Our weekly roundup of new fund launches.

VanEck launches 16 crypto indexes
VanEck, the ninth biggest ETF provider, launched 16 crypto indexes in partnership with CryptoCompare, a London-based digital asset data provider, Bloomberg reports.

They are 12 single-digital asset indexes for cryptocurrencies including bitcoin and ether, and four indexes tracking baskets of five to 100 cryptocurrencies. The indexes incorporate trade data, going as far back as 2014 for some, from about 50 cryptocurrency exchanges globally.

“The logical step once the bitcoin futures market exists is to reevaluate whether it’s suitable to refile the ETF” listing request, said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital- asset strategy at VanEck.
“The logical step once the bitcoin futures market exists is to reevaluate whether it’s suitable to refile the ETF” listing request, said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital- asset strategy at VanEck. Bloomberg News

“The logical step once the bitcoin futures market exists is to reevaluate whether it’s suitable to refile the ETF” listing request, said Gabor Gurbacs, director of digital- asset strategy at VanEck. “We’re hoping to raise further awareness of digital assets as an emerging asset class and hope to create high-level institutional content and materials for investors and anyone interested.”

Nationwide debuts strategic-beta ETFs
Nationwide launched its first three strategic-beta ETFs as it seeks to adapt and respond to growing uncertainty amid "an aging bull market," said Chris Graham, CIO for Nationwide Funds.

The first fund, Nationwide Maximum Diversification U.S. Core Equity ETF (MXDU), has an expense ratio of 0.34% and tracks an index from TOBAM that minimizes correlations among holdings. The other funds — the Nationwide Risk-Based U.S. Equity ETF (RBUS) and the Nationwide Risk-Based International Equity ETF (RBIN) — track indexes designed by Rothschild that seek to reduce volatility and mitigate drawdowns. The funds have expense ratios of 0.30% and 0.42%, respectively.

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"China is currently undergoing an environmental renaissance, pledging hundreds of billions of dollars to environmental protection projects and policies," KraneShares CEO Jonathan Krane said.

BNY Mellon to unveil a multi-asset investment manager in 2018
BNY Mellon Investment Management announced that it will launch a specialist multi-asset investment manager next year. The new business will combine BNY Mellon's three largest U.S. investment managers — Mellon Capital Management, Standish Mellon Asset Management and The Boston Company Asset Management — to offer institutional and intermediary clients investment strategies in both active and passive solutions.

With over $560 billion in AUM, the combined business will rank as a top 10 U.S. institutional asset manager and a top 50 manager globally.

American Century teams up with Precidian on ETF
American Century Investments has partnered with Precidian Investments to license the firm's ActiveShares methodology in support of the potential launch of actively managed, semi-transparent ETFs, American Century said.

The agreement is still subject to regulatory approvals, but Precidian's ActiveShares structure would allow American Century to deliver its actively managed investment strategies in an ETF vehicle without the daily holdings disclosure requirement of fully transparent ETFs, according to American Century.

Allianz Life announces Index Precision Strategy
Allianz Life announced its new Index Precision Strategy, which will be available on the Allianz Index Advantage Variable Annuity suite.

Index Precision Strategy provides the option to allocate to four corresponding equity indexes. With this strategy, as long as the annual change in index value is zero or positive, the client will receive the entire annual credit of the precision rate.

Direxion launches leveraged pharma ETF
Direxion has put forth an ETF that offers 300% exposure to the Dynamic Pharmaceutical Intellidex Index. The Direxion Daily Pharmaceutical Bull 3X Shares (PILL) gives investors a leveraged position on the index of 30 U.S. drug companies. The fund's net expense ratio is 1.12%.

"The launch of PILL is timely, allowing traders to magnify their short-term bullish perspective on the popular sector," said Sylvia Jablonski, managing director at Direxion.

Legg Mason sets sights on debt ETF
Eager to expand its exchange-traded offerings, Legg Mason has petitioned the SEC for permission to start an actively managed fixed-income fund. The debt ETF would be able to hold 30% of its assets in junk debt and up to 20% in non-government asset-backed securities.

The $754 billion asset manager — which entered the ETF space in 2015 and currently has 11 funds — is also awaiting SEC approval for an equity ETF that would not disclose its daily holdings.

OppenheimerFunds creates tax-free energy infrastructure fund
OppenheimerFunds launched the Oppenheimer SteelPath MLP & Energy Infrastructure Fund (OMLPX), which primarily invests in North American midstream energy infrastructure stocks.

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Limiting MLP holdings to 25%, it will be structured as a traditional flow-through fund with no fund-level taxation, according to the firm. It also has a 40% limit on non-U.S. holdings, and may invest up to 20% in fixed-income securities. The fund has an investment minimum of $1,000, according to Morningstar.

KraneShares offers China Environment ETF
KraneShares announced the launch of its MSCI China Environment ETF (KGRN), which holds Chinese companies that derive at least 50% of their revenues from environmentally beneficial products and services.

The ETF, with an expense ratio of 0.79%, is based on the MSCI IMI Environment 10/40 index, which tracks companies in clean energy, pollution prevention and green buildings.

"China is currently undergoing an environmental renaissance, pledging hundreds of billions of dollars to environmental protection projects and policies," KraneShares CEO Jonathan Krane said.

