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Rating:A Dynamic New Fund Firm Hires Its First Wholesaler Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Monday, April 04, 2016

A Dynamic New Fund Firm Hires Its First Wholesaler

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A Wall Street quantitative shop just entered the mutual fund business and hired its first wholesaler. Watch for the firm's team, index partnerships, and product suite to expand further soon.

Sean Agnew
ABR Dynamic Funds, LLC
Regional Director
Last week ABR Dynamic Funds launched "smart volatility" marketing campaign, after launching its first mutual fund, the load-free ABR Dynamic Blend Equity and Volatility Fund, last August. And Taylor Lukof, founder and CEO of the New York City-based mutual fund shop, confirms that in March he hired Sean Agnew from Brinker Capital as ABR Dynamic Funds' first wholesaler.

"Over the next year we plan to hire more as we continue to build out," Lukof tells MFWire. "We're in talks with several third-party marketers ... Our goal may be to create a hybrid, both internal marketing, external wholesalers, as well as third-party marketers."

Lukof also just hired Brian Cumberland as chief operating officer and head of business development. And they plan to unveil another key hire soon.

On the mutual fund service provider side, ABR Dynamic's fund is part of the Forum Funds II series trust, and they're working with Atlantic Fund Services and Foreside. ABR Dynamic teamed up with Wilshire last year to create the index that now powers the new mutual fund.

A Wilshire spokesperson was not immediately able to comment on the partnership with ABR Dynamic.

"We will be pushing out several more indexes over the next year," Lukof says. "We hope to wrap them in mutual fund wrappers as well."

All of those upcoming funds, Lukof adds, will be "dynamic and systematic." Though he declined to reveal specifics, he pointed to fixed income as a potential area of interest for future index and fund development. Their parent company, six-year-old ABR Management, currently runs 12 different systematic strategies designed to "deliver uncorrelated returns," and the quant shop is full of former market makers and specialists from the exchanges.

"We're an R&D shop first and foremost," Lukof says. "We want to develop IP, then license our IP developed through several different business lines and partner with different companies ... for marketing and distribution."

"We want to get our IP out there in the index format," Lukof adds.

Future ABR Dynamic products could be in ETF, mutual fund, structured product, or UCITs forms.

The pitch for their first mutual fund, Lukof says, is "introducing 'smart volatility' to the marketplace." To make their case, they've hired advertising and marketing agency MadandWall and launched a Bloomberg Radio campaign.

"We're trying to educate the marketplace about volatility as an asset class, not just a speculative trading vehicle," Cumberland says.

"A lot of people have played around with volatility products over the last five years since the crisis," Lukof says. "They've burned their fingers with them."

Eric Alexander of MadandWall praises the ABR Dynamic folks as having a "real distinct offering." MadandWall works exclusively with financial services firms; Alexander himself once ran the broker-dealer Wall Street Access. Alexander describes Bloomberg Radio as "a very cost-effective way to get to smart people in the market who are going to influence others." 

Correction: A prior version of the story gave the wrong timing for the launch of ABR Dynamic's first mutual fund, the ABR Dynamic Blend Equity and Volatility Fund. The fund launched in August 2015.

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