Lee Kranefuss is one of the founding fathers of the exchange-traded fund industry, launching iShares in 2000 and then selling the brand to BlackRock  (BLK)  almost a decade later. Since the sale, he has taken on varying roles in the asset management industry, but is now diving back into the ETF world with 55 Capital.
 
"We are offering an outsourced business for investment advisors so they can get a good foundational portfolio in a tax-efficient separately managed account that invests in a wide variety of ETFs across not only asset classes but geography," said Kranefuss. "We want to do the things that only large institutions could do in the past."
 
Kranefuss said the portfolios will be open to ETFs from many different providers, not just iShares. He said too many investors still have a home-country bias when it comes to investing and people need "access to more return drivers." 
 
"We find the optimal portfolio for the investor, that's what makes us different," said Kranefuss.
 
Since there are all sorts of ETF users with different investing needs, Kranefuss has no problem with the increasing specificity of ETFs whether they are hedged, market-cap or country specific.
 
And he also thinks that any continued skepticism of ETFs in the wake of last summer's so-called "flash crash" is misguided.
 
"The flash crash was a market problem, not an ETF problem," said Kranefuss. "And ETFs have been growing consistently. There are $3 trillion in ETFs globally now, up from near nothing in 2000. Recent estimates put ETF assets at $7 trillion by 2020. They are here to stay."
 
Kranefuss said the bigger problem is not convincing investors to accept ETFs in their portfolio, but helping advisors use them to create diversified portfolios. Right now 55 Capital is running a small amount of proprietary money as it builds out its global infrastructure.
 
"We are moving very quickly to the point where we will be taking client money," said Kranefuss. "We will be there soon."

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