Exchange-traded funds just became a little more active, but more important, the fee-and-cost sandbag on actively managed products just became a little lighter.
On Friday, Eaton Vance rolled out the first of its NextShares products. The funds, called exchange-traded managed funds, are actively managed and priced at net asset value like traditional mutual funds, but have low fees and are traded throughout the day like ETFs.
The first fund, the Eaton Vance Stock NextShares, trades on the Nasdaq under the symbol EVSTC. Its launch was muted, however, by limited distribution and an extended regulatory review.
Stephen Clarke, president of NextShares Solutions, the Eaton Vance subsidiary responsible for the product structure, says there are a number of other NextShares funds in the pipeline. But they aren’t alone, he adds.
“Eaton Vance was just the first. We have 11 other companies that have expressed an intent to bring NextShares to the market,” Clarke says.”To date, our efforts have been working at the company level with broker-dealer home offices, exchanges, market makers and fund companies. Now that there’s a product available, the conversation can expand to include advisors and investors. This is exciting because it’s early and NextShares are new, but there will a lot more to talk about moving forward.”
The first NextShares fund is a version of the master-feeder Eaton Vance Stock Fund managed by Charles Gaffney, and it is now available on Foliofn’s investment platforms. Clarke said Eaton Vance and NextShares worked extensively with Foliofn to develop the technology and other operational infrastructure to launch the new products.
Foliofn is the first broker-dealer to distribute the new products, rolling them out to the 400 advisor firms on its Folio Institutional and consumers on its Folio Investment platforms. “We’re unique because we already owned all of the technology to make this happen,” says Greg VIgrass, Folio’s president. “Our technology people like the challenge and opportunity that comes with doing something new like this, and we’re pleased to have been the first.”
NextShares' exchange-traded market funds marry the active management of many mutual funds with the low fees and tax benefits of ETFs. Like most ETFs, NextShares do not charge distribution fees, service fees or sales loads.
NextShares can be traded throughout the day, but will clear at the fund’s net asset value determined at 4 p.m. each trading day. The funds are not required to disclose their holdings on a daily basis.