A SoCal ETF Startup Celebrates In NYC, With a '20s Twist
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Thursday, April 2, 2015

A SoCal ETF Startup Celebrates In NYC, With a '20s Twist

An ETF startup celebrated in New York City this week via a blast from the past.

After quietly launching its first ETF in December, Eric Ervin and his Reality Shares team kicked things up a notch this week. On Monday Eric Ervin (co-founder, president, and CEO of the San Diego-based shop) and his team rang the opening bell of the NYSE. That night they gathered investors, clients, and other allies at the Skylark bar, a 30th-floor venue overlooking midtown Manhattan.

CNBC personality Kenny Polcari (who once worked with Reality Shares chief operating officer Tom Trivello) spoke at the 1920s-themed event, which also featured a five-piece band and singer performing 1920s music, a dancer with feathers inside a giant inflatable plastic sphere, and waitstaff in 1920s garb. Polcari described Reality Shares' December soft product launch as the engagement and the launch this week as "wedding day."

Mike Rosen, chairman of Reality Shares and former chief of Context Capital Management (which sold to OpFunds in 1996), quipped that "hopefully one day Reality Shares will be an overnight success." Rosen told partiers that about 100 folks came to the event.

Ervin also spoke at the party. He noted that Reality Shares launched more than three years ago, in December 2011, and it took until December 2014 to finally get its first product out there. The idea behind the ETF is to help investors (like those Ervin worked with when he was a Smith Barney advisor) invest in dividend growth without stock prices.

"I'd much rather own the divs than the p," Ervin said at the event. "Wall Street ends up becoming this popularity contest."

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