Investment Product and Service Launches

Art by Jackson Epstein

iJoin Partners with ProNvest

LDI-MAP (doing business as iJoin) has announced a partnership with ProNvest, a national provider of high-touch, personalized managed account services. Recordkeepers and their adviser partners using iJoin will be able to select ProNvest’s program, which includes participant access to retirement plan counselors as well as a suite of planning and gap analysis tools.

Steve McCoy, CEO of iJoin, says, “We know that many retirement investors want and need access to affordable investment advice and manage-it-for-me choices. ProNvest’s high-touch participant care model is ideally supported by iJoin’s data-driven, personalized goal-based experience. We appreciate our shared alignment to the goal of producing better outcomes for millions of savers.”

As a referral partner, ProNvest says it also helps financial advisers grow their business organically by unlocking access to outside assets.

“We are thrilled to partner with iJoin and introduce providers to ProNvest’s full-service managed account program. We have more than 20 years of retirement planning and managed account experience and have helped thousands of advisers grow their businesses,” says Stephen Johnson, executive vice president at ProNvest. “Because our solution functions as a complement to the work advisers are doing, we have referred millions of dollars in outside assets over the years while also driving higher plan engagement. We’re looking forward to working with iJoin and helping advisers continue to thrive and excel by helping to grow their businesses organically. This in turn helps providers to grow by incentivizing more advisers to sell their product.”

MSCI Releases New Climate Solution

MSCI has launches a new climate solution called the Implied Temperature Rise.

The climate solution is launching ahead of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, in November and follows a recent report from the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) that recommends all financial institutions measure and disclose the alignment of their portfolios with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Used alongside MSCI’s Target Scorecard, a framework to assess companies’ decarbonization and net-zero climate targets, the series of analytical tools aims to help investors strengthen their engagement on climate risk and navigate the transition to a net-zero world. To enable investors to analyze the pace at which the companies they invest in are transitioning their businesses to meet their climate goals, the solution captures benchmarks such as the 2°C target, referring to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s goal to limit global temperature rise, or the 1.5°C limit, popularized through the Paris Agreement.

MSCI’s Temperature Rise solution converts the current and projected greenhouse gas emissions, taking into consideration emissions reduction targets, of each company to an estimated rise in global temperature. Projections are calculated by comparing those projected emissions with the global carbon budget that remains if the planet is to keep temperature rise this century below 2°C, a benchmark also linked to MSCI’s quarterly Net-Zero Tracker.

The Temperature Rise solution has been modeled to meet the design recommendations set out by the TCFD Portfolio Alignment Team for all segments of the financial sector to measure and disclose temperature alignment of portfolios as well as target-setting frameworks.

Remy Briand, global head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) and climate at MSCI, says, “Climate change is the greatest challenge of our time, and capital markets participants are critical to driving the systemic transformation needed to avert climate catastrophe. The Implied Temperature Rise metric is an important addition to our evolving suite of climate investing tools and builds on MSCI’s mission to ensure capital markets and their participants can drive the transition to net-zero. Investors are rapidly sharpening their focus on the financial impacts of climate change, and they need greater transparency and insight on whether their capital may further, or frustrate, the goal of a more sustainable society. With its convenient measure for forward-looking portfolio emission trajectory, investors can use Implied Temperature Rise as a versatile tool to set decarbonization targets and strengthen engagement on climate risk.”

ProManage Launches Managed Account Service With Nyhart

ProManage, a Chicago-based firm providing customized solutions for defined contribution (DC) plans, has rolled out its managed account service, the ProManage PROgram, through Nyhart, an employee-benefit consulting, actuarial and administration firm. 

PROgram is offered through Nyhart’s daily valuation recordkeeping platform in conjunction with the plan’s investment adviser. It provides participant-level asset allocation oversight using the existing fund lineup within the plan. 

PROgram is fully integrated with Nyhart’s recordkeeping system and oversees participant balances totaling more than $30 million as of July 31.

“This is automatically implemented on behalf of the participants, so even reluctant investors can benefit from a diverse portfolio,” says ProManage CEO Tony Sabos. “Plus, this approach doesn’t require complex or expensive technical connections with recordkeepers.”

“By partnering with ProManage, we can offer plan participants a valuable, cost-effective service that works entirely behind the scenes,” says Nyhart CEO Carter Angell.

Participants using PROgram can also use ProManage’s Vision product. Vision is an online investment advice tool designed to help participants understand if they are on track for retirement.

Vision gives them the ability to model their long-term financial goals for retirement by adjusting levers and assumptions. Participants can choose to influence the PROgram allocation by implementing the adjustments and suggestions, including savings-rate changes.

NEPC Releases Program to Identify and Support Diverse-Owned and -Led Managers

NEPC has unveiled The Explorer Program, a platform to identify, explore and engage with diverse-owned and -led investment management firms that are not currently one- or two-rated by NEPC. Once in the program, the NEPC research team will consider these diverse managers for inclusion in client portfolios and for future inclusion on the firm’s Focused Placement List (FPL), which is comprised of top-ranking one-rated managers.

“We are intentional about our engagement with diverse managers,” says Will Forde, principal and senior consultant at NEPC and member of the firm’s diverse manager committee. “Several studies have shown that diverse investment managers often earn better results for their clients than the market more broadly. That’s partly why The Explorer Program is so necessary. It will increase the number of NEPC’s rated diverse strategies by approximately 30%, allowing our clients to choose from a stronger set of options.”

As part of this program, each researcher on the Marketable Securities team will source at least one Explorer strategy within his or her asset class area of coverage. Like FPL strategies, Explorer strategies will be fully vetted and approved by NEPC’s Due Diligence Committee and/or Alternative Asset Committee. The vetting of Explorer strategies is consistent with the firm’s standard framework for investment strategy due diligence.

Explorer strategies will have comparable characteristics to FPL firms and strategies but may differ in some ways, including by having lower assets under management (AUM), shorter track records, limited back-office resources, higher fees and a unique investment approach. The NEPC Research team will conduct annual reviews of the program to identify those diverse strategies ready to migrate to the firm’s Focused Placement List.

The new Explorer Program is a product of a collaboration between NEPC’s research team and the firm’s Diverse Managers Committee, which consists of senior consultants and senior research professionals specializing in public markets and alternative investment strategies.