The Product Dreams of an $11B ETF Shop's Chief
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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The Product Dreams of an $11B ETF Shop's Chief

Mike Akins and his team continue to hunt for new ETF ideas. Akins, senior vice president and head of ETFs at DST's Alps [profile], tells MFWire that he looks to be either "first to market or significantly" with each new ETF. And then he asks, "can it be viable?"

Michael Akins
Sr. Vice President, Director of Index Management & Product Oversight
"We are very strategic" when considering potential new products," Akins says. "We think of ourselves as a portfolio completion company."

Alps now has $15 billion in AUM, including about $11 billion in its 15 ETFs. Akins wants products that help investors diversify their portfolios or meet specific needs. In terms of types of strategies, Akins says he's interested in factor-based investing (i.e. smart beta, strategic beta), themes, and more.

"I love tactical," Akins says, pointing to Alps' "excellent relationship with Select Sector SPDRs," which SSgA powers and Alps distributes. "I also really want to continue to explore alternatives."

"I'm a big believer in active management," Akins says, predicting that active management will shift away from so-called "closet indexing" to "smaller and smaller funds with higher and higher conviction."

"Active asset management has evolved from securities selection to asset allocation," Akins adds.

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