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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Enter Phase One of Highland's Massive ETF Rollout

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The Highland Capital Management [profile] team just kicked off phase one of their 17-ETF rollout plan.

This week Ethan Powell, chief product strategist at the Dallas-based alternatives manager and mutual fund shop, unveiled Highland's second, third, and fourth ETFs: the Highland HFR Global ETF, the Highland HFR Event Driven ETF, and the Highland HFR Equity Hedge ETF. All three are powered by indexes from HFR (Hedge Fund Research, Inc.).

Though most of Highland's products are actively managed, its Highland's first ETF (a passive one) is now about two years old (with more than $320 million), and earlier this year Highland filed to launch 17 more "across various asset classes" to address what Powell described as a "lack of access to hedge-fund-like strategies from a beta perspective."

Now the first three ETFs have arrived, and Powell calls Highland's offerings "an elegant solution to incorporating the three alpha levers of hedge funds into one product." HFR created liquid versions of its indexes that samples SMAs that underlie the indexes and rebalances on a monthly basis.

"We think this is a more elegant hedge fund replication strategy," Powell says, contrasting the approach with that of other hedge fund replication strategies that are either factor-based or draw from hedge funds' quarterly 13F filings with the SEC.

22-year-old Highland works with about $21 billion in assets under management, of which about $15 billion is institutional mandates and the rest is in mutual funds.  

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