TrueMark Investments today entered the exchange-traded fund market with its first two products—the TrueMark Technology, AI and Deep Learning Fund (LRNZ) and TrueMark ESG Active Opportunities Fund (ECOZ).

Who is TrueMark, and what are the chances these new products can grab the attention of financial advisors and retail investors in the competitive ETF marketplace?

TrueMark Investments LLC in Rosemont, Ill., seeks to become a player in the thematic ETF space. Mike Loukas, the firm’s principal and CEO, in an interview stated his case regarding why he believes his firm’s ETFs will be successful.

“The mantra at our firm is to deliver active management in nascent asset classes, which generally refers to the new-economy realm that relates to game-changing new technologies such artificial intelligence, or game changers for the environment such as ESG [environmental, social and governance],” he says. “These are areas we believe where active management makes sense.”

Loukas adds that TrueMark targets asset classes that are in demand with investors, and it seeks to hire investment managers for its ETFs who have extensive industry expertise in a particular field.

“The differentiation for us will be in our subadvisor investment managers,” he says.

Take, for example, the TrueMark Technology, AI and Deep Learning Fund. This product targets companies with leading-edge artificial intelligence, machine learning or deep learning technology platforms, algorithms, or applications. As described in fund literature, TrueMark believes these attributes “provide distinct competitive advantages in an industry historically characterized by a winner-take-all consolidation behavior.”

The fund charges an expense ratio of 0.68%, and is managed by Sangbum Kim, CEO of Black Hill Capital Partners LLC, a technology focused private investment company.

Loukas says he chose Black Hill as the LRNZ fund’s subadvisor based on its track record on the private side. “I can’t talk about their numbers, but they’ve been compelling,” he says.

He adds that Kim’s location in San Francisco gives him a birds-eye view of what’s going on in this sector. “He’ll start following a company shortly after its B or C funding round of venture capital, so he’s not using the Nasdaq as his universe. He’s got his eyes on things long before they hit the public market, and if he thinks they’ll be winners he will move into those names shortly after they go public.”

The fund’s fact sheet wasn’t available as of Monday, so no word yet as to the portfolio holdings. But Loukas says it will contain 20 to 30 companies that Kim believes will outperform the broader market.

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