(Bloomberg) — Cathie Wood is getting ready to debut a new exchange-traded fund focused on transparency.
Ark Investment Management’s Transparency ETF will closely follow an index that excludes industries including alcohol, banking, gambling and oil and gas, Wood’s company said in a filing on Tuesday. The top holdings in the 100-company gauge are largely tech and consumer firms such as Salesforce.com Inc., Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Nike Inc. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. An old Ark favorite, Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc., also makes the cut.
“This is kind of Ark’s version of ESG,” said Eric Balchunas at Bloomberg Intelligence, referring to products that reflect higher environmental, social and governance standards. “It’s intriguing because it doesn’t have a moralizing vibe to it, it’s like they’re saying if you go after transparency, you’re probably going to buy good companies.”
Ark didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
If approved, the ETF would be the second that Ark has launched this year. In March, the company started a fund focused on space-related investments, which has risen about 4% since its debut and now has more than $600 million in assets. Meanwhile, the firm’s flagship ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK) is up to $22.5 billion, although it’s down 2% year-to-date — compared with a gain of more than 20% for the S&P 500.
For her part, Wood has been an advocate for transparency in her funds, openly revealing her stock picks. That’s helped her attract a loyal following of individual investors as her funds posted spectacular returns in 2020 and catapulted her into financial stardom.
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She’s known for her insistence that revealing her picks doesn’t hurt her strategies, but instead garners more trust from those buying her funds. ETFs have been her vehicle of choice since she launched Ark in 2014, years before she began appearing on TV and stock prices moved based on her comments.
The choice of a passive strategy for the new fund may surprise some who know Wood for leading a revolution in actively managed ETFs, with more cash now pouring into them than ever before. But one of Wood’s passive products, the 3D Printing ETF, has been quietly gathering steam and even features prominently in her space fund.
The transparency fund will join eight other ETFs from Ark, six that are actively managed and two that passively track indexes. Ark currently has about $45 billion in its ETFs, making it the 11th largest ETF issuer in the U.S.
“An index-based ESG ETF doesn’t necessarily scream ‘disruptive innovation,’ which ARK has branded themselves around,” said Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store. “It will be very interesting seeing how they approach marketing this ETF given the strategy seems at odds with companies such as Tesla and DraftKings, large core holdings in other ARK ETFs.”
(Updates with details on Ark funds. A previous version of the story corrected the S&P 500’s performance in the third paragraph.)
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