About a decade ago, Cathie Wood pitched her then-employer AllianceBernstein Holding LP on the idea that its thematic strategies could be deployed using actively managed ETFs. The firm didn’t bite, so she left to chart her own course.

Now, after Wood founded her own firm and created a suite of active innovation-themed funds that she’s become renowned for, AllianceBernstein is planning its own “disruptors” ETF that seeks to target innovative companies.

The $647 billion asset manager is already a latecomer to the $6.32 trillion exchange-traded fund arena, having launched its first ones just two months ago. It is now quickly jumping on the investment theme that Wood has popularized, with the innovation fund being among the first of the equity ETFs it is proposing.

“Cathie put the words ‘disruption, innovation’ sort of in the mainstream,” said Eric Balchunas, senior ETF analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence. “It’s become a theme that many people want to have in their portfolio.”

AllianceBernstein has tapped several industry veterans as it revs up its ETF business. The firm hired Noel Archard from State Street Global Advisors to be its global head of ETFs earlier this year. It also brought on Jason Thalmann from JPMorgan and Brett Sheely from BlackRock Inc.

“We believe that for certain existing AB strategies, an ETF wrapper offers extraordinary flexibility and efficiency in executing their portfolio management,” Archard wrote in an emailed statement. “And we remain committed to providing clients with a diverse suite of investment offerings.”

The issuer faces a tough market environment if it launches the innovation fund soon. Growth stocks have been battered this year by the Federal Reserve’s rapid pace of interest-rate hikes. Wood’s flagship ARK Innovation ETF (ticker ARKK) has fallen 62% this year, compared with the S&P 500 Index’s drop of 20%.

Other firms have also already created similar funds, such as the $2.8 billion iShares Exponential Technologies ETF (XT) and the $1.6 billion SPDR S&P Kensho New Economies Composite ETF (KOMP). But none come close to the $6.9 billion in assets managed by Wood’s ARKK.

AllianceBernstein is “not just following Cathie, they’re following Cathie’s copycats. They’re almost close to last in line with this,” Balchunas said. “It’s such a ironic thing, because they could have been first in line.”

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.