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"Advisors face many challenges such as accelerating regulatory reform, evolving client needs and pressure on fees," WisdomTree Head of Global Distribution Kurt MacAlpine said.

Schwab ETF Select List accepts a commodity ETF
The ETFS Bloomberg All Commodity Strategy K-1 Free ETF (BCI) was chosen to join Schwab's ETF Select List, which helps investors narrow their choices by including just one ETF per asset type, according to Schwab. With an expense ratio of 0.29%, BCI seeks to outperform the Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM). It offers low-cost exposure to diversified commodities, the firm said.

Pathway restructures and renames fund
Pathway Energy Infrastructure Fund announced it has converted to a continuously offered, closed-end interval fund, allowing it to periodically offer share buybacks. Its new name is Pathway Capital Opportunity Fund.

The fund expanded its investment focus to include transportation, defense and electric utilities, as well as related resources such as cement and paper, the firm said. At least 50% of its total assets will be infrastructure equities.

Franklin Templeton Investments launches suite of ETFs
Franklin Templeton Investments is introducing its first passive ETFs, with an initial suite of 16 single-country and regional market-cap weighted ETFs.

The funds, which will target exposures to developed countries at an expense ratio of 0.09% and emerging markets at 0.19%, will be listed on NYSE Arca on Nov. 6, the firm said. This will be one of the largest simultaneous listings on the NYSE in the past decade.

WisdomTree Investments' new digital portfolio construction tool
WisdomTree Investments has launched a new platform focused on providing technology-enabled solutions to help advisors grow and scale their business. WisdomTree Advisor Solutions includes investment research and ETF education, portfolio-construction services, ETF model portfolios and practice management resources, according to the firm.

"Advisors face many challenges such as accelerating regulatory reform, evolving client needs and pressure on fees," WisdomTree Head of Global Distribution Kurt MacAlpine said. "The WisdomTree Advisor Solutions program is designed to help advisors navigate these challenges while continuing to scale their businesses."

CLS teams up with ETF providers to offer no-fee strategy
CLS Investments has partnered with five ETF providers to launch Smart ETF Models with a zero percent strategist fee, the firm said. The firm said it teamed up with Deutsche Asset Management, First Trust, JPMorgan Asset Management, Pimco and PowerShares by Invesco to offer these models.

Currently CLS offers eight Smart ETF Models that are globally diversified portfolios composed of smart beta and active ETFs, as well as smaller satellite positions in ETFs focused on specific sectors, countries and alternative assets.

WisdomTree the first to adopt FinMason platform
WisdomTree and FinMason have signed a multi year deal in which the ETF and exchange-traded product sponsor will become the first to adopt FinMason's FinRiver analytical platform.

As part of the deal, FinMason will deliver institutional-grade analytics to Wisdom Tree's new digital portfolio developer through the FinRiver API platform. Users will be able to instantaneously run risk and performance metrics, aggregate factor exposures, do scenario analysis and stress testing and conduct Monte Carlo simulations — with up to 700 analytical items in all.

Virtus and Wellington announce new ETF
Virtus ETF Solutions announced earlier this month that it has teamed with Wellington Management to launch the Virtus WMC Global Factor Opportunities ETF (VGFO). The relationship will allow Virtus to leverage Wellington's proprietary and independent research in global equities. The fund, which has an expense ratio of 0.49%, will trade on the NYSE Arca.

MassMutual Ventures announces second $100M fund
MassMutual Ventures has launched a second $100 million fund as it looks to continue to build on its strategy of investing in early and growth-stage companies in the insurance, benefits, financial services, enterprise software and cyber security sectors.

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The funding, from its parent company Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, doubles the firm's total capital under management to $200 million, MassMutual said.
The funding also gives the firm the ability to back an additional 20 to 25 companies in North America, Europe and Israel.

Bernstein launches 2 ETFs
Sanford C. Bernstein has launched a pair of ETFs, just about a year after claiming that the rise of passive asset management would be worse for society than Marxism, according to Bloomberg.

The Bernstein U.S. Research Fund (BERN) and the Bernstein Global Research Fund (BRGL) have expense ratios of 0.50% and 0.65%, respectively. Their aim, according to Bloomberg, is to track the firm's U.S. and global research indexes, while also owning stocks that are rated "outperform" by Bernstein's analysts.

Capital Impact Partners' effort to help underserved communities
Nonprofit corporation Capital Impact Partners launched an offering of up to $100 million of AA rated fixed-income Capital Impact Investment notes that will allow investors the opportunity to invest in its efforts to aid underserved communities.

"Through Capital Impact Investment Notes, we are creating the opportunity to drive financial activism by creating a product that helps investors create positive social change for people in communities across this country while also earning a return on that investment," said Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Capital Impact Partners.

The notes are available for as low as $1,000 with available fixed interest rates with maturities that range from one to 10 years.

Krane Funds launches emerging markets consumer tech ETF
Krane Funds Advisors is expanding its internet suite with the launch of the KraneShares Emerging Markets Consumer Technology ETF (KEMQ), which holds companies focused on internet software services, payment processing and e-commerce.

The ETF, which has an expense ratio of 0.79%, will trade on the NYSE. KEMQ holds companies including Brazilian electronic payment processor Cielo, Argentina-based e-Commerce platform MercadoLibre, South Korea's social media giant Naver, Russian web portal Mail.ru and Chinese internet leaders Alibaba and Tencent.