The year 2015 saw more than 280 ETFs launch on U.S. exchanges and an unprecedented number of new brands enter the ETF space, including first-time issuers as well as firms that launched their funds via another company's exemptive relief. In all, nearly 30 new brand names made their debut last year. Using FactSet's classification system, we've listed those newcomer brands in the following pages along with brief descriptions, their websites, how many funds they've launched, dates of market entry and total assets under management.
AccuShares is notable among the new ETF brands for its patent, which allows it to capture spot prices on assets like commodities and volatility, which are usually accessed via the futures market. The firm's products have a design similar to a teeter-totter, in which cash assets flow between paired funds representing long and short exposures, with distributions and rebalancing occurring monthly.
Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky-based AlphaMark Advisors is a registered investment advisory firm that was founded in 1999 by President and Chief Investment Officer Michael Simon. Its sole listed ETF, the AlphaMark Actively Managed Small Cap ETF (SMCP), targets the global small-cap market and selects stocks that the firm identifies as exhibiting consistent growth, sustainable earnings momentum and the capacity to generate cash flows in any economic environment.
CSOP Asset Management is headquartered in Hong Kong and is the world's largest renminbi qualified foreign institutional investor, with a total quota of more than $7.5 billion. The firm, which is a joint venture owned by China Southern Asset Management Co. Ltd. and OP Financial Investments Limited, was the first subsidiary owned by Chinese asset management companies to be opened outside of China's mainland.
Columbus, Ohio-headquartered Diamond Hill Capital Management is an investment management firm that offers a range of actively managed mutual funds and the index-based Diamond Hill Valuation-Weighted 500 ETF (DHVW), as well as private investment funds and separate accounts. It has total assets under management of $16.8 billion as of Dec. 31, 2015. The firm's investment philosophy revolves around the idea that an individual company's intrinsic value is independent of its stock price.
Based in Wheaton, Illinois, Elkhorn Investments was founded by former Invesco PowerShares Managing Director Ben Fulton. The firm has focused on "smart beta" funds in its first two launches, with more ETFs planned in that vein. Elkhorn also offers market-linked CDs, structured notes and unit investment trusts. It teams up with third-party research firms to develop co-branded investment products, which it brings to market and provides with marketing and distribution support.
ETF Managers Group offers customized services to potential ETF issuers, including exemptive relief and distribution services, and notes that it can help clients launch an ETF in as little as 365 days. Beyond the two funds ETF.com classifies as falling under ETFMG's brand, the company has participated in the launches of ETFs under the PureFunds, Loncar, Etho, Sit, Tierra and YieldShares brand names, and has partnered with a wide range of firms.
Etho Capital is an investment management company that seeks to address the problem of climate change through sustainable investing. The index methodology underlying its only listed ETF, the Etho Climate Leadership U.S. ETF (ETHO), excludes companies in certain sectors and industries like energy, aerospace and tobacco, and scores the remaining U.S. companies based on their degree of climate efficiency, selecting and equal-weighting the top 50%.
Gavekal Capital is a Denver-based investment manager that offers ETFs, a mutual fund, subadvisory services and managed accounts. Its investment philosophy is designed to exploit what the firm terms the "knowledge effect," which is based on the premise that the stocks of very innovative companies tend to outperform. Gavekal's approach considers each company's "intangible assets," including such elements as the amount spent on R&D, employee training and advertising.
Goldman Sachs Asset Management is not exactly new to the exchange-traded product space, as its brand has appeared previously on exchange-traded notes, but it launched its first in-house ETFs in 2015. The ActiveBeta funds use a multifactor index-based approach that targets the value, momentum, quality and low-volatility factors. Also of note, the issuer has sought to be competitive on price, charging only 9 basis points for its large-cap U.S. ETF, the Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF (GSLC).