One of the biggest investment growth areas in recent years, has been specialist thematic ETFs. These low-cost funds aim to capitalise on investor appetite for new technology: be it artificial intelligence, blockchain, robotics, or renewable energy.
This month BlackRock launched an ETF that specifically targets investments in the electric car market, which many are expecting to significant reshape the automative industry. Meanwhile First Trust Global Portfolio has launched its own ETF, this time following companies specialising in cloud computing.
February also saw the announcements that two veteran fund managers would be stepping down, after 40 plus years in the industry.
New ETF Tracks EV Market
BlackRock has expanded its thematic ETF range, with a new product tracking the electric vehicle market. With a growing emphasis on sustainable transport solutions this invests in companies involved in the manufacture of electric cars, as well as technology companies that supply batteries and relevant component parts. It will also invest companies that are involved in building the infrastructure needed to facilitate this switch.
This ETF will have a total expense ratio of 0.4% and will follow the STOXX Global Electric Vehicles & Driving Technology index.
According to BlackRock there are currently 1.1 million electric vehicles sold each year, but this is expected to rise to 60 million by 2040.
Cloud Computing ETF Launches
First Trust Global Portfolio has launched a new cloud computing ETF. This fund is part of its thematic range and will be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
As the name suggests this ETF will track companies actively involved in this specific part of the tech universe. It will track the ISE Cloud Computing Index and will have a total expense ratio of 0.6%.
First Trust Global Portfolio launched a number of thematic ETFs last year, including a blockchain ETF.
Schroders Japan Manager to Retire
Rose has been with the asset manager for 40 years and has run Schroder Tokyo since 2004. He will be succeeded by Masaki Taketsume on both funds, who has been with the company since 2007. Taketsume will be supported by Nathan Gibbs, investment director for Japanese equities.
Rose has been a hugely successful manager in this space, with Schroder Tokyo returning 155% to investors since 2004 more than twice the Topix at 75%.
Morningstar analysts have placed the funds under review following this announcement.
Rose is the second long-standing equity fund manager at Schroders to announce their retirement this year, with US-based Jenny Jones due to step down at the end of March.
Veteran Bond Manager Retires
Veteran bond manager Bill Gross has announced his retirement from Janus Henderson. Gross, who is now 74, joined Janus Henderson in 2014, but has worked in the fixed income industry for more than 40 years. He was one of the co-founders of Pimco, and his reputation in this sector earned the nickname ‘the bond king’. However, the Global Unconstrained Bond fund he ran for Janus Henderson has underperformed peers in recent years.
In a statement Gross said that he would be concentrating on managing his own assets, and those of his charitable foundation.
All Female VCT Board
Jan Ward will join the board of Calculus Venture Capital Trust (CLCN) as its new chair later this year. She will join as a non-executive director in March and chair the board after the AGM, when the current holder steps down.
The current chief executive John Glencross says Ward has considerable expertise in this area, having established and successfully scaled up a global business.
LGIM’s New CEO
LGIM has appointed Michelle Scrimegeour as its chief executive of its £1 trillion investment management business.
Scrimegeour is currently at Columbia Threadneedle where she is chief executive for the European, Middle East and Africa region. She is expected to leave Columbia Threadneedle the coming months. In the interim she will be working with the leadership team there to ensure a smooth transition.
Scrimegeour has worked in the asset management industry for 30 years, and has previously held positions at Merrill Lynch, BlackRock and M&G.
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