TD Ameritrade Institutional Launches Thinkpipes Platform
TD Ameritrade Institutional has launched a platform called Thinkpipes for independent registered investment advisors looking to start or expand their use of options strategies. Based on TD Ameritrade's Thinkorswim technology, Thinkpipes is a customizable trading platform designed to meet the needs of a variety of advisors, providing them with in-depth analytics and streaming market data.

Advisors trading equities, ETFs and options are able to customize their Thinkpipes experience with a tabbed page design to view streaming quotes, charts and order executions. Advisors can build customizable screens to view account and market data, and filtering enables advisors to search for specific assets across multiple accounts or view expiring option contracts.

Advanced equity and options strategies are built into the platform for point-and-click trading. Thinkpipes provides options trading functionality from basic covered calls to more sophisticated multi-legged option strategies.

Advisors can experience potential cost savings on streaming market data delivered to their desktop. Thinkpipes offers advisors real-time Level II quote data to provide insight into a stock's depth and price action throughout the trading day.

The Thinkpipes platform is part of TD Ameritrade Institutional's Options Market Center, which gives advisors access to a dedicated strategy desk and an extensive options education program.

Pyxis Capital Introduces Natural Resources Fund
Pyxis Capital, headquartered in Dallas, has launched the Pyxis Natural Resources Fund, which invests in equities of natural resource companies and seeks long-term outperformance of the S&P North American Natural Resource Sector Index. Unlike other natural resource funds, it will invest in sectors such as timber and agribusiness, which are not included in the traditional natural resource indices. The fund will invest almost all of its assets in the Ascendant Natural Resources Master Fund, which will be managed by Ascendant Advisors LLC.

iShares Launches New Income-Focused ETFs
BlackRock has launched four new iShares exchange-traded funds, including three products designed to offer exposure to high-yield securities across the global developed and emerging markets. The fourth new fund is an "ETF of iShares ETFs" whose goal is to offer single-trade access to a diversified set of income sources.

The four new funds are:
The iShares Emerging Markets High Yield Bond Fund;
The iShares Global ex USD High Yield Corporate Bond Fund;
The iShares Global High Yield Corporate Bond Fund; and
The iShares Morningstar Multi-Asset Income Index Fund.

Loring Ward Revamps Advisor Center
Loring Ward, headquartered in San Jose, Calif., announced a major initiative to build the next generation of its advisor-facing Web portal, the Advisor Center. In partnership with Envestnet, Loring Ward will build out the redesigned Advisor Center in phases over the next two years. The new version will include advisor dashboards and metrics, a new proposal system, an alert center, enhanced reporting and analytics and a more intuitive user interface.

Creative Marketing Offers Deferred Compensation Option
Creative Marketing, a Leawood, Kan.-based independent marketing organization for annuity and life insurance agents, has introduced a deferred compensation plan for producers.