News Mentions & Press Releases

OMAHA, Neb.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–NorthStar Financial Services Group, LLC, the parent company of Orion Advisor ServicesFTJ FundChoice, LLCCLS Investments, LLC, and Constellation Trust Company, announced today that it will be renamed Orion Advisor Solutions and unify its subsidiaries under the Orion brand identity. The changes, which will take effect in September 2019, will enable NorthStar and its subsidiaries to better align their corporate strategies; bring clarity and cohesion to the product and service experiences offered, and help identify technological synergies as the company accelerates the growth of its open architecture advisor platforms.

“For more than 20 years, the Orion brand has been known as an industry leader for best-in-breed portfolio accounting technology and integrations, providing the flexibility, customization, and support financial professionals need to succeed,” said Eric Clarke, CEO. “Now, consolidating our tech and investment companies under the same brand challenges even our largest competitors with a more connected, more seamlessly serviced, and all-around better offering, while allowing each firm to continue to invest in building upon its core strengths.”

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Tax-efficient funds with best 10-year returns

April 10, 2019
Andrew Shilling — Financial Planning

The industry’s top-performing tax-efficient funds, while pricier than their peers, have paid off over the past decade.

Top returns among mutual funds and ETFs with 0% tax-cost ratios range from about 7% to nearly 25% over the past decade, Morningstar Direct data show. With an average 10-year return of 10.14%, the ranking is led by ETFs, a detail Grant Engelbart, director of research and senior portfolio manager at CLS Investments, says should come as no surprise.

“The ETF structure is great for minimizing capital gains, as low cost basis/high gain positions can be transferred out of the ETF without tax consequence using the creation/redemption mechanism,” Englebart says. “These funds have also grown assets fairly well over the period.”

Muni and high-yield bond funds dominate the list, data show. “The muni bonds showing up makes sense,” Engelbart says, adding, “This was a strong period for fixed-income returns, and municipal bonds have federal tax-free income produced, which leads to the low tax cost ratios.”

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Choosing U.S. Multifactor ETFs

April 9, 2019
Joe Smith, CFA —

U.S. large-cap multifactor ETFs represent a new way for advisors and their investors to gain access to a unique approach to active management.

These ETFs aim to outperform the market by ensuring the portfolio has a balanced amount of exposure from style factors, including value, momentum, quality, size and low volatility. These factors have been known to explain risk and returns in portfolios.

U.S. large-cap multifactor ETFs took in roughly $3.75 billion in new assets in the last 12 months through the end of February 2019, with total assets now topping $29 billion as of March 22, 2019, according to Morningstar.

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8 Great Ways to Buy International REITs

March 26, 2019
Rebecca Lake — U.S. News & World Report

WisdomTree Global Ex-U.S. Real Estate ETF (DRW)

DRW tracks investment results for dividend-paying real estate companies in developing and emerging equity markets. DRW’s weighting strategy makes it an attractive choice for foreign real estate investment. “Weighting by yield makes a lot of sense in real estate investments,” says Kostya Etus, senior portfolio manager at CLS Investments in Omaha. “WisdomTree does just that with DRW, weighting in a way to maximize yield, which also tends to allocate more toward some of the more undervalued real estate companies.” Etus says DRW is unique in offering a dividend-weighted approach in international real estate, while offering a reasonable exposure to emerging markets and a low correlation to equities.

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Wall Street falls on global growth worries

March 25, 2019
Shreyashi Sanyal, Amy Caren Daniel — Reuters

U.S. stocks fell on Monday, extending the previous session’s steep sell-off, hit by worries of a slowdown in global economic growth.

However, Wall Street’s main indexes were still above their session lows in choppy trading. The benchmark S&P 500 is now about 5 percent away from its record closing high hit on September.

Weak factory data from the United States, Europe and Japan on Friday led to the inversion of U.S. Treasury yield curve for the first time since 2007, fueling fears of a global economic downturn.

