The speakers were David LaValle, Global Head of ETFs at Grayscale and Andre Voinea, Head of German Speaking Regions at HANetf.
Defining the future of finance, how to capture this megatrend within listed securities, and the headwinds for the industry were the topics discussed at the recent ETF Stream webinar in partnership with Grayscale and HANetf.
The discussion, titled A turning point for the future of financebegan by looking at the fintech boom following the global financial crisis and the size of the opportunity this represents for investors.
Taking a broad look at the field, David LaValle, global head of ETFs at Grayscale, said: “At the highest level, it’s the cross-section of finance and technology and the disruptors that will disrupt the world of finance.”
Naturally, this involves not just looking at digital payments, digital assets or fee-free trading platforms in isolation, but bringing together various early themes to build a future of the financial cohort at the “cutting edge,” LaValle said.
From an investment perspective, LaValle’s firm launched the Grayscale Future of Finance UCITS ETF (GFOF) in May, capturing what it described as financial fundamentals, technology solutions and digital asset infrastructure.
GFOF looks beyond blockchain companies, but excludes non-pure-play candidates in a sub-topic of future finance. LaValle noted that the constituent industries are subject to change as digital assets and fintech continue to evolve.
“The basket will grow simply as a result of more companies focusing more attention and resources on capturing a segment of the digital economy,” he added. “It’s an emerging economy and these take time to mature.”
Andre Voinea, head of German-speaking regions at HANetf, which partnered with Grayscale to launch GFOF, continued: “First generation futures financial products were simpler as there was not the depth of companies available to create a diverse index”.
Voinea said that while crypto remains an unregulated asset class, GFOF is adjacent and captures listed regulated companies selected by index provider Bloomberg and Grayscale, which is the world’s largest asset manager focused on digital assets.
Considering the current state of the financial futures market, he noted that the first half of the year was challenging for disruptive companies that soared during the COVID-19 period of increased technological dependence.
“Don’t be discouraged,” said Voinea. “Cycles come and go in crypto and the general economy. My feeling is to stay calm. If you believe in the future of digital assets, now is not such an inopportune time to look into the matter.”
LaValle agreed, arguing that the future of the financial industry is currently in a similar position to the Internet revolution two decades ago.
“Imagine being able to invest in the Internet Infrastructure ETF in 1998. That’s the analogy I would use for our ETF and the digital economy,” he added.
Looking ahead, LaValle suggested that while Europe may not have been as receptive to themed products a decade ago, he believes the continent is “much flatter” than the US today.
Grayscale will continue to launch equity-themed products “in the US and beyond,” regardless of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s handling of the company’s filings for a bitcoin cash ETF.
To view the full webinar, click here
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