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Executive Briefings


Federated Buys Mo' Money Funds

Federated Investors, Inc. has agreed to buy $903 million in assets, including about $571 million in money market fund assets from Trustmark Investment Advisors, Inc., Trustmark National Bank and Performance Funds Trust. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

An RIA Team Takes Over a Stock Fund

New York-based American Independence Financial Services, LLC said that effective as of June 29, the RIA team led by Richard "Rick" Baird would become principal portfolio manager for its Large Cap Value strategy, including the American Independence Stock Fund.

Citi Claims 'Victory' Again

Citigroup last week said it has been awarded a contract renewal of its fund services to Victory Capital Management and to the Victory Funds.

Cleveland-based Victory Capital managed $22.7 billion in investment portfolios as of April 30, including the Victory Funds, a family of more than 20 mutual funds.

Jackson Rolls Out App for Wholesalers

Jackson National Life Insurance Company has launched the Elite Access iPad application, following the rollout of the firm's latest product offering. The app is designed to help Jackson's wholesalers educate financial advisers on Elite Access and alternative investment strategies.

A $14B 401(k) Plan Offers Retirement Income

United Technologies has taken the retirement income plunge with the launch of the Lifetime Income Strategy, a customized age-based default investment option designed by AllianceBernstein. UTC's 401(k) plan, which counts some $14 billion in assets and 84,000 participants, according to data from Brightscope, is the largest plan to date to embrace the otherwise unpopular plan option.

Morgan Stanley Expands Social Media Roll Out

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney is rolling out LinkedIn and Twitter to its full 17,000-member financial advisor force with the aim of helping to make time spent in front of the computer more effective than cold calling client prospects.

The rollout of those platforms follows a successful pilot including 600 of the firm's advisors. Of those participating advisors who used the social media platforms on a daily basis, 40% were able to attract new clients through their efforts, said Lauren Boyman, executive director of digital strategy, social media and content at Morgan Stanley.

Manning & Napier's Target-Date Funds Bet on ETFs

Manning & Napier has rolled out a suite of 10 actively-managed target-date funds which will invest in a variety of exchange-traded funds. Dubbed the Manning & Napier Goal Collective Investment Trust Funds, the new offerings will range from an Income fund to a 2055 fund and will be managed by the firm's senior research group.

The funds will carry an expense ratio of 34 basis points, excluding ETFs' fees.

River Road Subadvises Aston's Latest Fund

Chicago-based Aston Asset Management, LP has added the ASTON/River Road Dividend All Cap Value Fund II (ADVTX N Class)(ADIVX I-Class) to its family of funds.

River Road Asset Management is the fund's subadviser.


Dividend, Credit ETFs Win Popular Vote

State Street Global Advisors last week released its mid-year exchange-trade fund report, dubbed 2012 ETF & Investment Outlook: Sinking or Swimming?

The report reveals that US ETFs attracted more than $60 billion of inflows over the first five months of 2012, as 100 new funds were launched by 17 different providers, including one new entrant to the market. Amid signs the low interest rate environment will continue for the foreseeable future, demand for dividend/fundamental ETFs-the most popular category in 2011-remained on top, as investors added $8.9 billion of inflows to these funds in the first five months of the year. Investors also increased their exposure to credit/corporate, government credit and high-yield bond ETFs.

Morningstar Rates Alt Funds

Now alternative mutual funds will be rated in similar fashion to its more traditional counterparts.

Morningstar, Inc. has introduced the Morningstar Analyst Rating and Global Fund Reports for approximately 40 alternative U.S. mutual funds, representing about 75% of the alternative fund universe by assets. Over the next year, the company plans to increase its alternatives coverage to approximately 100 funds.


Putnam Beefs Up Retirement Sales Team

Putnam Investments unveiled a trio of new hires in the defined contribution investment-only and defined contribution advisor channels.

Specifically, James Axford, formerly a senior vice president with Pioneer Investments, has been named Defined Contribution Consultant Relations Manager, and will work closely with advisors, consultants, and recordkeeping platforms nationally to support the sales of Putnam's investment-only retirement business. Axford reports to Peter Whitman, Putnam Investments Head of Defined Contribution Investment Only.

Also, David Scheetz and Edward Deeds have joined the firm from Bank of New York Mellon and ADP Retirement Services, respectively, and serve as Regional Defined Contribution Directors, focused on growing the sales of Putnam's full-service 401(k) among advisors. Both report directly to Putnam Investments Defined Contribution Advisor-Sold National Sales Manager James Brockelman.

Aquila Lands Northeast Wholesaler