The Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) has launched exchange-traded derivatives with the listing of the first exchange-traded derivative product in the form of an index futures contract - the Saudi Futures 30 (SF30). This contract is based on the MSCI Tadawul 30 Index (MT30).

The launch of the derivatives market is aimed at growing the Saudi capital market by creating new opportunities for investors, providing them with hedging tools to manage risk, and to expand exposure opportunities to one of the largest and most liquid markets in the world – the Saudi Market, said Khalid Al Hussan, CEO of Tadawul.

‘The launch of the Derivatives Market is a significant step in introducing sophisticated market products and creating a trading environment attractive to local as well as international hedgers and traders,’ said Al Hussan, adding that the exchange has plans to roll out more derivatives products such as single stock futures, single stock options, and index options.

SGX Index Edge to launch crypto indices

Singapore Exchange (SGX) has partnered with UK-based cryptocurrency market data provider CryptoCompare to launch a family of crypto indices under the SGX iEdge index suite. The first batch includes the iEdge Bitcoin Index and iEdge Ethereum Index.

The launch marks SGX Index Edge’s entry into the digital currency asset class with the expansion of the iEdge index range which comprises smart beta, futures, fixed income and multi-asset solutions with a new series of indices specifically tailored for financial products in the region including structured products, said Simon Karaban (pictured), head of index services at the Singapore Exchange.

According to research data by CryptoCompare, the total assets under management (AuM) globally of digital asset tracker funds rose from US$220m in March 2017 to over US$4.5 billion by June 2020, a compound annual growth rate of 148%.

While much of the AuM is currently captured by asset managers based in the United States and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (Emea) region, Asia is well-positioned to raise its share of this global AUM given that Asian fiat/crypto trading pairs now account for 43% of total global spot volumes, states the research.

SIMON expands annuities pool

SIMON Annuities and Insurance Services has reached a partnership collaboration agreement with Symetra Life Insurance Company.

The deal expands SIMON’s annuities and structured notes platform for wealth managers with the addition of Symetra fixed indexed annuities and structured variable annuities.

Both product lines are now available on SIMON’s Marketplace, which provides in-depth pre- and post-sale analytics to financial professionals serving the retirement needs of clients.

‘The annuities industry is rapidly evolving as advisors rethink traditional portfolios while looking for a balance between accumulation and income,’ said Jason Broder (pictured), CEO of SIMON.

The partnership follows a number of recent developments aimed at expanding the platform’s annuity capabilities following the launch in December 2019 of its InsurTech module. This includes an agreement with EbixExchange’s AnnuityNet - an order-entry solution for annuity transactions with more than 1,600 annuity products from almost 40 insurance carriers that supports equity indexed annuities; and a partnership with broker-dealer Raymond James Financial.

Symetra entered the US registered indexed-linked annuity (Rila) space in Q2 2019 with a suite of products - Symetra Trek offering four index strategies linked to the S&P 500 Index, Russell 2000 Index, Nasdaq-100 Index, and MSCI Emerging Markets Index.

Symetra Life Insurance Company entered the fixed indexed annuities (FIA) market in 2017 with the Symetra Advisory Edge and Symetra Advisory Income Edge, two FIAs built for fee-based planning. The firm has had a busy summer with the launch in August of its latest indexed annuity products, the Symetra Stride and Edge Elite annuity linked to the S&P500, JPMorgan ETF Efficiente 5 Index, and Putnam Dynamic Low Volatility Excess Return Index; and in June the Symetra Prestige annuity offering exposure to the S&P 500 or the SG Columbia Global Market States Index.

NAIC extends indexed annuity illustrations

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Life Insurance and Annuities Committee has granted extensions to two state regulator working groups addressing product disclosure issues.

The Life Insurance and Annuities (A) Committee granted. The first, the Annuity Disclosure Working Group, has been working to finalize revisions to the Annuity Disclosure Model Regulation (#245) addressing illustrations of indices that have been in existence for fewer than 15 years.

Regulators are concerned that consumers are being misled by unrealistic indexed annuity illustrations and are finalising recommendations to product approval standards for proprietary indices as well as determining whether standards surrounding the relationship between the hedging provider and the index provider are needed.

The Annuity Disclosure Working Group is seeking to increase the time indexes must be in existence to be used in annuity illustrations from 10 to 15 years.

The Life Insurance Illustration Working Group is working to develop policy summary disclosures across the various life insurance products.

BlockFi to provide independent pricing for cryptos

Crypto index provider CF Benchmarks is collaborating with crypto lending platform BlockFi. Under the partnership CF Benchmarks will provide independent pricing and valuation of BlockFi’s crypto deposits and loan collateral for its full product suite.

CF Benchmarks indexes will also be used by BlockFi clients to refine asset allocation, improve risk management and measure investment performance. BlockFi said that these processes are vital for investors to realize the full value of their crypto holdings, and are impossible to accomplish without reliable pricing sources such as the CF Benchmarks indexes.

CF Benchmarks provides cryptocurrency pricing indices for Bitcoin, Ether, Ripple-XRP, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin through robust methodologies that ensure integrity. Its indices power a wide range of financial products, including derivative contracts, investment funds and structured products.

The firm administers and calculates the CME CF Cryptocurrency Pricing Products and the CF Cryptocurrency Index Family.