National Financial Launches Self-Clearing Unit
National Financial, a Fidelity Investments company, is establishing a self-clearing outsourcing business to enable broker-dealers to hand off a significant amount of their technology and operations requirements so they can concentrate on their clients.
The self-clearing outsourcing business will be available to mid-sized and large, regional, independent and bank broker-dealers. It will enable them to get rid of operations duties, while maintaining their self-clearing status.
Broker-dealers will be able to outsource operations and technology, including their broker and advisor workstations, while retaining control over policies, branding, client experience and revenue generating activities, such as margin interest.
"Today, self-clearing broker-dealer firms are faced with significant business challenges, from the complexity of meeting a constantly evolving regulatory environment, to the on-going investments in technology and product that are needed to remain competitive," says Norman R. Malo, National Financial CEO.
The self-clearing outsourcing business will allow broker-dealers to outsource technology through Fidelity‚s back office systems and will enable them to utilize front-end systems such as Streetscape, National Financial‚s workstation. Also, core processing, corporate actions, proxy processing and customer-facing activities, including opening accounts, customer reporting and account transfers, will be handled by the outsourcing business.
The new outsourcing business will be available to broker-dealers representing nearly a third of the $13 trillion in retail assets administered by self-clearing broker-dealers in the United States, according to National Financial.

Payden & Rygel Creates Equity Fund
Payden & Rygel, Los Angeles, is introducing the Payden Global Equity Fund, which will offer a top-down strategy for picking equity mutual funds instead of the more common bottom-up stock selection.
The unusual selection process reflects the current global marketplace, which indicates that the country and industry where investments are located play the most significant role in the success of global equity returns today, says Chris Orndorff, Payden & Rygel managing principal.

Phoenix Creates Low-Cost Annuity
The Phoenix Companies Inc., Hartford, Conn., is introducing the Phoenix Portfolio Advisor Variable Annuity, a low-cost, no-load annuity. It is being developed with Jefferson National Life Insurance Company specifically for the fee-based advisors within the Phoenix distribution network.
The new annuity will have a flat insurance fee of $20 a month. It also will offer enhancements such as a range of investment choices from more than 170 investment funds from 20 independent money managers.

Russell Launches New Fund For Retirees
A new retirement fund designed to maximize distribution possibilities is being created by Russell Investments. The Russell LifePoints Funds, Target Distribution Strategies, is aimed at retirees.
The fund is based on research that shows investment products created for the accumulation phase of a career are not always the best investments after retirement, according to Russell Investments. The six funds in the series are designed to deliver consistency and reliability for a steady, although not guaranteed, annual income.

Wasatch Advisors Re-opens Popular Funds
Wasatch Advisors is temporarily re-opening two micro cap products, the Wasatch Micro Cap Value Fund and the Wasatch International Opportunities Fund. The funds have been closed to investors since their launches.
The decline of the Russell Microcap Index has created "interesting buy opportunities that we would love to be able to bring to a few new shareholders," says Brian Bythrow, Micro Cap Value Fund portfolio manager. The funds are expected to be closed again in the near future.
ALPS Launches New Insurance Products
ALPS Fund Services Inc., a provider of outsourced and advisory solutions for investment managers, is creating the AVS Listed Private Equity Portfolio for insurance companies to use in their variable insurance products. Red Rocks Capital LLC, a Denver-based investment advisor specializing in private equity products, will serve as sub-advisor for the new portfolio.
The portfolio of publicly traded private equity companies includes more than 200 eligible companies and their underlying holdings.