Craig Urciuoli from RBB Fund has overseen the firm’s growth since he joined at the beginning of 2020 from USD350 million to USD1.5 billion, with nine ETF products on the platform, and another 12 filings currently with the SEC.
“We have done very well in the ETF space,” Urciuoli says, “it has been a huge focus of ours since I joined because of what is happening in the industry.”
The RBB platform offers ETF and mutual fund support, has worked with the SMA structure and has conversions available for each structure. It completed the Motley Fool conversion in December 2021, which saw the firm convert its mutual funds into ETFs and became a full ETF shop, with about USD1 billion in ETFs from converted mutual funds (and total AUM of USD1.5 billion).
Kelsey Mowrey, Motley Fool Asset Management president, detailed that complicated process in an earlier interview with ETF Express:
Urciuoli says: “Because we play on both sides of the equation, doing mutual funds and ETFs, we get lots of interest from mutual funds who are looking to convert or to launch as well. Our experience on both sides is helpful in bringing people to market.
“On the ETF front I would say that one of the things I am most proud of is the conversions of active and passive strategies and our semi-transparent and fully transparent products – we are playing at the leading edge of ETFs.”
His firm worked on a semi-transparent ETF launch with Blue Tractor and Stance Capital in 2022 and has new filings in the system.
He comments that there are a lot of ETF launches but that ultimately it will come down to the individual strategies as to which will be the winners.
“The structure is a superior structure, and I am seeing it evolve,” he says. “For a long time, the ETF Structure was built for passive thematic strategies, but now it is evolving to be used by wealth managers to achieve operational efficiencies as well as tax efficiencies.”
Urciuoli believes that many active managers continue to monitor the space and will come to market as soon as international stocks are allowed in the US’s semi-transparent model.
“It will happen but it’s a matter of time,” he says.
He notes that the distribution platforms are being more accepting of the semi-transparent structure which he finds helpful and once that starts to move, it will bring with it a change in regulation and in the number of launches. The future looks busy for RBB – those 12 outstanding filings, plus a new product that will take them international.
Urcuioli says: “We have some interest from some of our clients in the process of putting together solutions for them that will be uniquely positioned and somewhat of a innovative structure in the market place.”
He expects to be filing in the next three to five months and will confirm that it is an international product, either in the ETF or another structure format.
“This is very exciting,” he says. “Our unique positioning in the marketplace continues to be well received. We are an independent firm with a low-cost solution for folks to come to market, whether in ETFs or mutual funds.”