Exponential ETFs Founder Joins Armada ETF Advisors as CEO

Exponential ETFs Founder Joins Armada ETF Advisors as CEO

In his new chapter, industry veteran Phil Bak zeroes in on REITs.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

Armada ETF Advisors has hired industry veteran Phil Bak as its new CEO, where he served as the chair of the advisory board since November 2021, the company said in a statement on Tuesday.  

Bak is a chartered alternative investment analyst and held roles at Guggenheim Investments, Rydex Investments and the New York Stock Exchange before founding his own firm, Exponential ETFs, in 2016.  

Exponential ETFs was sold in 2020, with Toroso Investments acquiring its subadvisory business and Arrow Funds acquiring its reverse-cap fund, now known as the Arrow Reverse Cap 500 ETF (YPS)

Two years after Exponential ETFs was cut short I have been blessed with a chance to get back in the game,” Bak wrote in a blog post published on Monday. “I’ve been blessed with a chance to use the hard-fought lessons and battle-scars to grow Armada, and to launch atNav, the right way with the right team.” 

Bak detailed some of these battle scars in his post, in which he also calls the first few weeks of COVID-19 “horrific.” 

“A funding commitment pulled, an eight-month runway became an urgent raise, a lifeline was offered,” he wrote of the Exponential ETFs sale in 2020. 

After the sale of Exponential, Bak held the role of chief investment officer for Signal Advisors and went on to found startup capital markets technology company atNav. 

Armada entered the ETF space earlier this year with the March 1 launch of The Home Appreciation U.S. REIT ETF (HAUS), which currently has $2.8 million in assets under management. HAUS targets real estate investment trusts that have significant exposure to residential real estate.  

In his new role, Bak says he will focus on growing Armada and HAUS while further developing atNav’s technology designed to improve liquidity for ETFs.  

“Here is something that doesn’t get talked about as much as it should: in the real estate sector, the best actively managed funds have demonstrated fairly reliable alpha,” Bak noted. “REITs aren’t sexy, and most investors assume that any REIT is more or less fungible with another, but the data says otherwise.” 


Contact Heather Bell at [email protected] 

Heather Bell is a former managing editor of etf.com. She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.