but ETF investors freaked out, writes Dave Nadig in FactSet. For example during the first hour of the market's open, trading in the Guggenheim S&amp;P 500 Equal Weight ETF (RSP) only happened in 15 to 30 second bursts between halts. Any move of more than 10% within a five minute window triggers a halt, meaning trading halted four times on down moves and six times on up moves.</p> <p>Most investors are "smart enough to treat their ETFs...as long term asset allocation vehicles," says Nadig. The day to day swings can be scary, but most people recognize that it's part of holding such an investment.</p> <p>Investors do need to understand that an ETF isn't to be traded like a stock, says Rosenberg. ETFs seem to trade like stocks, but stocks are driven by supply and demand, where ETFs are tied to the underlying securities, he says.</p> <p>Unlike mutual funds, which just trade once a day at the closing net asset value price, ETFs have to weather the daily trading storms, says Ben Carlson in his blog "A Wealth of Common Sense." "Whenever something goes wrong in the markets (read: losses), people tend to look for someone or something to blame," writes Carlson. It's not the ETFs' fault if an investor put in a sell order and gets stuck with the market's price for the fund. ETF traders should expect this, but long term investors needn't worry. Panics can and will happen on occasion, says Carlson. The trick is just to not be forc</p>
Top Ten Investment Scams Ever
Asset Management
<p>Every year, over 31 million purchasers are victimized by investment fraud. The medium loss per investor is roughly $15,000. Individual losses run into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Most remarkable is that financial swindle targets ranked above financial non-victims with percentages of 58% and 41% respectively.</p> <p>Why do many get scammed The #1 rule in fraud is "Don't breed any mistrust." High returns can go overlooked for decades. But, like Bernie Madoff shows, it will all show up at the end of the day. In 2013, the SEC listed over 700 enforcement efforts for investment scams.</p> <p>A look at fraud would have to go back centuries to 300 BC. That’s about the timie a Greek merchant named Hegestratos took out an insurance policy. The merchant would borrow money and pay it back with interest on a ship’s cargo arrived. If the loan isn’t paid back, the lender had the rights to acquire the boat and its freight.</p> <p>Hegestratos conspired with a few friends to empty his boat, sink it, keep the loan and sell the corn. His plan didn’t really work out. The ship’s crew and passengers caught him in the act and he drowned trying to escape.<br /> Investment Scams: The First Insider Trading Scheme<br /> Just a few years after American became a nation, it produced it first fraud. In the late 18th century, American bonds were like junk-bonds are today. Every wind of news about the colonies’ fortunes cause the value of the bonds to fluctuate. The trick for the investor was to be able to anticipate which direction a bond’s value was headed.</p> <p>Alexander Hamilton, Treasury Secretary, worked to restructure American finance by replacing a variety of bonds issued by the colonies with bonds from the new country’s central bank.</p> <p>William Duer, assistant secretary of the Treasury, was in the perfect spot to get in some profitable insider trading. Duer was among the first to know news which would drive up bond prices. He would tip his friends, trade in his portfolio and then leak that information to the public. Then all Duer had to do was set back and sell off bonds and make an easy profit.<br /> Top Ten Investment Scams</p> <p> Charles Ponzi – $20 million lost by investors</p> <p>Everyone has heard of "Ponzi scheme. It is titled after Charles Ponzi's famous scheme where he promised profits of 50% in 45 days. Tenured investors were paid off with money from fresh investors.</p> <p>Lesson: Get an independent 3rd party to write the statements</p> <p> Barry Minkow – Loss calculated at $100 million</p> <p>When he was 19, Minkow saw his rug washing company go public and eventually reach $200 million in capitalization. Using false records and sales slips, it appears Minkow had built a huge and profitable business. Clients who were suspicious about overcharges on their invoices headed to an inquiry which uncovered Minkow's revenue figures. Minkow was sentenced regarding almost 60 felonies.</p> <p>Lesson: Again — Get a reliable 3rd party accountant is reviewing the statements.</p> <p> Jordan Belfort – Loss $200 million</p> <p>Jordan Belfort was the subject of the TK movie "Wolf of Wall Street." Belfort reached the silver screen by running a pump-and-dump scam in the 90s where agents would force up the cost of usually, junk stock and then ca</p>