IndexIQ is trying to carve out a name for itself in the growing exchange traded fund business with ETFs tracking alternative strategies and off-the-beaten-path sectors.

The Rye Brook, N.Y.-based firm had about $452 million in ETF assets under management as of the end of June. Index IQ says its mission is to provide “index-based liquid alternative investment solutions that combine the benefits of traditional index investing with the risk-adjusted return potential sought by the best active managers.” The firm also oversees separately managed accounts and a mutual fund based on its hedge-fund-replication strategy. [Hedge Fund ETFs]

“We target sectors that are not available in other ETFs, or are difficult to invest in,” said Adam Patti, IndexIQ chief executive, in a phone interview this week.

IQ Hedge Multi-Strategy Tracker ETF (NYSEArca: QAI) is the company’s oldest and largest ETF. It was listed in March 2009 and attempts to replicate the performance hedge fund investment styles.

IQ Real Return ETF (NYSEArca: CPI) is another ETF managed by the firm, and it tries to protect investors from inflation. CPI’s objective is to provide the investor with a hedge against the inflation rate in the U.S. by delivering a real return that exceeds the actual rate of inflation measured by the Consumer Price Index. [ETF Chart of the Day]

Patti said some financial advisors have expressed reservations over ETFs that invest in Treasury Inflation Protected Securities, or TIPS. They are different from holding individual TIPS to maturity, he pointed out. The ETFs are “laddered portfolios,” so they have rate risk if Treasury yields rise and push bond prices lower.

“TIPS ETFs have performed well lately, driven by market sentiment, or expectations of rising inflation. However, we did research going back to 1900 looking at the key drivers of inflation. We found the best strategy is a multi-asset-class approach. Different asset classes respond to inflation differently,” the CEO said.

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