New-York based Guggenheim Investments, recently announced that it has partnered with Ned Davis Research, Inc. (NDR), a Venice, Florida-based independent research firm, to launch a new series of Unit Investment Trusts (UITs) called the NDR Thematic Opportunities Portfolio, Series 1 (Trust).
New Thematic UITs Launched
The new NDR Thematic Opportunities Portfolio, Series 1 are a series of UITs based on NDR’s unique research process, combining both fundamental and technical analysis, which enables it to identify developing investment themes. The trust will focus on four investment themes identified by NDR, including:
- “Trump-onomics” — During the early months of President Donald Trump’s administration, a number of federal government policy proposals have been mentioned by the POTUS, including increased spending on infrastructure and national defense.
- Rising Interest Rate Environment — NDR believes that the Fed will continue to raise rates in 2017 in response to higher wages and low unemployment that policymakers equate with increases in future inflation. Rising rates typically point to a strengthening economy.
- Aging of the Millennials — Millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000), represent approximately 25% of the U.S. population and should have a larger impact on the economy compared to older generations. NDR believes that aging millennials will lead to increased spending on homes, household products, cars and select retailers. Potential tax cuts could also lead to increased discretionary spending.
- Rising Oil Prices — NDR believes demand will be robust in a relatively strong global economy, but that production may struggle to keep up because of cutbacks in oil exploration and production during the most recent oil bear market. The potential for an oil shortage should cause prices to rise until the oil and gas industries can adequately ramp up their production levels.
Douglas Mangini, Senior Managing Director and Head of Intermediary Distribution at Guggenheim Investments explains the new partnership, “Because thematic investing is highly dependent on the ability to isolate timely trends that have not already been priced into the stock prices of companies that will benefit from these trends, extensive research is essential. d With nearly 40 years of global research experience, NDR’s objective, data-driven process makes them uniquely qualified to identify investment themes for the trust.”
“NDR is thrilled to partner with Guggenheim on this innovative thematic UIT, providing investors with a unique opportunity to take advantage of our quantitative rigor through a timely new approach offered through the Guggenheim UIT. This Trust highlights one of NDR’s core strengths, our ability to identify macroeconomic themes and capture the performance potential with robust industry and security selection,” said Paul Jakubowicz, Director of Custom Research at NDR.
Early last year NDR’s new management team announced a new two pronged strategy to leverage its research capability to more closely drive investable products. One approach was to market its models to RIAs as a way or providing tactical asset allocation overlays they can use to manage client assets. As part of this strategy, NDR announced partnerships with RIAs Global View Capital Management and Carson Wealth Management.
NDR also decided to aggressively pursue the creation of ETFs and other investable products based on its research. One firm NDR started working to create these products was sponsor VanEck. The first of these products includes the VanEck NDR Managed Allocation Fund – an open-end mutual fund which will allocate primarily to exchange-traded products (ETPs) that invest in domestic and foreign equities and US debt securities and cash and cash equivalents. The fund uses NDR’s asset allocation model that draws on over 130 macroeconomic, fundamental and technical indicators.
NDR’s newest partnership with Guggenheim to launch a series of thematic UITs is consistent with this strategy to leverage its research to directly or indirectly create investable products. Consequently, we would not be surprised to see NDR work with others to launch interesting and innovative investment products based on its research. While this does not mean the firm will reduce its focus on directly selling its research to institutional investors. However, we suspect that much of the firm’s future growth may come from these asset allocation overlays, ETFs, mutual funds, or UITs.
Given the headwinds that many sell-side and independent research firms have faced in the past few years due to equity commission weakness and regulatory uncertainty, NDR’s recently launched strategy makes a great deal of sense.