Former Bridgewater Manager Aims to Give Advisors Access to Alt Strategies

ETF startup files for eight hedge fund ETFs, plans to add venture capital and private equity funds.

Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
Edited by: Lisa Barr

Unlimited, a new ETF firm with a solid management pedigree and $8 million worth of venture capital backing, is going all in on hedge fund strategies designed with independent financial advisors in mind. 

Ten months after breaking ground with the Unlimited HFND Multi-Strategy Return Tracker ETF (HFND), the New York-based asset manager has filed with the SEC to launch eight more hedge fund strategy ETFs. 

“We’re excited by the amount of interest from independent RIAs who see the value in getting access to hedge-fundlike returns with lower fees and better tax efficiency,” said Bob Elliott, Unlimited co-founder, CEO and chief investment officer, and a former member of the investment committee at mega hedge fund firm Bridgewater Associates

“Our vision is to build a suite of ETFs that gives every investor access to a diverse set of 2/20 style strategies,” he added, referencing the standard private investment fee model of a 2% management fee and 20% performance fee. 

The new filings do not list expense ratios for the funds, but HFND charges 1.03%. 

Along with his co-founder, chief data scientist Bruce McNevin, who held data science positions at such hedge funds as Clinton Group and Midway Group, Unlimited brings a strong reputation to the ETF industry. But it remains to be seen if the financial advisory space will take notice. 

With less than a year under its belt, HFND has attracted $40 million and has gained 1% from the start of the year. 

As Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Eric Balchunas pointed out, alternative strategies usually need choppy or down equity markets to draw investors, not a solid 17% gain which the S&P 500 has done this year

“Aside from 2022, the market seems to go up every year, and you rarely care about having a raincoat if it’s always sunny,” Balchunas said. “What hedge fund strategies need is five years in the markets where nothing is working.” 

He is also skeptical about the appetite for alternative investments among financial advisors. 

“I don’t think a lot of advisors really care about alternatives,” Balchunas added. “The kind of investor who would use a hedge fund is an institution, and they want the real hedge funds, not an ETF version, which institutions view as the dirty public swimming pool that everyone uses.” 

But Elliott believes the appetite is there, which is why he plans to build the Unlimited ETF suite beyond just hedge fund strategies into venture capital and private equity strategies. 

The eight funds filed Wednesday are the Unlimited HFEM Emerging Markets Return Tracker, Unlimited HFEQ Equity Long/Short Return Tracker, Unlimited HFEV Event Driven Return Tracker, Unlimited HFFI Fixed Income Return Tracker, Unlimited HFGM Global Macro Return Tracker, Unlimited HFMF Managed Futures Return Tracker, Unlimited Low-Beta HFND Multi-Strategy and Unlimited Ultra HFND Multi-Strategy Return Tracker. 


Contact Jeff Benjamin at @[email protected]  

Jeff Benjamin is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets and broader financial services industry. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews, and prior to that was an analyst at Cerulli Associates and a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires. Based in North Carolina, Benjamin is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.