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New York Life Affiliate to Start Health Improvement ETF

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An arm of a New York Life Insurance Company wants to help investors invest in improving people’s health.

IndexIQ, part of New York Life Investment Management LLC, is joining with the American Heart Association to introduce the IQ Healthy Hearts ETF (HART), which trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

New York Life Investments sees the fund as an example of an investment arrangement based on an effort to take environmental, social and [corporate] governance (ESG) criteria into account.

(Related: Social Issues, Outperformance Are Increasing Interest in ESG Investing)

The HART ETF will invest in companies that fit with AHA objectives, such as those that provide:

  • Diagnosis or treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
  • Manufacturing and distribution of healthy food or wellness products.
  • Services allowing people to access information about their health and thereby make better decisions about their lifestyles.
  • Solutions for people to track their fitness and engage in a healthy lifestyle.

A fund fact sheet shows that, as of Jan. 14, the top holdings were Eli Lilly and Company, Apple Inc., Johnson & Johnson, NIKE Inc. Class B, Novo Nordisk A/S Class B, Novartis AG, Abbott Laboratories, Medtronic PLC, Merck & Co. Inc. and Bristol-Myers-Squibb Co.

The new HART fund will make regular contributions to the AHA’s Social Impact Find, according to New York Life Investments.

“The Social Impact Fund supports entrepreneurs, small businesses and organizations in under-served communities whose programs address economic and social conditions that can affect a person’s health,” the AHA says on its website. “These issues include social cohesion, employment, education, housing and food access.”

The AHA Social Impact Fund was formed in 2019 and has given $35 million to 39 organizations, it says.

In theory, if the HART ETF concept works, the fund also could lead to extra returns for New York Life Insurance Company, by improving the health and lifespan of people who have the company’s life insurance.

Other companies with health improvement-themed ETFs include Mirae Assets, which offers the Health & Wellness Thematic ETF (BFIT), and Middlefield Group, which offers the Health & Wellness ETF (HWF). Both the BFIT fund and the HWF fund came to life in 2016.

New York Life Investments says it hopes the new HART ETF will be part of a family of IndexIQ “Dual Impact ESG ETFs.”

The new dual impact funds will give investors a way to invest in funds that advance social causes and important social initiatives, New York Life Investments says.

IndexIQ accounts for about $4.2 billion of New York Life Investments’ $662 billion in assets under management. The unit specializes in creating new types of ETFs.

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