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HANetf makes senior hires

New white labelling ETF firm HANetf, launched by ETF entrepreneurs Hector McNeil and Nik Bienkowski, has made two senior hires.

General Counsel Samir Patel and Director of Product Management Ignatius Faissal have joined the firm following the recent seed funding round, bringing nearly 40 years’ combined experience in the development and management of investment funds.

McNeil (pictured) says: “We have worked with Ignatius Faissal before as he was an early hire at WisdomTree Europe/Boost where he was instrumental in establishing the firm’s UCITS platform. He is a very experienced and capable individual who knows what it takes to put together a UCITS ETF platform operating model.”

General Counsel Samir Patel has, McNeil says, been around mutual funds as head and general counsel for a long time giving him a deep knowledge of UCITS and getting those products through the regulatory and operational hurdles.

“We will do lots of different structures,” McNeil says. “Physical, synthetic, commodities and we will be pulling on this experience in quite a lot of ways.”

McNeil recently predicted the end of the mutual fund as investors know it. “I feel it comes back to something simple,” he says. “For me ETFs are better technology than mutual funds, which are expensive, less transparent and have many disparate and clunky ways for investors to trade and hold them compared to the simplicity of ETFs trading on exchanges and all holdings can be held in a simple brokerage account.

“The next generation of investors want everything on their mobile phones and instant gratification, with all their investments centralised and they won’t accept bits of paper flying everywhere. In 10 to 15 years from now all new fund launches will be ETFs and mutual funds to survive will need to look more like ETFs at the very least.”

HANetf is aiming to have product up and running by May or June of 2018, with the possibility of announcing their first launch in the first quarter of 2018.

“We are building the systems and infrastructure now. We have a healthy client pipeline. Our focus next year is to launch a handful of products, bed the infrastructure and processes down with a view to making a very flexible and scalable offering going forward.”

McNeil is hoping for a handful of products and one or two clients by the end of the year and then the longer term vision is to be managing between 100 and 150 differentiated ETFs for multiple clients ranging from US and global ETF Issuers to traditional European asset managers entering the European UCITS ETF market for the first time.”

McNeil predicts that most clients will want five to 10 ETFs on average as an extension to their existing investment businesses.

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