Jim Rogers is the latest aging investing guru to launch an ETF programmed to trade like them

  • The Rogers AI Global Macro ETF (BIKR) launches Thursday in New York.
  • The fund is based on an index that tracks a model Jim Rogers and his team at Ocean Capital Advisors have created using machine learning to analyze global economic data.
  • The ETF's launch follows that of the NYSE Pickens Oil Response ETF (BOON) in February by noted oil investor T. Boone Pickens' firm, BP Capital Advisors, and the New York Stock Exchange.
Jim Rogers, American businessman, investor and author.
VCG | Getty Images
Jim Rogers, American businessman, investor and author.

Jim Rogers is the latest investing guru to venture away from active management by attaching his name to an exchange-traded fund.

The Rogers AI Global Macro ETF (BIKR) launches Thursday in New York. It's based on an index that tracks a model Rogers, 75, and his team at Ocean Capital Advisors have created using machine learning to analyze global economic data. The ETF, which primarily follows U.S.-listed single-country ETFs, will rebalance monthly based on that analysis.

"We think it will hit a particular segment of the market that has followed Jim and is interested in following him in an ETF," said Sam Masucci, founder and CEO of ETF Managers Group, Ocean's partner in launching the fund.

The fund's launch follows that of the NYSE Pickens Oil Response ETF (BOON) in February. Noted oil investor T. Boone Pickens' firm, BP Capital Advisors, and the New York Stock Exchange created the fund to track both producers and consumers of U.S. oil and gas. Pickens, 90, has disclosed his health is declining and announced in January the closure of his hedge fund. BP Capital will still operate its energy-focused mutual funds.

BOON is up 7 percent this quarter.

"If you have the brand that these investors do, you might as well leverage it," said Matt Markiewicz, former director at BlackRock iShares and director at Innovation Shares, which launched a blockchain ETF this year.

"Half of the ETF game is about marketing and distribution," he said.

Rogers co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros in the 1970s, which in its heyday gave investors massive outperformance versus the S&P 500. Rogers then went on to launch the Rogers International Commodity Index, which is up more than 140 percent from August 1998 to December. He is now chairman at Ocean Capital Advisors.

"The internet and artificial intelligence are changing and have changed everything we know including finance and investing; Ocean's new ETF is part of the same trend," Rogers said in a statement. "I hope we get it right. We will all be extremely pleased someday if we do."

Exchange-traded products track a basket of stocks or assets. The funds trade on exchanges like stocks, and their low fees have drawn investors away from the traditional, typically more expensive route of hiring a money manager to actively pick stocks.

That said, it's unclear whether strategies well-known investors have used to make a fortune in hard assets such as commodities will translate well to an ETF. Simply having the brand of a well-known investor may also not be enough to attract money in the crowded world of exchange-traded funds.

— CNBC's Tom DiChristopher contributed to this report.