First Trust Expands Thematic ETF Lineup With Equity And Innovation ETFs, EPRE & ILDR
On Wednesday, First Trust Advisors L.P., a leading ETF provider and asset manager, announced the launch of two new actively managed ETFs, the First Trust TCW ESG Premier Equity ETF (NYSE Arca: EPRE) and the First Trust Innovation Leaders ETF (NYSE Arca: ILDR).
EPRE seeks to provide long-term capital appreciation by investing primarily in U.S. equity securities, emphasizing large capitalization companies that meet ESG criteria, as determined by TCW Investment Management Company LLC (TCW), the fund’s sub-advisor. Meanwhile, ILDR seeks to provide capital appreciation by investing at least 80% of its net assets (plus any borrowings for investment purposes) in the common stocks of U.S. and non-U.S. companies that may benefit from the development or application of scientific and technological innovation.
The EPRE Advantage
ESG investing considers a company’s environmental, social, and governance factors via independent ratings to align investment strategies with personal values. TCW believes a focus on these factors can provide competitive advantages for a company. “The First Trust TCW ESG Premier Equity ETF is a highly active, concentrated portfolio of companies that prudently manage their environmental, social, and financial resources and generate consistent and growing levels of free cash,” said Joseph R. Shaposhnik, Portfolio Manager at TCW. “We strongly believe that utilizing ESG performance data helps us uncover better-managed businesses for the benefit of investors.”
TCW uses both qualitative and quantitative screening criteria to supplement its fundamental research and portfolio selection. The screening process focuses on companies whose shares are trading at below intrinsic value, as determined by TCW. The portfolio is selected using rigorous fundamental analysis and a quantitative ESG framework to drive the security selection and execution strategies.
“While many ESG strategies focus primarily on excluding stocks that score poorly on certain environmental, social, or governance metrics, we believe that professional management can add value. By leveraging the best thinking of the world-class team at TCW, this actively managed ETF provides another unique tool for investment professionals,” said Ryan Issakainen, CFA, Senior Vice President, ETF Strategist at First Trust.
Joseph R. Shaposhnik, the fund’s portfolio manager, is responsible for the fund’s day-to-day management.
Innovation Growth With ILDR
Rapid scientific and technological change is currently being applied to areas of innovation that First Trust considers fertile ground for seeking investment opportunities brought about by change. ILDR aims to outperform the broader markets by having outsized exposure to themes that are growing faster than the underlying economy. The fund invests in dominant companies that tend to be pioneers who may capitalize on disruptive innovation by developing technologies that can displace older technologies or create new markets.
“Thematic ETFs have exploded in popularity over the past year as investment professionals have sought tools to capture cutting‐edge trends from a range of industries,” said Ryan Issakainen, CFA, Senior Vice President, ETF Strategist at First Trust. “As a leader in thematic investing, we believe this actively managed ETF represents our expertise in identifying the most compelling opportunities that may lie among multiple themes.”
The fund is managed by First Trust Advisors L.P., with selection and portfolio decisions made by a team of portfolio managers. The securities included in the portfolio are chosen using a disciplined approach, leveraging the knowledge of First Trust’s equity research and portfolio management teams who understand the drivers of risk-adjusted returns. The fund combines both a top-down theme identification process and a bottom-up stock selection process to identify companies seeking solutions to the technological, industrial, and health problems of our age. This includes, but is not limited to, companies that we believe are poised to benefit from the development of new products or services, technological improvements, and/or advancements in scientific research related to automation, advanced medicine, networks, advanced computing, enhanced mobility, energy revolution, and e-commerce.
For more information, visit www.ftportfolios.com.
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First Trust has expanded its suite of thematic equity ETFs with the launch of an actively managed strategy targeting firms poised to benefit from the application of scientific and technological innovation.
Ryan Issakainen, Senior Vice President, ETF Strategist at First Trust.
The First Trust Innovation Leaders ETF (ILDR US) has listed on NYSE Arca and comes with an expense ratio of 0.75%.
The fund invests in developed or emerging market companies, selecting holdings through an approach that combines top-down and bottom-up analyses.
The top-down analysis seeks to identify technological themes that are growing faster than the underlying economy and are likely to outperform the broader market.
Industries identified by First Trust as fitting this description include automation, advanced medicine, networks, advanced computing, enhanced mobility, energy revolution, and e-commerce.
Individual securities are then selected based on their exposure to the underlying theme while favouring companies with dominant industry positions who are developing technologies that have the potential to displace older technologies or create new markets. First Trust will generally examine several specific fundamental attributes such as revenue and earnings growth prospects, competitive positioning, valuation in the context of growth opportunities, potential value-creating catalysts, and timeliness.
Constituents are weighted based on upside opportunity, conviction, and downside risk.
The portfolio management team uses quantitative measures to actively monitor overall risk, applying sell discipline when the underlying thesis is no longer valid or has become significantly delayed, or valuation warrants a change in weightings.
Ryan Issakainen, Senior Vice President, ETF Strategist at First Trust, said: “Thematic ETFs have exploded in popularity over the past year as investment professionals have sought tools to capture cutting‐edge trends from a range of industries. As a leader in thematic investing, we believe this actively managed ETF represents our expertise in identifying the most compelling opportunities that may lie among multiple themes.”
The fund presently has 90 holdings of which US stocks dominate, making up nearly 90% of the total portfolio by weight.
At the industry level, software companies contribute 26.1% with biotechnology (11.4%), interactive media & services (8.2%), IT services (7.3%), and semiconductors (7.2%) also playing notable roles. Significant positions include Alphabet (3.8%), Facebook (3.8%), Microsoft (3.4%), and Amazon (2.5%).
(Data as of May month-end.)
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First Trust Innovation Leaders ETF (USD) (US33740F5659, ILDR)
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