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Stuart Forbes, Rize ETF

What Rize ETF did next


Back in September 2023, thematic and sustainable-investment specialist Rize ETF (Rize) was bought by US asset managers ARK Invest (ARK), from AssetCo.

Four months in, head of ARK Europe and co-founder of Rize, Stuart Forbes, shares an update on progress and plans for 2024.

“We are now part of a globally recognised firm with nearly USD30 billion in assets under management. This puts us on a strong financial footing from which we can invest in further building out the European business.”

He adds: “We have been working with our US colleagues to build our initial suite of actively managed ETFs in Europe, while also developing our broader strategy for ARK in Europe.

“Our immediate focus is on bringing three of ARK’s flagship products to the European market in Q1 or early Q2. Our ambitions are not limited to Europe: we are considering what we may launch in other regions too.”

Forbes also reports a recent move to new offices in Gracechurch Street in London, and an addition to the London-based team. Thomas Hartmann-Boyce, previously one of the US-based client-portfolio managers is now supporting distribution work in Europe and developing the collaboration between the European and US teams.

Reflecting on the integration of Rize with ARK, Forbes says: “Cultural alignment was the first and foremost thing that brought the two firms together.

“ARK’s culture is collaborative, and we are making the most of the synergies and skillsets of the newly enlarged team, to generate new product and distribution opportunities for the global business.

New themes are in the works, explains Forbes: “Following the acquisition, we have been exploring new thematic investment ideas with our US-based colleagues and leveraging in-house expertise in genomics, robotics and AI.

“We expect that our ‘sustainable future of food’ theme will be one of the biggest for us over the coming years. A number of tailwinds converge to drive the investment case, including anticipated lower interest rates and inflation, as well as growing international awareness that the food system is one of the main drivers of climate change, as well as the paramount driver of biodiversity and habitat loss.”

ARK is not the only US manager looking to acquire in Europe, observes Forbes: “We know plenty of US and Asian managers looking at the European ETF space. We also know of a number of traditional European mutual fund managers who are still trying to work out how best to break into the space.  It perplexes me how slow many of the traditional mutual fund manager firms have been to get on with it, particularly the European ones, who at least have had a distribution presence to leverage.”

The Rize name is not yet ready for retirement, as Forbes explains: “It holds a significant amount of brand value and recognition and is synonymous with sustainable thematic investing. 

“A key priority for us now as part of ARK, is to continue building our footprint and market share in this space. This means that we will retain the Rize delineation for our self-indexed range of funds in the near term.”

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