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Friday, May 1, 2015

Next For Eaton Vance: a WiFi-Like Alliance?

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The Eaton Vance [profile] team is rallying together the mutual fund firms that are choosing its new, ETF-like product structure.

Bob Cunha, managing director of marketing and distribution strategy at Eaton Vance, confirms that the publicly-traded, Boston-based mutual fund shop is launching a consortium for fund firms that use the NextShares exchange-traded managed fund (ETMF, which trades like an ETF but dials transparency down to regular mutual fund intervals) structure developed by Eaton Vance's Navigate Fund Solutions subsidiary. He envisions an alliance along the lines of the technology industry consortiums behind WiFi and Bluetooth.

"Performance is the message... [and that] message is much more powerful if delivered by a consortium of firms," Cunha tells MFWire. "A common voice... will be exponentially more powerful."

American Beacon [profile], Gamco [profile], the Hartford [profile], and Victory [profile] have all publicly joined Eaton Vance in licensing the NextShares ETMF idea, and Cunha says that other firms have privately signed on. They're aiming to boost that to dozens of fund firms.

"We're talking to most of the major fund companies," Cunha says.

Eaton Vance and Navigate are about to kick off an advertising campaign to educate financial advisors, fundsters, and others about the benefits of the ETMF structure. The idea behind the consortium, Cunha says, is to create a "common language, common education, and common description of the performance advantages."

The plan, Cunha explains, is to create several different working committees around NextShares ETMF issues like financial advisor education, wholesaler training, operations, and media relations. And he says that the consortium will also "form a special committee" to be a "bull horn tallying the advantages of active investing for many investors."

The consortium will be "a federation of equals," with no centralized organization or big budget of its own, Cunha says. It will simply be "a group of firms collaborating." 

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