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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A CO Separate Account Shop Preps Its Own ETFs

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A three-year-old ETF strategist in Colorado is preparing to launch its own family of ETFs.

Keys Tinney
Blue Sky Asset Management
Founder, Chief Executive Officer/font>
Blue Sky Asset Management and Gemini's Northern Lights Fund Trust IV recently filed an amended ETF exemptive relief request with the SEC. Blue Sky is prepping five ETFs. Looking ahead, watch for them to develop more ETFs and team up for distribution support.

Keys Tinney, CEO and founder of Blue Sky, confirms that the Denver-based firm is shifting away from separate accounts towards ETFs. Once Blue Sky's first ETFs go online, the team will continue to run separate accounts for existing clients, but "going forward" investors will access Blue Sky's strategies through its ETFs, Tinney explains.

On the distribution side, Tinney plans to team up with a third-party marketing firm. He sees the shift from separate accounts to ETFs as giving Blue Sky "a much broader range of access" to distribution channels.

"It's definitely going to be a different path that we go down," Tinney tells MFWire. "The audience that we can speak to ... is far greater."

"That gives us the ability to more efficiently focus on the third-party marketing firms," Tinney adds. "We're interviewing those right now."

Tinney is also managing partner at Aveo Capital Partners, a high net worth private wealth management RIA that dates back to 2011. In 2013, Aveo's investment policy statement and portfolio management arm spun out and became Blue Sky, a tactical ETF strategist that now works with $300 million in separate account assets. Blue Sky creates different portfolios based on risk tolerance and focused on minimizing drawdowns, minimizing volatility, and then capturing some return.

"Our target advisor is those who want to protect capital first and grow it second," Tinney says.

Four of Blue Sky's planned ETFs would break out its separate account strategies into component pieces (global equity, real assets, fixed income, and adaptive or go-anywhere) while still investing in the same underlying ETFs. So, those four would be ETFs-of-ETFs. The fifth, Tinney confirms, will be a complementary smart beta strategy.

Tinney first looked into launching the strategies in traditional mutual funds. Yet he decided on ETFs instead.

"It's a far more efficient wrapper," Tinney says, pointing to transparency and tax efficiency for investors. "Taxable investors represent the lion's share of our assets."

Creating the component ETFs also gives advisors the ability to customize their use of Blue Sky's strategies, Tinney says. And for Blue Sky, it means they can reach more advisors and more easily get on platforms.

"We're a research firm that spends a lot of time sharpening the saw ... trying to constantly evolve and improve," Tinney says.

As for working with Gemini, Tinney praises them as a "pretty large player" with a strong track record as a service provider to firms launching mutual funds and ETFs.

"Gemnini's done a great job for us so far," Tinney says, calling Gemini "the place" for Blue Sky. 

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