A Texas Fundster Builds an ETF-In-a-Box Shop, With a Twist
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Tuesday, March 08, 2016

A Texas Fundster Builds an ETF-In-a-Box Shop, With a Twist

A Texas fundster is building an ETF-in-a-box startup, with a twist.

Ethan Powell
Highland Capital Management
Chief Product Strategist, Executive Vice President
"We are in the process of capital raising," Dallas-based Ethan Powell tells MFWire.

Powell is creating Impact Shares, with hopes of launching the platform in the third quarter of 2016. He most recently served as chief product strategist at Highland Capital Management [profile], also in Dallas, and he continues to serve on the fund board at Highland.

"It's a great organization," Powell says, and he plans to "stay involved."

A spokeswoman for Highland confirms that Dustin Norris, Highland's chief product strategist for liquid alternatives, is taking on Powell's duties.

The idea behind Impact Shares, Powell says, is to team up with an index provider and create bespoke indexes and ETFs for organizations with specific ESG concerns. A union, for example, might want ETFs that put a labor-friendly tint on traditional indexes like the S&P 500, while a religious organization might want ETFs that put a bible-worthy spin on such indexes.

"You're still trying to get an equity market proxy but with a very specific social engagement bent to it," Powell explains.

Powell sees non-profit organizations and younger investors feeling increased distrust towards Wall Street, and with Impact Shares he aims to increase engagement for those groups.

"There's just a lot of tailwinds [for ESG investing], and there aren't a lot of good options in the marketplace right now" when it comes to passive ESG investments, Powell says.

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