Ritholtz Partners With WisdomTree to Launch Crypto Index

Ritholtz Wealth Management has teamed up with WisdomTree to launch the RWM WisdomTree Crypto Index that will provide exposure to Bitcoin (36%), Ethereum (20%) and 11 other cryptoassets (at 4% each). Those 11 additional cryptoassets include layer-1 networks, layer-2 protocols, oracle networks, crypto indexing services, decentralized finance (DeFi) and the metaverse.

While the index is currently only available to Ritholtz clients using separately managed accounts on Gemini, Onramp is bringing this to a wider swath of advisors via its cryptocurrency platform, writes Michael Batnick, director of research at Ritholtz.

“In our view, this direct indexing implementation of the RWM WisdomTree Crypto Index via Onramp Invest and Gemini is the best assembled structure and diversified cryptoasset exposure currently available to U.S. investors and particularly the RIA community,” said Jeremy Schwartz, global chief investment officer at WisdomTree, in a statement.

“Cryptoassets show great promise for financial advisors to add value, to be compensated for it, and to do so in a way that can be in line with their fiduciary responsibilities,” said Eric Ervin, chief investment officer and co-founder at Onramp Invest. “Our goal at Onramp from day one was to make this possible.”

The cryptocurrency and investing communities have waited years to have a Bitcoin ETF approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission, and, so far, no ETF that directly invests in Bitcoin has been approved. The Winklevoss twins were the first to file for a Bitcoin ETF in 2014.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler gave a speech on crypto ETFs in August, indicating that the commission would prefer funds that invest in Bitcoin futures. And Gensler just recently doubled down on his concerns about spot Bitcoin ETFs.

ProShares made history in October with the launch of the first bitcoin futures ETF, under ticker BITO. A few other bitcoin futures ETFs have listed since then.

Thrivent Gets Into the ETF Game

Thrivent, the Midwest-based not-for-profit financial services organization founded by Lutherans, has filed an initial registration statement with the SEC for an exchange traded fund.

According to the filing, the firm plans to launch the Thrivent Small-Mid Cap ESG ETF (TSME), which will be actively managed and invest in the companies with market capitalizations at or below the market cap of the largest company in either or both of the Russell 2500 Index or the S&P MidCap Index.

The new ETF is part of the organization’s long-term strategic growth objectives focused on helping more clients achieve financial clarity,” a spokeswoman said in a statement.

It will use the “proxy portfolio” methodology, under which Thrivent will provide daily disclosures of a proxy portfolio, which reflects the economic exposures and risk characteristics of the portfolio, without revealing the actual holdings. This reduces front-running and intellectual property theft.

 

The ETF will be a completely new fund, not a conversion of one of Thrivent’s existing mutual funds. Several traditionally active managers have announced plans to convert mutual funds into ETFs.

Apollo Continues Its Move Into Retail Wealth Management

Private equity firm Apollo continues to build out its global wealth management solutions business with the acquisition of Griffin Capital, a privately held alternative investment asset manager in Los Angeles. The move adds 60 retail-facing distribution professionals and hundreds of distribution agreements, as Apollo continues to bring its products and services to the retail wealth management market.  

Apollo recently set a target at its investor day of raising $50 billion-plus of organic capital for its global wealth business over the next five years.

In May, the company introduced the new business unit and outlined plans to develop new products that individuals can invest in through financial advisors.

Griffin is particularly strong in its distribution capabilities to the independent channel, Apollo said, a nice complement to its focus on private banks, wirehouses, RIAs and family offices.  

“The democratization of finance brings tremendous opportunity for individual investors to access alternatives,” Apollo CEO Marc Rowan said in a statement. “With the acquisition of Griffin, we will significantly advance our U.S. wealth market growth plans that we presented at our recent Investor Day. As one of the first firms to bring alternative strategies to the individual investor and advisor market in the U.S., Griffin has built trusted relationships over 20-plus years, and in combination with Apollo can offer the market a broader set of solutions.”

First NFT-Focused ETF Goes to Market

Defiance has launched the first exchange traded fund focused on NFTs. The Defiance Digital Revolution ETF (NFTZ) does not directly hold non-fungible tokens, but seeks to provide thematic exposure to the NFT, blockchain and cryptocurrency markets.

The fund has a management fee of 65 basis points, and invests in NFT- and blockchain-related companies, such as Silvergate Capital Corp., Cloudfare, Bitfarms and Coinbase, among others.

Minnie Arwood

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