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Rating:Three Years, 70 ETFs, and $5B In AUM Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Three Years, 70 ETFs, and $5B In AUM

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

The team at a Chi-Town area ETF startup are celebrating a pair of big milestones this month. They're also preparing to tweak the branding for several of their funds.

Yesterday, Bruce Bond, co-founder and CEO of Wheaton, Illinois-based Innovator Capital Management, LLC [profile], and John Southard, co-founder and chief investment officer, confirmed that the firm's flagship product niche, defined outcome ETFs, recently crossed $5 billion in total AUM (out of more than $8 billion in total industry AUM in defined outcome ETFs, according to the Innovator team). (Milliman Financial Risk Management LLC, i.e. Milliman FRM, is the subadvisor for Innovator's defined outcome ETFs.) Meanwhile, Innovator's first two defined outcome ETFs are both crossing their three-year anniversaries this month. (PJUL did so on August 8, while BJUL will do so on August 29.)

Meanwhile, in the coming weeks the Innovator team is also renaming a number of their ETFs specifically equity ETFs in their original Buffer ETFs series. They're also shifting the reference assets for the funds' underlying options, from index-based options to fund-based (including ETF-based) options.

  • Thus, the Innovator Laddered Fund of S&P 500 Power Buffer ETFs will become the Innovator Laddered Fund of U.S. Equity Power Buffer ETFs (with, as its reference asset, an equal-weighted basket of each monthly Innovator U.S. Equity Power Buffer ETF);

  • the Innovator MSCI EAFE Power Buffer ETF monthly series will become the Innovator International Developed Power Buffer ETF monthly series (with EFA as the reference asset);

  • the Innovator MSCI Emerging Markets ETF monthly series will become the Innovator Emerging Markets Power Buffer ETF monthly series (with EEM as the reference asset);

  • the Innovator Nasdaq 100 Power Buffer ETF monthly series will become the Innovator Growth-100 Power Buffer ETF monthly series (with QQQ as the reference asset);

  • the Innovator Russell 2000 Power Buffer ETF monthly series will become the Innovator U.S. Small Cap Power Buffer ETF monthly series (with IWM as the reference asset);

  • the Innovator S&P 500 Buffer ETF monthly series will become the Innovator U.S. Equity Buffer ETF monthly series (with SPY as the reference asset);

  • the Innovator S&P 500 Power Buffer ETF monthly series will become the Innovator U.S. Equity Power Buffer ETF monthly series (also with SPY as the reference asset); and

  • the Innovator S&P 500 Ultra Buffer ETF monthly series will become the Innovator U.S. Equity Ultra Buffer ETF monthly series (also with SPY as the reference asset).


  • As for Innovator's defined outcome ETFs, it now offers 70 of them in total (out of about 130 defined outcome ETFs across the industry, according to the Innovator folks). In addition to the equity Buffer ETFs (which, as mentioned above, are rebranding), Innovator's defined outcome ETFs also include Accelerated ETFs, Defined Outcome Bond ETFs, the Innovator Defined Wealth Shield ETF (BALT), and the Stacker ETFs.

    "Innovator is really just getting started, and we remain committed to leading the Defined Outcome ETF revolution," Bond states.

    Southard describes Innovator's recent milestones as helping "make the case for the superiority of the Defined Outcome ETFs over legacy investment solutions using similar forward-looking, outcome-oriented strategies."

    "Bruce and I have been at the forefront of a few movements in the ETF market, like bringing smart beta strategies to the ETF, and we feel Defined Outcome ETFs could be the most revolutionary product concept yet," Southard states.

    Innovator (then called Innovator Management) dates back to 2014. Southard and Bond bought the shop in 2017 and rebranded it as Innovator Capital Management. 

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