Two Firms Target Fee-Only Advisors
Phoenix Companies Inc. and Jefferson National Life Insurance Company are partnering to promote low-cost, tax-deferred variable annuities for retirement portfolios to fee-based financial advisors.
The two companies are targeting the rapidly growing number of fee-based and fee-only advisors in wirehouses, regional broker-dealers and financial institutions by using Jefferson National's technology platform to promote Phoenix's lifetime income guaranteed products.
Laurence Greenberg, president of Jefferson National, cites the trend at wirehouses and regional broker-dealers to move to a fee-based model as the reason for the new initiative. Assets managed by fee-based and fee-only advisors grew from $1.5 trillion in 2002 to $2.2 trillion four years later and will continue to increase, Greenburg says.
The partnership will allow Phoenix to increase its annuity business "by working with fee-based planners who understand the value of low-cost, tax-deferred variable annuities as an important part of a retirement portfolio," says Philip K. Polkinghorn, Phoenix's president of Life and Annuity.
Under the partnership, the companies will use Jefferson National's technology platform, which is designed to serve the fee-based market, and combine it with Phoenix's use of living benefit riders, such as the guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefits. A living benefit rider is designed to provide retiring clients with flexibility and a guaranteed income for life, regardless of investment performance. According to a study by LIMRA, an insurance industry research organization, guaranteed minimum withdrawal benefit riders are the most popular living benefit riders for annuities.

Arrow Launches New Fund
Arrow Funds is offering a new open-end mutual fund known as the Arrow Alternative Solutions Fund that is designed to provide more diversification and lower risk than many alternative funds.
The new product uses three long/short strategies-hedged equity, fixed-income arbitrage and managed futures-to provide absolute returns with minimum risk and correlation to traditional U.S. equity or fixed-income instruments. The goal is a risk target of 7% and a total rate of return that meets or exceeds 10% per year over a rolling three- to five-year time span. William E. Flaig Jr., Arrow's chief investment officer, manages the fund. Offers New Tools, an online source for research and commentary on the commodities market, has improved its Web site to allow easier navigation. The new site makes articles easier to access, allows interactive comment posting and polling, provides current energy and precious metal commodity pricing charts, and has an improved Hard Assets University section.
The new site is being overseen by Brad Zigler, former director of research and education for Barclays Global Investors and the Pacific Exchange, who has been named managing editor and will write a daily blog on the commodities market.

PowerShares Offers New Bond Portfolios
Three new insured municipal bond portfolios based on Merrill Lynch indexes are now being
offered by PowerShares Capital Management LLC.
The PowerShares National Insured Municipal Bond Portfolio and the California and New York insured portfolios are traded on the American Stock Exchange. The municipal bond ETFs are based on indexes whose components are selected based on high credit-rating and high tax-free yield characteristics.

National Planning Introduces Virtual Assistant
National Planning Holdings Inc. has launched a new virtual interoffice platform for its registered representatives at INVEST Financial Corp., one of four National Planning Holdings firms, that provides a fully licensed, trained and supervised virtual sales assistant.
The virtual assistant helps clients and performs tasks normally handled by an in-house assistant, but does so at a savings to the representative. The virtual assistant is an employee of the broker-dealer's home office and therefore has access to home office staff and resources.

New Alliances
FundQuest is now offering Russell Mutual Fund Model Strategies and Russell LifePoints Funds to independent registered investment advisors through its
managed accounts platform ... LPL Financial Services has selected eMoney Advisor as its wealth management tool as part of its effort to expand its planning services and support ... Thrivent Investment Management Inc. has selected National Financial to provide brokerage tools that include clearing and securities execution services, and also is using National Financial's Managed Account Solutions platform.