An ETF for the "Gig" Economy

08/20/2019 5:00 am EST

Focus: FUNDS

Robert Powell

Editor, TheStreet.com's Retirement Daily

SoFi has launched the SoFi Gig Economy ETF (GIGE), an ETF that gives exposure to companies involved in the gig economy, explains Robert Powell — editor of TheStreet's Retirement Daily.

With the dominance of the technology sector in recent years and the prevalence of many new technological innovations recently many mutual fund/ETF providers are offering products that focus on particular segments of the technology, says Steven Gattuso, a senior portfolio manager at Courier Capital.

"Investment products that focus on one or more of these technological changes are often categorized as 'thematic' investing," he says. "From the concepts of blockchain and cryptocurrencies to artificial intelligence and robotics to autonomous automobiles each of these represent disruptive technologies that are mainly in their infancy."

SoFi has introduced an ETF focused on the theme of the "gig economy." Basically, instead of working for a company people are working as freelancers/independent contractors with the association of a larger "broker" firm, says Gattuso.

Examples of well-known firms pursuing this strategy are Uber (UBER), Lyft (LYFT) and even eBay (EBAY). "The growth of these business models may change the way people work in the future," says Gattuso. "GIGE focuses on this theme."

This actively managed ETF focuses on "companies that have embraced, that support, or that otherwise benefit from a workforce where individual employees or independent contractors are empowered to create their own freelance business by leveraging recent developments in technology platforms that enable individuals to offer their services directly to retail and commercial customers."

The fund will charge 0.59% in expenses and will be a global fund which can invest in companies of any geography or size mainly focused on the consumer sector.

Gattuso says the goal of this fund is long-term appreciation so income may be very limited and, since these are specific developing technologies, most likely best-suited for the growth portion of a portfolio as this entails higher risk where one may have to wait several years for positive results.

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