With government regulators doing away with the red tape that has hindered new strategies from hitting the market, more individual money managers could enter the exchange traded fund space on their own.
White label ETF providers have gained traction as a means for start-ups to take on the well-established money managers that dominate the ETF industry. However, they could be under pressure with a rule to streamline the fund approval process or exemptive relief is expected to be implemented as money managers may consider going into the ETF space without a white label ETF partner.
“It’s really no longer about simply the speed of exemptive relief or saving some legal fees,” Phil Bak, chief executive officer of Exponential ETFs, which sells its own funds and selectively acts as a white label, told Bloomberg. “What’s more impactful to potential firms is having that expertise in house, on their team, on day one.”
These white label ETF providers found that after they have secured their regulatory approval to sell ETFs, there were a number of money managers willing to pay a fee to use their exemptive relief. These aspiring ETF asset managers were able to bypass the burdensome approval process and save money on legal fees by just partnering up with a bespoke ETF provider.
However, the vetting process for a new ETF has been cut down and is much cheaper than it use to be. Recent issuers calculate that gaining relief now costs as little as $15,000 in administration and legal fees. Some have even been able to receive approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission in just five weeks.
“I don’t really think that the old school white-label market of ‘I can do it cheaper’ can survive,” Mike Venuto, chief investment officer of Toroso Investments, an ETF consultant, asset allocator and index provider, told Bloomberg.