Axel Lomholt, Qontigo

May day madness and the wisdom of fools

In a somewhat ambitious stretch, I am attempting to link our May Day holiday in the UK on Monday this week, complete, in the countryside at least, with Maypole dancing (not what you might think – do look it up), and Morris Men with our interview with Kelsey Mowrey from the US institution, The Motley Fool.

The Motley Fool and fooldom, as they refer to it themselves, is based on the historical belief that only the fool or jester was able to tell the King the truth. Applied to investment, Mowrey explains: “The Motley Fool, our parent company, was breaking down some of the more technical or difficult perceptions of investing for the everyday person and helping to educate them to make the world smarter, happier and richer for all.”

The Motley Fool has recently converted its mutual funds into ETFs and become a full ETF shop, with new launches of their own ETF products.

The democratisation of investment that ETFs bring is one of their most important selling features and a concept that the industry needs to shout loud, particularly in Europe, where ETF sales through wealth managers and financial advisers are faltering, even as their investor base is going full risk-off in the face of challenging economic headwinds.

Research from global fund group Calastone this week, reported in ETF Express sister title, Wealth Adviser, found that UK equities funds saw record outflows of GBP836 million in April, with selling focused on riskier categories, and even more strikingly, out of GBP49 billion invested in equities funds since January 2015, no net new money has flowed into UK-focused funds.

Another interview this week is all about the new and less of the old, with Kristen Mierzwa, Head of Digital Assets, Index Investments Group, FTSE Russell and Digital Asset Research’s CEO Doug Schwenk explaining the firm’s approach to indexing digital assets.

Indexers want to index everything says Mierzwa, commenting that back in 2017 the firm turned its attention to digital assets and private equity. “We still haven’t cracked private equity,” she says, “but digital assets have robust figures.”

ETF Express also sat down with Axel Lomholt this week, for our partner feature. Lomholt joined the firm six months ago as Chief Product Officer, Indices, with overall responsibility for the STOXX and DAX index portfolio, and has huge ambition for the firm, particularly in strengthening its position in the ETF space. His ambition echoes that displayed by Marc Dorfman from Qontigo in the US who spoke with me at the Exchange conference, confirming that the firm is looking to expand its global product line-up from the offering from Axioma, Qontigo and index provider STOXX. 

Lomholt says: “While STOXX indices have a healthy market lead in structured products, some of the themes that are playing out in the ETF market mean that it is the right time for us to focus even more attention on licensing indices to ETF providers.”

Beverly Chandler, managing editor, ETF Express

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Companies in this issue

AXS Investments
CI Global Asset Management
Digital Asset Research
FTSE Russell
JP Morgan Asset Management
Motley Fool Asset Management
State Street
UBS Asset Management


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