Industry veterans launch European white-label ETF platform

Aug 16th, 2017 | By | Category: ETF and Index News

European ETF industry veterans Hector McNeil and Nik Bienkowksi have announced the launch of HANetf, Europe’s first independent “white label” UCITS ETF platform.

Boost ETP co-founders announce launch of new white-label ETF platform

Hector McNeil (left) and Nik Bienkowski, co-CEOs of HANetf. (file image)

The platform, which is not linked to any existing ETF issuer, will provide third-party asset managers from around the world with the infrastructure to build and launch ETFs into Europe without having to establish their own full-service business.

The pair aim to disrupt the market by lowering the barriers to entry for prospective ETF issuers by providing services including product development, compliance, capital markets, sales, marketing and distribution.

The platform will also provide a fully neutral alternative to Canvas – the only other white-label ETF platform operating in Europe –  which is tied to ETF Securities.

Europe is currently the second largest ETF market in the world with almost $700bn of assets under management, but remains a fraction of the size of the US market where ETFs assets are around the $3 trillion mark.

The European industry is gathering momentum, however, with record year-to-date net inflows of $63.8bn (as of the end of June 2017) significantly above both the $22.6bn recorded at the same point last year and the $55.7bn gathered during the whole of 2016, according to ETF industry consultants ETFGI.

Nik Bienkowski, co-CEO at HANetf, said: “We are incredibly excited about establishing HANetf. We passionately believe ETFs are the future of investment and still have a huge amount of growth ahead of them in Europe. By establishing Europe’s first independent “white label” business we will massively lower the barriers to entry for all asset managers who may look to issue any range of ETFs.

“Every asset managers should have an ETF strategy, yet they do not necessarily want to deal with the cost and burden of setting up a full services European ETF operation, and we feel we are uniquely positioned to utilise our experience within the ETF industry to enable others to enter the market.”

Hector McNeil, co-CEO at HANetf, added: “There is a powerful trend towards ETFs in Europe and asset managers will need to be able to issue passive, smart beta and ultimately active investment strategies in a timely and efficient manner to take advantage of this demand.

“We believe we have a unique offering in Europe and we want to help any companies who may have thought the road to market too costly, time consuming or management intensive to issue ETFs under their own efforts.”

McNeil and Bienkowski’s experience in the ETF space stretches back to the formative days of the European industry. The pair are perhaps best known as the founders of Boost ETP, a specialist provider of inverse and leveraged ETPs which later evolved into WisdomTree Europe after the US firm acquired a 75% stake in 2014. McNeil and Bienkowski sold their remaining share of the business to WisdomTree last year. Prior to Boost, they were part of the senior leadership team at ETF Securities that led the commodities specialist during its highly successful early years.

The duo, who are already in talks with a number of third-party asset managers, will be hoping to bring the dynamism of the US ETF industry to Europe and emulate the success of US white-label platforms such as ETF Managers Group, Exchange Traded Concepts and ALPS, which between them have helped to bring more than 50 ETFs to market. This may take time, however, and will not be without challenges – as witnessed by the modest success of Canvas. Despite much initial excitement, the platform has only managed to announce three partnerships since its launch in September 2013.

HANetf is currently completing a seed financing round of funding and is expected to be fully operational in 2018.

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