Ramaswamy’s Strive Asset Management Surpasses $1B in ETF Assets

The controversial firm says new inflows are mostly coming from wealth managers.

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Finance Reporter
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Reviewed by: Sean Allocca
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Edited by: Ron Day

Strive Asset Management, the ETF firm co-founded by Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy, surpassed $1 billion in assets as it gains popularity among investors who share its anti-ESG sentiments. 

The firm, which operates 11 ETFs, aims to differentiate itself by encouraging businesses to prioritize financial gains for investors over other stakeholders. The firm was founded in 2022 and was backed by investors Bill Ackman and Peter Thiel. Ramaswamy stepped down from the firm in February to run for president, and is currently among the top 5 GOP candidates, according to a handful of polls.

Strive bought small stakes in firms such as Apple Inc. and BlackRock Inc. and has called on the companies to abandon environmental, social and governance issues and instead focus first on profits. While investing strategies that evaluated companies based on ESG ratings have soared in the past few years—to the tune of $41 trillion in assets, up from $22.8 trillion in 2016, according to Bloomberg—the movement has seen conservative political backlash in the U.S.

Strive CEO Matt Cole explained in an interview that the majority of recent inflows into the firm have come from wealth managers and financial advisors.

“I think that there's been an uptick of everyday citizens reaching out to their advisors and saying that they don't want ESG or stakeholder capitalism in their portfolios, which I think helps us get meetings, but advisors are committed to their fiduciary duty,” said Cole.

Ramaswamy’s rise in the presidential polls has also elevated coverage of the firm on a national scale, even though he’s no longer involved. Ramaswamy has climbed to third place, running his campaign on an anti-ESG stance and a strong defense of former President Donald Trump.

“We don’t shy away from the fact that we were founded by Vivek,” said Cole, adding that the firm is “proud of [its] roots.” 

Strive’s largest and flagship ETF, the Strive U.S. Energy ETF (DRLL), has $368 million under management and holds stakes in ExxonMobil Corp. and Chevron Corp.

Strive thrives amid lawsuits

Yet the firm also faces lawsuits in New Jersey and Kansas from former employees who claim that Strive encouraged them to break securities laws and misled them about the company’s finances. The New Jersey suit also alleges that Strive ignored reports of sexual misconduct.

The company said it aims to “vigorously defend” itself from the suits in a statement.

Contact Lucy Brewster at [email protected].

Lucy Brewster is a finance reporter at etf.com covering asset managers, emerging technologies, and regulation. She hosts etf.com webinars and appears on Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s flagship podcast. She previously was a finance fellow at Fortune Magazine where she covered markets, investment strategy, and venture capital. She has also been a freelancer writer at the publication Mergers & Acquisitions and a research fellow at the Historic Hudson Valley. 

She graduated from Vassar College in 2022 with a degree in History and was an editor of The Miscellany News, the college's award winning student run newspaper. 

Lucy lives in Brooklyn, NY, and in her free time she loves to run and find new recipes to cook.