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Thursday, October 16, 2014

ETFis For Hedge Fundsters?

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A startup focused on bringing hedge fundsters into the retail mutual fund industry just launched the first ETF fully powered by the platform.

This month New York City-based ETF Issuer Solutions (ETFis launched InfraCap MLP ETF, subadvised by another Big Apple shop, Infrastructure Capital Advisors. And more ETFis-powered ETFs are coming.

"This is the first fund to hit the marketplace that's utilizing all the parts of our platform," Matt Brown, CEO and co-founder of ETFis, tells MFWire, adding that there are 12 more funds from 8 or 9 different managers that ETFis has in registration, in the pipeline.

Brown and two other veterans of the startup ETF issuer world founded ETFis two years ago. The idea, Brown says, is to "consolidate third party services" for alternatives shops looking to reach retail investors through the hot structure of ETFs.

"We were frustrated by barriers to [ETF] startups," Brown says. "We really saw the next wave of ETFs, the active and alternative revolution ... It's absolutely a growth area."

With Kilpatrick Townsend as legal representation and BNY Mellon as transfer agent and custodial partner, ETFis maintains its own series trust for ETFs. Brown sees ETFis' offering, with its laser focus on alts shops, as "fairly unique" in the fund servicing marketplace.

"Some other entities will put a manager's name on it," Brown says. "They don't offer as much as we do ... We provide a number of the parts required to build and operate an ETF."

ETFis has a team of six, and Brown says they're adding two or three more people "pretty much momentarily." 

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