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Goldman creates equity ETF targeting future tech leaders beyond U.S. megacaps – MarketWatch

Goldman Sachs Group has created an exchange-traded fund targeting the next generation of technology companies that will lead innovation, hunting globally for returns beyond the most popular names in Big Tech. 

The actively managed Goldman Sachs Future Tech Leaders Equity ETF will invest in listed companies with a market value of less than $100 billion, steering away from U.S. megacap tech stocks, according to a statement from Goldman GS, -1.21% on Thursday. The new ETF, which will trade under the ticker GTEK, seeks positions in companies in developed and emerging markets.

“We’re helping our U.S. clients get invested beyond the existing tech incumbents,” said Katie Koch, co-head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s fundamental equity business, during a media briefing on the new ETF. “The world is changing very rapidly.”

A decade from now, the list of dominant tech companies will look “very different” than today, said Koch, with Goldman expecting it to be more global. Yet Goldman has come across many U.S. clients with more capital allocated to one of the big tech stocks in the group known as FAANG — Facebook FB, -0.46%, Apple AAPL, -0.59%, AMZN, +0.23%, Netflix NFLX, +0.28% and Google parent Alphabet GOOGL, -0.57% GOOG, -0.42% — than the rest of the “tech ecosystem,” she said.

Many investors are overexposed to U.S. megacap tech stocks, according to Koch. She said the top 1% of stocks in the S&P 500 — the U.S. large-cap benchmark whose biggest sector is information technology — represent almost a quarter of the index’s market capitalization. Goldman’s ETF aims to help investors diversify their portfolios and position them on “the right side of disruption,” Koch said.

“We’re now at a key inflection point where that innovation is expanding beyond the U.S. and down the market-cap spectrum,” Sung Cho, a portfolio manager of the new exchange-traded fund, said during the call. 

The massive number of people carrying around smartphones globally has opened up investment opportunities, including in areas such as e-commerce, payments and online entertainment, according to Brook Dane, also a portfolio manager of the ETF. Public cloud technology has meanwhile globalized innovation, allowing new businesses to open anywhere and grow without vast sums of capital, Dane said on the call.

“Digital transformation,” which may be expressed through software holdings, and cybersecurity are other areas identified by the fund, according to Dane. He said the COVID-19 crisis that began last year has spurred companies to plan for increased tech spending, partly because they want more modern, flexible software systems.

Cho, meanwhile, pointed to opportunities in fintech as well as “smart components” that are primarily semiconductors. He said the “semi shortage” for electronics and cars during the pandemic has shown how critical semiconductors are.

Entegris ENTG, +1.15%, a company in the semiconductor sector, and BILL, +2.29%, a company that’s a leader in “business-to-business digitization of payments,” are among the holdings of the new ETF, Cho said. Cybersecurity vendor Palo Alto Networks PANW, +0.61% is another example of a company in its portfolio, according to Dane.

Meanwhile, the S&P 500 SPX, -0.20% rose 0.9% Wednesday, posting a 19.3% gain so far this year, according to FactSet data. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index COMP, -0.02% advanced 0.8% Wednesday for a year-to-date gain of 17.6%.