Surveying the Product Competition; Semi-Transparent ETFs, Model Portfolios, REITs

A recent Morningstar article charts the product competition for mutual funds. Commentator Russ Kinnel notes that mutual funds have built-in advantages established by the 1940 Act and the benefits of daily net asset value, custodian holding securities, boards of directors, clear disclosure of holdings and fees, and SEC oversight. Other products, however, are offering investors some of these qualities and at lower prices. Kinnel compares these products in helpful graphics that show what investors are getting from CITs, separately managed accounts, closed-end funds, among others. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal is reporting that semi-transparent ETFs have been slow to attract assets. The funds, which the SEC about a year ago permitted to operate without disclosing their daily holdings, have received “a chilly reception” the WSJ reported, adding that Bank of America, UBS and Wells Fargo have not yet offered semi-transparent ETFs to their wealth-management clients. Meanwhile, Barron’s spoke with managers of some of the top performing real estate mutual funds about the sector outlook as the virtual working environment and the rise of e-commerce appear to spell doom for office buildings. And, model portfolios, which have gained in popularity in recent years, continue to attract space on advisory platforms, according to a Natixis report first reported by ThinkAdvisor.