WBI Investments, a Red Bank, New Jersey-based money manager specializing in private client wealth management, rang the opening bell on Sept. 10 at the New York Stock Exchange as it celebrated the launched of its 10 WBI Shares actively managed exchange-traded funds on NYSE Arca.
Don Schreiber Jr., founder and CEO of WBI, said in an interview that the active ETF space “is really the next frontier for growth for ETFs.” Schrieber said that ”we’re also unconstrained. We’re not trying to replicate an index and we are looking to develop an optimal blend of down-market loss protection” while also capturing “up market return.”
Schreiber said that with its 10 new ETFs “we increased the amount of available product in the active channel by 10%.” Schreiber also reported that since the August 27 launch of the WBI Shares ETFs, they had attracted “in excess of $1 billion” in assets.
According to the Investment Company Institute, there were 19 actively managed funds launched in 2013, bringing the total number to 61 with slightly more than $14 billion in net assets as of year-end 2013. Major investment firms such as PIMCO and BlackRock have added to that number in 2014, but actively managed ETFs still account for only a small percentage of overall ETF assets. In a separate interview, Shawn McNinch of Brown Brothers Harriman said that the “last numbers I’d seen” on actively managed ETFs’ assets was $17 billion.
Eight of the 10 new ETFs are equity funds in the large-cap or SMID-cap space designed to provid yield, growth and value from “reputable companies with strong financials, revenue and earnings potential,” according to WBI. The remaining two ETFs are tactically managed fixed income funds. All are rebalanced daily and feature “complete transparency,” according to a WBI statement.