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Rating:An ETF Entrepreneur Ponders Third-Party Distro and Supporting Other ETF Entrants Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, December 14, 2015

An ETF Entrepreneur Ponders Third-Party Distro and Supporting Other ETF Entrants

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

An ETF startup in Southern California may both team up with an outside distribution ally and help other firms launch ETFs. Meanwhile, the startup is prepping numbers two, three, and four for its own ETF lineup.

Eric R. Ervin
Reality Shares, Inc.
Co-Founder, President, Chief Executive Officer
Eric Ervin, president and CEO of San Diego-based Reality Shares, confirms that he is seeing interest from other firms, both startups and existing asset managers without their own ETFs, in teaming up to launch ETFs.

"We're starting to see a lot more of that. Maybe they have a strategic or a mutual fund platform," Ervin tells MFWire. "The legal environment for newer firms to launch is getting a little bit looser ... [Yet] it's still pretty involved when it comes to an infrastructure standpoint."

As for Reality Shares' own offerings, the startup quietly launched its first ETF a year ago, after several years of prep work. The shop won "ETF Issuer of the Year" for 2014 at a trade publication's awards show last spring, and shortly thereafter Ervin and his team rang the opening bell at the NYSE and held a celebratory party in midtown Manhattan.

Ervin has been building out his sales and marketing teams, and now he's considering finding outside support on that front.

"We are heavily evaluating a third-party sales force for distribution," Ervin says. "That's been a struggle."

On the product front, the Reality Shares team is preparing to launch a trio of new ETFs. Per their most recent filing with the SEC, the three new ETFs are: the Reality Shares DIVcon Leaders Dividend ETF (LEAD), the Reality Shares DIVcon Dividend Defender ETF (DFND), and the Reality Shares DIVcon Dividend Guard ETF (GARD). The index powering LEAD is designed to track companies that are most likely to increase their dividends in the coming 12 months. The index powering DFND is a specialty long-short index, with the long side invested in the companies in LEAD and the short side shorting the companies predicted to have the highest probability of lowering their dividends over the same period. The index behind GARD is dynamic, able to shift how much it goes long the likely dividend increases vs how much it shorts the likely dividend decreasers. 

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