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Rating:Lavish Party Launches Dividend ETFs Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, June 16, 2006

Lavish Party Launches Dividend ETFs

Reported by Marie Glancy

WisdomTree Investments aims to make its mark on Wall Street, signaling so Thursday night with a soiree for several hundred on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. The company that's united publisher Jonathan Steinberg (son of financier Saul), Wharton professor Jeremy Siegel, and hedge fund tycoon Michael Steinhardt is based on the concept of a new type of ETF, launched Friday -- but it's building its talent pool in part with recruits from existing ETF leaders.

Guests sipped drinks, enjoyed roast turkey and steak, and had their photos snapped in front of the bell. Each received a hardcover copy of Among Trees, a book of photographs by Sean Kernan, as a party favor. Steinberg's wife, CNBC finance anchor Maria Bartiromo, lent an extra layer of glamour to the event, returning to the spot where she made her name.

Such a high-profile kick-off stands in contrast to the months of research WisdomTree's founders have apparently conducted behind the scenes. Siegel's writings on the benefits of dividends struck a chord with Steinberg, who formerly published Individual Investor magazine (which sold its subscriber list to Kiplinger's in 2001) and ran indices through WisdomTree's earlier incarnation, Index Development Partners. Their family of 20 ETFs is founded on the idea that dividend weighted products will yield better returns than those weighted according to market cap.

Staffers said the company only recently began assembling its sales force in earnest, with expansion to come. Meanwhile, staff recruited from ETF competitors Barclay's Global Investors and State Street have added to a buzz of optimism at WisdomTree.

Not surprisingly, the newly-public NYSE looks eager to pursue the big business now to be found in ETFs. Reps on hand for Thursday's event encouraged some attendees to come up with their own exchange-traded products, promising due pomp.  

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