What You Need to Know
- Alpha Architect has plans for an ETF that invests in companies associated with cryptocurrency mining; Osprey Funds, sponsor of the Osprey Bitcoin Trust.
- RIA Digital Assets Council partnered with the New York Institute of Finance for its certificate program.
- Schwab and Nuveen add new funds.
In another twist on the rush to sponsor a cryptocurrency ETF, Alpha Architect has filed an application with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch an ETF that invests in companies associated with the mining of cryptocurrencies rather than in cryptocurrencies themselves.
The Alpha Architect ETF Trust plans to invest at least 80% of its assets in the equities of companies “actively involved in the entire spectrum of cryptocurrency mining, from producers of computer chips (foundries), to manufacturers of computer equipment (manufacturers),” to directly investing in market participants creating cryptocurrency themselves (miners), but it will not invest directly in cryptocurrencies. Its subadvisor will screen companies based on environmental, social and governance factors, according to the filing.
Empowered Funds LLC, which does business as Alpha Architect, will be the investment advisor to the fund, and New Gen Minting LLC, known as Viridi Funds, will serve as the subadvisor to the fund. Quasar Distributors LLC will be the distributor.
Brandon Koepke, a computer systems analyst at Alpha Architect, is listed as portfolio manager of the ETF while Wesley Gray, a former assistant professor at Drexel University, is listed as the president and trustee of the trust and CEO of Viridi; John Vogel is treasure of the trust and its chief investment officer.
Alpha Architect has two relatively small ETFs (under $250 million each) — the Alpha Architect U.S. Quantitative Val ETF (QVAL) and the Alph Architect International Quant Val ETF (IVAL).
Morningstar gives both ETFs a negative rating with one star for the domestic version and two stars for the international fund. Its analysis of both funds notes “the questionable investment process and a weak portfolio-management team” though a competitive price compared to peers.
Osprey Funds Adds Osprey Polkadot Trust
Osprey Funds, sponsor of the Osprey Bitcoin Trust (OBTC), has launched the Osprey Polkadot Trust which invests exclusively in DOT, the native token of the Polkadot network. The network is one of a number of competing blockchains, including Ethereum, which aim to grow an ecosystem of cryptocurrencies, and it is one of the newest, introduced last year.
Coinbase, one the largest online platforms for buying, selling and storing digital currencies, will serve as custodian of the trust.
“With limited access points to investing in DOT currently, the Osprey Polkadot Trust will enable accredited investors who want DOT exposure to get titled, auditable ownership through a U.S.-based investment vehicle,” said Greg King, CEO of Osprey, in a statement. He added, “Osprey is just getting started on a series of compelling investment funds that will provide access to some of the most exciting coins and tokens” as the “appetite for next generation investment vehicles” grows.
DOT is the eighth largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of over $31 billion, according to Osprey Fund. DOT has a price of just over $36 compared with over $56,000 for BItcoin, which has a market cap over $1 trillion currently,
Ric Edelman’s RIA Digital Assets Council Partners With New York Institute of Finance
The RIA Digital Assets Council, founded by Ric Edelman, has partnered with the New York Institute of Finance for the Council Certificate in Blockchain and Digital Assets Course.
The 11-module online self-study program for financial advisors covers blockchain technology, bitcoin and other digital assets. It aims to make advisors proficient in key practice management areas including tax, regulatory and compliance issues as well as how to add digital assets to client portfolios and explain this new asset class to clients.
“Investors now expect their financial advisors to give them advice about Bitcoin,” said Edelman, who is also founder of Edelman Financial Engines, in a statement. He added that the first class of the certification program “will soon be able to demonstrate their expertise in blockchain and digital assets to their clients.”
The program provides 13 CE credits, and certificants are awarded membership in the Council, granting them exclusive benefits such as member-only educational and networking events, introductions to leaders in the crypto community, direct access to brochures, charts and other content for use with clients. The inaugural class has 500 members, including financial advisors from France, Great Britain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Africa, South Korea and Australia.
Schwab Launches International Dividend Equity ETF
Schwab Asset Management has launched the Schwab International Dividend Equity ETF (SCHY), which trades on the NYSE Arca and has an operating expense ratio of 0.14%.
“We are excited to bring our newest ETF to market for investors who are eager for additional choice in investment strategies that seek income,” said David Botset, senior vice president of product strategy for Schwab Asset Management, in a statement.
The Schwab International Dividend Equity ETF seeks to track the total return of the Dow Jones International Dividend 100 Index and is the 26th ETF managed by Schwab Asset Management.
Nuveen Adds Impact Investing-Focused Closed-End Fund
Nuveen, the global investment manager of TIAA, has introduced the Nuveen Core Plus Impact Fund (NPCT), which is now trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).