Hector McNeil, the founder of the recently launched white-label ETF platform HANetf, believes his new company can take advantage of what he believes is the huge potential for growth in areas such as smart beta and pure active investment.
HANetf was launched in August by McNeil, a veteran ETF entrepreneur who along with co-founder Nik Bienkowski, established first ETF Securities and then Boost ETFs, which subsequently became WisdomTree Europe in May last year.
The new platform is aimed at disrupting the European ETF market with the first white-label UCITS ETF platform and has been designed to offer asset managers a low-cost one-stop shop which provides product development, sales and marketing and distribution services along with the compliance function.
McNeil said that despite being synonymous with passive investment, ETFs should more be considered a wrapper that could encompass all mutual fund investment strategies, including eventually active management.
"Increasingly investors will demand ETFs for all their needs and all meaningful asset managers will need to provide their funds in ETF wrappers," he told ETFstream.
"The ways of use, low costs, access through the exchanges, transparency and liquidity is driving investors to use ETFs. The only exposures you won't see are private equity, property and other illiquid assets that don't have real time and daily liquidity."
McNeil said the aim of the company was to "crash the main barriers to entry" for asset managers to gain a foothold within the ETF sector. "We believe that most new entrants want to add ETF wrappers to their product offering but don't want to invest in a full-service ETF company," he said.
Low-cost, high tech
Over time, HANetf expects to offer ETFs all asset classes from equities to fixed income, commodities and beyond. The company also expects to be able to offer exchange traded notes (ETNs) and exchange traded commodities (ETCs) alongside its hopes to be offering smart beta and active funds.
Part of the solution for providing a low-cost alternative platform comes from the advances made in technology and McNeil believes the advances made means his company will be able to "leapfrog" the current market participants by digitising all of the sales, marketing and distribution elements of the business.
"We believe this should help us be far more laser like in our approach to the investment community and consistently add value to them through research, emails, seminars and social media content."
HANetf is in the process of completing a seed funding raise in order to expedite the growth of the business. It hopes to conclude funding arrangements in the autumn.