Kranefuss Is Back, But Not With an ETF Provider
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kranefuss Is Back, But Not With an ETF Provider

Lee Kranefuss is back, and he's got a new venture that's in the ETF space ... sort of.

Lee Kranefuss
55 Capital Partners
Founder and co-Chairman
Chris Dieterich of Barron's reports that Kranefuss is a founding partner of New York-, San Francisco-, and Mumbai-based 55 Capital Partners, an ETF strategist that specializes in building portfolios out of hedge fund-like strategies that are cheaper and more transparent than regular hedge funds. Quant strategist Vinay Nair, former CEO of alt shop Ada Investments and visiting professor of finance at Wharton, is also a founding partner of 55 Capital Partners. The 11-person firm also includes Bruce Lavine, a BlackRock alumnus who is on the board of another ETF shop, WisdomTree.

55 Capital's pitch, per a slide deck for prospective investors, compares the startup's mission in the ETF strategist space to "what AQR has done in the world of hedge funds and DFA has done in the world of active equity."

Kranefuss founded and led iShares, the biggest ETF business in the world, when it was part of Barclays Global Investors. BlackRock bought all of BGI, including iShares, and Kranefuss later left BlackRock. He joined private equity giant Warburg Pincus.

When Warburg bought a majority stake in a European ETF shop, Source, Kranefuss became executive chairman of Source. Source entered the ETF business for U.S. investors, with a mission Kranefuss described as "redefining the basic building blocks of portfolio construction" and with a willingness to acquire. Yet last spring Source shut down its first ETF for the U.S. market and Source's CEO left the company.

It's not clear what, if anything, Kranefuss' role at 55 Capital Partners means for his roles at Source and Warburg.

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