ARK Investment Management launched four theme-based equity ETFs in late 2014 that it now markets to millennial investors and that capture trends, including genomics, robotics and social media.
Global X, meanwhile, already offers a Social Media ETF (SOCL), tapping into a popular millennial theme, but not specifically branded like its new ETF as a millennial investment.
The company is making a much broader push into demographic and thematic ETFs, according to recently filed documents with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition to the millennial-themed ETF, Global X has plans for an aging population ETF, urbanization ETF and funds covering education technology, nanotechnology, 3-D printing and, more broadly, disruptive technology, among others.
Global X declined to comment on the millennial theme, citing SEC registration period rules — firms cannot talk about funds that have not yet been approved by regulators.
"We've focused on disruptive innovation that's going to play out over a number of years, because millennials have a long time horizon to let these themes play out," said ARK CEO Catherine Wood.
The developments might make an older investor, perplexed (if not bothered) by millennial optimism, ask, What's wrong with the way people have been investing for decades, putting money into core equity and bond asset classes as a means of diversifying their wealth, to protect principal and grow assets?
"Millennials don't see the world the same way the baby boomers do, with traditional sector lines and geographic boundaries and style boxes for value and growth," said Ark's head of product development, Tom Staudt.
Take that, Warren Buffett and Jack Bogle and the rest of you "cranky," traditional portfolio-loving boomers.