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Hector McNeil, HANetf

HANetf | Most Innovative EU ETF Issuer | Best Capital Markets Team | Best ETF Distributor | Best ETF Research Provider - “This is our fourth and, I emphasise, last, and best venture in ETFs,” says Hector McNeil, co-CEO and co-Founder, alongside Nik Bienkowski. “We have a unique approach and product set that is the most crucial thing. We want HANetf to be seen as the “value add” ETF issuer and I think we have achieved that with highly innovative products, great service and content.”

McNeil says that the last three to four years have seen the firm being able to take advantage of new technology and new approaches. The firm’s white label offering in Europe means that a new ETF’s time to market can be as short as 10 weeks and this has led to clients focusing on the latest investment ideas and has allowed HANetf to be market leaders in areas like thematic investing, cryptos and ESG.

“We can take advantage of being swift to market,” McNeil says. “We are almost a state-of-the-art ETF firm – we don’t have a lot of legacy or history that slows us down – we can be ahead of the game.”

The firm has just over 25 thematic ETFs, making it the largest range of thematic ETFs available in the market at the moment in Europe, McNeil says. The firm also has the most liquid range of physically backed crypto ETPS, and prides itself on being the first firm in many a theme – medical cannabis, carbon credits, space and solar energy.

“We needed to answer the common question we were seeing from an investment firm’s gatekeeper – I have a deep panel of ETF issuers approved why do I need another? My answer is simple, we are different, and we do things differently,” McNeil says. “We are not an issuer that does a EUROSTOXX 50 at two basis points cheaper than the other guys we focus on value added, market first products.”

With his background at market maker Susquehanna, his ETF related first job, McNeil takes personal pride in winning the best capital markets award.

“We are a modern looking capital markets team and focused on providing clients with the best trading eco-system available. It’s the plumbing side of the business that differentiates ETFs from mutual funds and you can save clients lots of money by working closely with them on execution, whether on Exchange or off-Exchange” he says.

The ETC Group’s bitcoin product BTCE required extensive working with market makers. It was the first bitcoin product listed on the Deutsche Borse and McNeil says the firm was  mainstreaming with the market maker community and a much broader footprint as Germany opened its doors to cryptos.

Assets at HANetf are standing at USD2.3 billion at the time of writing, having peaked in November 2021 at USD3.3 billion as the crypto markets ebbed and flowed.

“ETFs are at their most powerful when they give access to the least accessible asset classes,” McNeil says. “Gold is a great example of this. When we invented Gold ETFs early 2000s Gold was only really available to buy physically and through mining stocks. You could buy physical gold, but you would have to pay a 5 per cent premium and then sell at a 5 per cent discount, but a gold ETF at 20 basis points annual fee is a whole different story.”


To return to the ETF Express European Awards’ Report 2022 click here.

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Beverly Chandler
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