The benchmark U.S. 10-year treasury yields held near more than one-year lows on Monday, while the yield curve between three-month bills and 10-year notes was modestly inverted.

The Federal Reserve also flagged an expected slowdown in the economy last week and decided against raising interest rates this year.

“The market was over-sold on Friday because of slowing growth across the world and we are seeing some of that spill over to today,” said Marc Pfeffer, chief investment strategist at CLS Investments in New York.

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Emerging Markets Are Poised to Rally Again

March 19, 2019
Craig Mellow — Barron's

After a hot January, emerging market stocks are now again underperforming their U.S. peers.

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets exchange-traded fund (ticker: EEM) is up 9% year-to-date, against 12% for the S&P 500.

But conditions remain ripe for a further rally in emerging markets, investors say. The macro risks that have been frightening investors—from a Chinese hard landing to an escalating Washington-Beijing trade war—seem to be lessening. The U.S. economy is slowing to a “Goldilocks” pace from the standpoint of emerging markets: vigorous enough to support global growth, but measured enough to keep the Federal Reserve dovish. And valuations remain cheap by historical standards.

“Our central position is for positive outcomes on the big issues,” says Jorge Mariscal, chief investment officer for emerging markets at UBS Global Wealth Management. “We are overweight global emerging market equities.”

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JPMorgan ETFs Are a Hit, But With Its Own Clients

March 11, 2019
Asjylyn Loder — The Wall Street Journal

JPMorgan Chase & Co. launched an exchange-traded fund last June that invests in Japanese stocks. The fund raised $1.7 billion in six weeks, making it one of the fastest ETFs ever to surpass $1 billion in assets.

The biggest buyers: JPMorgan’s clients.

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8 Ways to Capture Momentum In Your Portfolio

March 8, 2019
Rebecca Lake — U.S. News & World Report

Buying stocks or other securities with high returns.

Momentum investing is designed to track market upticks. “This strategy aims to capture the swings of certain areas of the market when they’re hot, while avoiding the areas that are in a downtrend,” says Mike Windle, partner at C. Curtis Financial Group in Plymouth, Michigan. He touts exchange-traded funds, which operate similarly to mutual funds that trade like stocks, for this approach. “ETFs will give you far better diversity within an asset class or sector, but still allow the flexibility of intraday trading, so you can get out if the momentum swings,” he says. But stock and mutual funds picks can still capture momentum. Here are eight investments for putting a momentum strategy to work.

iShares Edge MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF

MTUM offers exposure to more than 100 individual stocks, centered on large- and mid-cap U.S. companies. Shana Sissel, portfolio manager at CLS Investments says it’s a good pure-play option. “It’s giving you six and 12 months without mixing anything else like earned momentum or other factors to gain additional momentum exposure.” MTUM is one of the largest ETFs of its kind, and “from a trading, execution and liquidity standpoint, it’s an easy opportunity to gain exposure,” Sissel says. Performance-wise, the fund has a solid track record, producing an average annual total return of 13.7 percent since its inception in December 2014.

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The Various Flavors of Quality ETFs

March 8, 2019
Kostya Etus, CFA — ETF Trends

Everyone loves high quality! How could they not? The word “quality” is synonymous with “good,” and in almost all fields of human endeavor, high quality is viewed more favorably than low quality. When you go looking for a new car, do you ask for a low-quality one?

But quality investments are particularly important during volatile and unpredictable markets. The reason is simple: higher-quality companies have more confident management, which may have a greater ability to weather market downturns. These companies typically provide increased stability and have the potential to outperform over time as they tend to have higher profitability, stronger balance sheets, and consistent earnings growth.

But don’t take my word for it. There is a lot of empirical evidence and many academic studies emphasizing the benefits of quality investments. Here are a few of my favorites…

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U.S. Stocks Remain Unchanged on Economic Data

March 4, 2019
Jessica Menton — The Wall Street Journal

U.S. stocks rebounded Friday, propelled by a rise in energy shares as investors analyzed a batch of new economic data and waited for signs on U.S.-China trade talks.

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