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ACA Group is ‘first call’ when launching an ETF


ACA Foreside | Best ETF Distributor | Best ETF Regulatory/Compliance Adviser | Best Compliance Team for Mutual Fund to ETF Conversions

In May 2022 ACA Group merged with Foreside Financial Group to create ACA Foreside which provides a full suite of GRC advisory, technology, managed services, analytics, distribution, and outsourcing solutions to the financial services industry.

The company is now one of the US largest and most recognised advisers to the investment management industry.

Joseph Higgins, senior director at ACA Foreside, says the firm has spent the past 15 years becoming the industry’s “first call” when looking to launch an ETF in the US.
He says this explains the triple win at this year’s ETF Express Awards.

“ACA Foreside works with asset management firms throughout the world to facilitate compliance and product distribution through legal underwriting, registered representative licensing, and DTCC/NSCC fund sponsorship. Our firm has the experience working with all types of pooled investment vehicles such as mutual funds, ETFs, alternative products, closed-end interval funds, business development companies and private placements.”

Higgins makes the point that unlike its competitors, ACA Foreside does not issue any products, which means it is not in competition with its clients.

This year’s recent spate of wealth managers launching ETFs, or exploring the possibility of doing so, has played to ACA’s advantage, with the firm advising ETF issuers and asset managers on the regulatory, financial, operational, and distribution requirements of exchange-traded funds.

Higgins says: “We closely follow the expanding US and international ETF marketplaces and the rapid product innovation in the market today.”

He adds: “We also understand the various ETF strategies, such as index and active management, for equity, bond, and commodity fund types. As legal underwriter, ACA Foreside will also be clients’ conduit to the Authorised Participant (AP) community, interacting daily with the APs, on their behalf.”

The firm is currently servicing over 800 ETFs across more than 160 different managers making it the largest legal third-party distributor in the US.

Higgins says that as part of ACA Foreside’s “robust” ETF platform, the team has collaborated with clients on large-scale consulting engagements to assist large, traditional asset managers with their initial foray into the space, as well as worked closely on helping client Guinness Atkinson achieve the industry’s first mutual fund to ETF conversion in 2021.

Higgins says comprehensive, tailored, and cost-effective solutions are “at the core” of ACA Foreside’s high-touch client service model. Each ACA Foreside team member has access to the 500+ compliance professionals, 60+ cybersecurity focused team members, in addition to ESG and RegTech dedicated individuals who serve alongside them at ACA Group.

Predicting evermore ETF launches next year, Higgins says ACA Foreside will be ready to take on more clients.

“Launching an ETF takes time, money, and the right partners, and ACA Foreside stands ready to advise your firm. Launches in the coming year are going to be thoughtful and disruptive. Firms will be sticking to their knitting, providing high calibre talent and strategies, which will ultimately benefit the end investor.”

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