Financial technology is booming and touching every aspect of our lives, from working to investing to how we pay for goods and services.
Investment in this sector is also growing sharply. Seventy-six percent of 2015’s financial industry venture capital investment went to fintech, according to a study by KPMG. McKinsey says there was roughly as much fintech investment in 2015 as there was in the previous five years combined.
With that growth in mind, PureFunds last week launched the PureFunds Solactive FinTech ETF (FINQ), which it says is the first ETF to focus on the broader fintech industry.
“There’s an entire industry out there whose sole focus is to disrupt that old-guard financial service industry,” says PureFund CEO Andrew Chanin. “It’s almost a mission statement.”
The idea was to create a global fund for investors who are interested in getting exposure to these companies without having to worry about single-stock risk. The fund has about 70 percent of its holdings in the U.S., with Bermuda, Jersey, the U.K., Denmark, Australia and other countries rounding out the rest.
FINQ is based on the Solactive FinTech Index, which includes companies that do business in at least one of the following areas: automation of processes, enhanced distribution of products and services, or creation of new products or services that did not previously exist. From a liquidity standpoint, each firm must have over $200 million in market capitalization and the three-month average daily value trading must be a minimum of $1 million. The fund was seeded with $2.5 million and has 31 holdings.
The fund is equal-weighted and balanced quarterly, with an expense ratio of 0.68 basis points. It’s one of eight ETFs from PureFunds, which focuses on innovations in traditional sectors. The company is best known for the PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (HACK) and the PureFunds ISE Mobile Payments ETF (IPAY).
Chanin says PureFunds was careful to make sure that FINQ did not overlap too much with IPAY, and notes the only two holdings the ETFs have in common are electronic-payment systems providers Square Inc. and PayPal Holdings.
FINQ has a mix of new fintech names and established companies. Its top five holdings are Square, non-bank small business lender On Deck Capital, financial software provider SilverLake Axis, consumer credit rating company Fair Isaac and data-analytic company Black Knight Financial Services which serves the mortgage and real estate industry.
Looking at the sub-index exposure, FINQ has 36 percent of its holdings in information technology, which isn’t surprising given its goal. Given that there are many different IT-focused ETFs like the Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT), with an expense ratio of 0.10 basis points or even the iShare Exponential Technologies ETF (XT), with an expense ratio of 0.47 basis points, why should investors choose FINQ with its higher expense ratio of 0.68 basis points?