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Rating:An HF and Research Vet Forges an Active ETF Startup Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Friday, August 13, 2021

An HF and Research Vet Forges an Active ETF Startup

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

A veteran hedge fund analyst and sell-side researcher recently built her own active ETF shop in the New York City area and launch its first fund. The firm will also offer SMAs, and perhaps they'll roll out ETFs, too.

Ivana Delevska
Spear Advisors LLC
Managing Member, Chief Investment Officer
Last week, Ivana Delevska unveiled the SPEAR Alpha ETF (SPRX on the Nasdaq), the flagship offering of her new firm: Spear Advisors LLC (dba SPEAR Invest). East Hampton, New York-based Spear is a female-led assets manager (Delevska is the founder, chief investment officer, and principal owner) that specializes in fundamental, bottom-up equity investing in industrials and industrial technology. The fund launched on August 2.

"I spent my entire career pretty much focusing on industrials," Delevska tells MFWire, noting that she spent a decade on the buy side with several hedge funds and then spent four years publishing research on the sell side. The strategy behind the new ETF is one Delevska has been managing for the past three years, she says. And she contrasts SPRX's underlying strategy with those of other existing thematic ETFs.

"[SPRX] is much more similar to a long-biased hedge fund than it is to the thematic products that are out there today," Delevska says. "We really look for stock-specific opportunities ... and we spend as much time on the long side on eliminating ideas as on including ideas."

"It's all about thorough, fundamental research," Delevska adds.

SPRX, a series of Listed Funds Trust, is PMed by Delevska, with Spear as its investment advisor. The fund's expense ratio is 75 basis points. And the fund's other vendors include: Cohen & Company as independent accounting firm; Foreside Fund Services, LLC as distributor; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP as legal counsel; and U.S. Bank National Association as custodian, with U.S. Bancorp Fund Services, LLC as administrator and transfer agent. Meanwhile, Spear itself is working with a design team, while Arro Financial Communications is supporting the startup's media outreach.

Delevska confirms that she is in discussions with institutional investors about using a separately managed account version of her strategy. Yet she describes the ETF as "a great structure" that is especially suited to independent RIAs, family offices, and retail investors.

"I'm very focused on scaling the ETF," Delevska says. "It's the easiest for me on my end to manage."

In terms of marketing and distribution, Delevska says many of Spear's early clients are folks she's worked with in the past.

"That's really what I'm starting with," Delevska says. "My main marketing strategy is going to be just publishing research and making people aware of what's going on in the space. It's more targeted at independent RIAs."

And she adds that retail investors are also interested in her strategy and the research.

"Retail participation has been pretty strong," Delevska says.

Looking ahead, Delevska hints that she may launch additional ETFs, like a long-short version of SPRX, or a market-neutral version. She has a background in long-short investing in the space, she says, but she would wait until later in the economic cycle to launch such a strategy.

"I have a lot of interesting short ideas," Delevska says. "Right now, the opportunities are much more long-weighted."

Delevska most recently served as a director at Gordon Haskett Research Advisors. Prior to that, she did equity research at Deutsche Bank and served in various analyst roles at Long Oar Global, Millennium, Citadel, Davidson Kempner Capital Management, and J.P. Morgan. She is an alumna of the University of Chicago. 

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