Fintech-focused SoFi Launches 2 New ETFs

- May 9th, 2019

One of the newly launched funds from the company is centered around the gig economy and the second is high growth.

SoFi Financial announced on Wednesday (May 8) that it has launched two new exchange-traded funds (ETFs), with the first centered around the gig economy and the second being high growth.

The personal finance fintech company, which was originally founded as a student loan company in 2011, has recently branched out to provide a number of services, including home loans, auto loans, life insurance and investment products.

The SoFi Gig Economy ETF (NASDAQ:GIGE) and the SoFi 50 ETF (NYSE:SFYF) are both partnered with Tidal ETF, a division of Toroso Investments, for operational, administrative and trust duties.

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GIGE, which began trading on the NASDAQ on Wednesday, is actively managed by Toroso Investments. It is centered on companies that are associated with the gig economy; these are defined by SoFi as firms that are in some way involved in short-term employment and temporary contracts.

According to SoFi, its mission in entering the ETF space is to help its members achieve financial independence.

GIGE, which has a 0.59 percent expense ratio, is weighted and organized according to different levels of involvement in the gig economy. The weightings are separated into five different categories. The largest category, as detailed in the ETF’s prospectus, accounts for 30 to 60 percent of the fund. It is comprised of companies that generate revenue directly from the gig economy.

The greatest examples of that would be eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), which is allowing individual companies to essentially sell a product, or Lyft (NASDAQ:LYFT), which is empowering people to act as their own boss or own their own cab company,” Mike Venuto, co-founder of Toroso Investments, said via phone.

Companies that are focused on marketing or sales support for the gig economy fall in the second tranche, with a 20 to 40 percent weighting on the ETF.

Social media is the key to that marketing, so names like Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), with (its) ownership of LinkedIn, are things along those lines,” said Venuto.

The third group includes companies that facilitate financial transactions for the gig economy and those that allow individuals to get paid, Venuto explained.

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He cited companies such as Square (NYSE:SQ) and PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL), which are frequently involved in the gig economy. These companies stand in contrast to traditional credit card companies, which establish enterprise licenses with larger firms.

Canadian tech darling Shopify (TSX:SHOP,NYSE:SHOP) and US-based Eventbrite (NYSE:EB) fall under the next category. This includes companies that provide support to individuals participating in the gig economy, such as healthcare or administrative service firms, Venuto noted.

According to SoFi, GIGE is a gateway for investors to invest in what they are comfortable and familiar with. It also helps people get beyond the fear or hesitation of investing.

In addition to managing GIGE, Toroso serves as the investment adviser for SoFi’s recently launched zero-fee ETFs, the SoFi Select 500 ETF (NYSE:SFY) and the SoFi Next 500 ETF (NYSE:SFYX).

SFYF is a high-growth index fund that also began trading on Wednesday on the NYSE. The passively managed fund tracks the performance of the Solactive SoFi US 50 Growth Index.

Made up of the top 50 biggest publicly traded companies, SFYF has a 0.29 percent management fee. SFYF is based on three core criteria: trailing earnings per share (EPS) growth, trailing sales growth and forward looking EPS growth consensus estimates. All criteria are based on 12 month periods.

SoFi’s mission behind the launch of its ETFs is to help its members, largely millennials, invest with more diversification. Compared to previous generations, this generation is relatively underinvested.

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According to SoFi, the ETFs were developed to help its members achieve positive long-term outcomes and reduce the volatility or risks associated with investing in companies such as Lyft and Uber.

According to the Investment Company Institute, investments in ETFs more than doubled between 2008 and 2017, with over US$49 trillion invested in regulated funds at the end of 2017 worldwide. At that time, there were 114,000 regulated funds across the globe.

Driven by attractive low-cost structures, investments in US ETFs alone reached almost US$3.5 trillion in 2017 — a far cry from the US$500 billion ETF levels seen in 2008. The report further notes that 73 percent of fund inflows, or US$645 billion, were invested in ETFs in 2017.

SoFi cites exposure to earlier growth-stage companies and investment in companies that are disrupting industries as two central features that add value to its funds.

On Thursday (May 9), the SoFi Gig Economy ETF opened at US$19.60 and closed at US$19.79. The fund previously closed Wednesday at US$20.21.

The SoFi 50 ETF (NYSE:SFYF) opened on Thursday at US$20.17 and closed at US$19.90, which is a 1 percent decrease. Wednesday’s previous close stood at US$20.04.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Dorothy Neufeld, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

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