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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

iShares Pushes Alpha Solutions

Reported by Tommy Fernandez

In previous stories, MFWire reported on iShares insights on the growth of ETF use by active managers, as well as the BlackRock arm’s three main goals for 2013.

Now, we’re going to look at how iShares is pushing alpha from fund managers to asset allocators with one simple word: “solutions.”

The term refers to, in part, to the idea of model portfolios that BlackRock is creating for financial advisors that they can customize for their clients.

Daniel Gamba, head of iShares’ institutional business, says there is a big need for such products in the advisor space.

He describes the demand in this way:
There are a myriad of ETFs in the market. There are people trying to get help. “How do I use these ETFs?” We have created a unit that develops model portfolios for clients. What this unit is developing are outcome-orientated solutions that clients want to use. They could be products with different yield-levels, different maturities, and different risk profiles. We have been able to create a number of mixes that advisors can use for their clients.

Gamba says there are roughly ten people working on the product development side, creating these models as well as the education and support services for these products.

There has been a big impact, he says, “in education and expectation. It’s affecting how advisors talk to their clients. They want to have conversations that are more defined, specific and clear.”

“Advisors are looking for solutions that they can show to their clients. So we came up with the Core Series. That is what we are trying to spread awareness of,” he says.

Gamba says the distribution aspect of this team comes from the” U.S. retail force that we already have. We are leveraging the 270 person iShares retail sales team to push dialogue on these models.”

“Adoption will be a priority in 2013,” he says. 

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