Pax World Adds Smart Beta, Bond, Large-Cap Funds
To start 2017, Portsmouth, N.H.-based Pax World Management announced the launch of three mutual funds in two asset classes.

The Pax Large Cap Fund integrates research on companies’ environmental, social and governance (ESG) characteristics into its stock selection process while focusing on companies’ earnings potential, management and valuation.

The fund, which will be listed under the ticker PAXLX, follows Pax World’s two other actively managed U.S. equity offerings, the Pax Small Cap Fund and the Pax Mid Cap Fund, launched in April 2016.

The Pax ESG Beta Dividend Fund overweights a U.S. large-cap portfolio toward dividend-paying stocks with strong ESG profiles, high dividend yields and higher-quality investment fundamentals.

The fund, Pax World’s second smart beta offering, will be listed under the ticker PAXDX and will be subadvised by Sausalito, Calif.-based Aperio Group. PAXDX joins the Pax ESG Beta Quality Fund, which was launched in June 2016.

The Pax Core Bond Fund allocates to investment-grade, sustainable, high-impact bonds promoting positive community and environmental outcomes. The fund, Pax’s second fixed-income strategy, will be listed under the ticker PAXBX.

“Investor interest in sustainable investing strategies is growing rapidly, and we’ve expanded our lineup with a total of five new funds in the last year to meet this increased demand,” said Pax World CEO Joe Keefe in released comments.

According to Keefe, Pax now has over $4 billion in assets under management.

TD Releases Managed Accounts Mobile App
TD Ameritrade Investment Management announced the release of a new mobile application for long-term investors with managed accounts.

The TD Ameritrade Portfolios app will allow clients to view their goals, target amounts and progress toward their goals; the probability of reaching their targets in an allotted time; and gains and losses.

The app will support clients using Essential Portfolios, TD’s automated advisory service for digital-first investors, as well as the existing Selective Portfolios managed accounts.

The app is available for iPhone, with an Android version expected in the first half of 2017.

National Planning Holdings Improves Platform
Broker-dealer National Planning Holdings has enhanced its WealthONE fee-based advisory platform with new technology and capabilities.

The enhancements include the addition of new strategists, including BlackRock and American Funds; expanded product offerings like unified managed accounts and overlay models; new digital financial planning and retirement income tools; and a new fiduciary process to help advisors meet new regulatory requirements.

The new fiduciary process will include a re-evaluated client profile process and new planning and analysis tools and resources, and it will help advisors implement revised account opening and disclosure delivery procedures.

National Planning Holdings expects to roll out the enhancements over the next 15 months.

IRI Announces Client Evaluation Tool
The Insured Retirement Institute has teamed up with researcher Fiduciary Benchmarks to release a client evaluation tool for advisors in order to help them with regulatory compliance.

The new tool will allow advisors to determine fee reasonableness in relation to their clients’ needs and the value of the products and services being offered, including the evaluation of rollover recommendations and the assessment of level fees against commissions.

The tool has been specifically developed to aid compliance with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, but can also be used to follow Finra’s regulations for IRA rollovers. The IRI’s tool includes full compliance reporting and work-flow oversight.


New ESG Smart Beta Indexes Rolled Out
FTSE Russell and Research Affiliates have announced two new smart beta, socially responsible indexes.

The new indexes will take already-existing FTSE Russell and Research Affiliates indexes and apply environmental, social and governance screens to them.

The FTSE4Good RAFI Indices are designed to measure the performance of companies demonstrating strong ESG practices by using existing FTSE RAFI indexes and overlaying a set of ESG criteria.

The FTSE RAFI ex Fossil Fuels Indices are designed to track the performance of certain FTSE RAFI indexes after the exclusion of certain companies that have certain revenues from or exposures to fossil fuels.

Orion Adds Advisors’ Fee Analyzer
Orion Advisor Services has rolled out a fee analyzer for advisors.

Orion’s tool is designed to help advisors comply with the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule. The tool helps advisors to  meet the rule’s best-interest requirements by comparing an account’s fees against those of more than a million other managed accounts.

The new tool will allow advisors to create custom fee benchmarks for accounts and allow them to filter based on account size, account type, firm type and services provided.

The tool will also allow advisors to show clients how their firm’s fee schedule compares with others in the rest of the industry.