Following the smart money is becoming a popular trend in the world of funds, and the trend got a boost with today’s launch of the Global X Guru Activist Index ETF (ACTX).
This new product from New York-based Global X Funds is based on the Solactive Guru Activist Index that tracks the U.S.-listed equity holdings of a select group of activist shareholders based on their 13D and 13F filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Institutional investment managers with more than $100 million in qualifying assets––generally U.S. equity securities––must file a Form 13F with the SEC within 45 days of the end of each quarter. These filings publicly disclose the qualifying holdings of investment managers and provide a window into their portfolios.
Schedule 13D statements are filed with the SEC by investors who acquire more than 5% of a company’s common stock. In some cases, an investment manager who buys such a large stake in a particular company is an activist investor who seeks a board seat or two to put the heat on management to make changes the activist believes can make the targeted company more profitable.
The new Global X fund looks at both filings because it gives it more flexibility in building its portfolio.
“13Ds can be very useful in a more concentrated portfolio of companies that have been targeted by activists," says Jay Jacobs, research analyst at Global X Funds. “But when trying to build a broader portfolio and include more large-cap companies as well, 13Fs are critical to that process.”
That’s because as wealthy as some of these activist investors are, they generally aren’t able to build a 5 percent stake in a single large company––that’s usually the domain of larger institutional investors such as pension funds or mutual fund companies.
“Carl Icahn doesn’t own 5 percent of Apple, but he’s certainly an activist investor and he’s certainly made a huge push in Apple,” Jacobs says. “So if you only use 13Ds you’re missing out of some of those high-profile, large-cap activist campaigns.
“We see a lot of activist investors are going after bigger names,” he adds. “A lot of their strategy revolves around the publicity they generate around their action.”
The Global X Guru Activist Index ETF has 50 holdings known to be in the crosshairs of activist investors. Among them, and the activist investor associated with them, are Apple, eBay and Chesapeake Energy (Carl Icahn); Zoetis and Valeant Pharmaceuticals (Bill Ackman); DuPont (Nelson Peltz); Amgen (Dan Loeb) and Juniper Networks (Paul Singer).