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Q&A with Calamos

February 1, 2024
Matt Kaufman headshot
Matt Kaufman

Head of ETFs, Calamos

This week we sit down with Matt Kaufman at Calamos to discuss the company’s entry into the active ETF market.

Calamos has a long-standing track record as an active asset manager, having launched its first investment strategies in the 1970s. The firm entered the active ETF market early last year with the launch of NYSE Arca listed Calamos Antetokounmpo Global Sustainable Equities ETF (SROI), an exciting collaboration with NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Since then, the lineup has grown to include Calamos Convertible Equity Alternative ETF (CVRT) and Calamos CEF Income & Arbitrage (CCEF), both listed on NYSE Arca. Calamos has several more ETFs currently in registration. What led to the decision to enter the active ETF market, and what is on the horizon for Calamos?

Calamos was founded in 1977 by our current chairman John Calamos Sr., who established the firm through the launch of one of the first convertible bond funds in the U.S. Today, Calamos is one of the largest liquid alternatives and convertibles managers in the world. In early 2023, we made a strategic move to bring this expertise to the ETF marketplace.

Several drivers led to this decision. Externally, the adopted SEC ETF Rule (6c-11) and Derivatives Rule (18f-4) permitted ETFs to enter into derivatives transactions within a standardized framework. These clarifying rules enable active managers (especially alternatives managers) to deliver some of their best thinking via the transparent, liquid, and tax-efficient ETF wrapper.

Although roughly 30% of new ETF dollars go to active ETFs, only around 6% of the total $7 trillion space is currently allocated to active ETFs. However, we see a potential sea change in the growth of assets flowing into active ETFs over the next decade. This equates to a tremendous opportunity for Calamos because it’s a space we believe we’re well-positioned to capture.

Regarding what’s on the horizon, we’re approaching the Calamos ETF lineup thinking in terms of categories, disruption, and innovation. In other words, 1) What spaces exist today that can be disrupted and delivered back in a better way? 2) What problems do investors face that can be solved through the benefit-rich ETF wrapper? and 3) What categories do we have an edge in? For us, answering these questions is rooted in a resolve to listen well, think differently, and understand our edge as a firm. When the force of “what” we offer collides with “why” we offer it—that’s the intersection where people take notice.

Practically, we’re developing products to position clients for the next phase of economic growth. The rate environment has shifted nearly overnight, fundamentally altering the investment environment investors have grown accustomed to. Today, bonds may once again offer the income and risk management benefits that were hard to come by when rates were near or at zero. Regarding ETFs, an entire $7 trillion ETF industry has been built during a period of broadly declining and low interest rates, with more than 80% of the ETF industry’s assets coming in the period between the Global Financial Crisis (2007) and the recent post-COVID rate hikes (March 2022). As we enter a potentially new rate regime, we’re focused on developing ETFs designed for the next phase of growth in the ETF marketplace, without being locked into the risk-management tools of the past.

As a global asset manager what benefits and/or nuances come with operating an active ETF product lineup compared to other investment wrappers (i.e., Mutual Funds, CITs, etc.)?

The ETF has been a tremendous vehicle for democratizing and modernizing investment strategies, and we see this continuing to evolve for the foreseeable future. One advantage of being a newer entrant into the ETF space has been the ability to lay a groundbreaking, innovative, and robust foundation. Leading up to our fund launches in 2023 and continuing into 2024, Calamos is building an ETF platform that includes cutting-edge data science tools, world-class quantitative engines (e.g., in-house derivatives volatility surfaces), and multiple automated operational efficiencies. In a post-6c-11 world, we believe these innovations will lead to an improved overall client experience, more focused engagement with financial professionals, and overall better outcomes for investors.

What key considerations should investors contemplate when considering actively managed ETFs?

As the active ETF space is growing rapidly, more needs to be done to educate investors on the wide spectrum of meanings to the word of “active,” from being a fully discretionary, non-transparent investment strategy to a non-index tracking ETF that may only rebalance its holdings once per year. Looking at the flows, a good portion of active ETF flows are through products that employ a rules-based foundation with an active edge. This is the framework planned for several of our ETFs as well. CVRT, for example, is built on a rules-based foundation of equity-sensitive convertible bonds but with an active component that seeks to capitalize on investment opportunities. We think this type of fiduciary-level active management can add value to the popular ETF structure.

The simple but important takeaway for investors is to know what you own. This maxim is true for both active and passive ETFs.

Lastly, what guidance would you provide sponsors as they consider expanding their product lineup to include actively managed ETFs?

We think the ETF space could double in size over the next 5 to 10 years, largely led by growth in active ETFs. For new active managers looking to participate in this growth trajectory, there are multiple factors to consider, but we’ve boiled it down to three:

  1. Have an edge—Bring the strategies that you’re best at and meet a market need.
  2. Capital markets are key—Your relationships with authorized participants, market makers, and the New York Stock Exchange can make or break a product.
  3. Get your distribution right—Gathering assets requires a plan and daily execution of that plan.

Active ETF Stat Pack

# of Issuers268
# of New Issuers 20235
# of ETFs1345AUM ($B)$550.14
# of New Launches 2024313 Yr AUM CAGR42%
Avg. ER0.43%5 Yr AUM CAGR50%
Cash FlowTrading
YTD Cash Flow ($B)$18.86YTD ADV (Shares)215,072,177
3 Yr Cash Flow$308.36YTD ADV ($)$6.58 B
5 Yr Cash Flow$409.84YTD Avg. Spread (bps)*25.92

Source: Factset & NYSE Internal Database and Consolidated Tape Statistics as of 1/26/2024

*Simple average

Active, Semi-Transparent ETFs

TickerInceptionNameAUMYTD Flows30 Day Median Spread (bps)ADV (shares)StructureLMMExpense Ratio
VNSE9/17/20Natixis Vaughan Nelson Select ETF$32,999,576$308,58613.081,516NYSE AMSCitadel0.80%
VNMC9/17/20Natixis Vaughan Nelson Mid Cap ETF$3,602,816$012.77125NYSE AMSCitadel0.85%
ESGA7/15/20American Century Sustainable Equity ETF$182,871,390$594,42011.056,176NYSE AMSCitadel0.39%
MID.ETF7/15/20American Century Mid Cap Growth Impact ETF$56,400,848$1,498,34713.484,517NYSE AMSCitadel0.45%
ESGY7/1/21American Century Sustainable Growth ETF$13,837,147$462,4459.684,235NYSE AMSCitadel0.39%
NDVG8/5/21Nuveen Dividend Growth ETF$10,475,366-$2,789,8898.196,707NYSE AMSCitadel0.64%
NSCS8/5/21Nuveen Small Cap Select ETF$6,383,260$010.87247NYSE AMSCitadel0.85%
NWLG8/5/21Nuveen Winslow Large-Cap Growth ESG ETF$6,876,100$08.61426NYSE AMSCitadel0.64%
SAEF11/16/21Schwab Ariel ESG ETF$19,670,100$345,65043.692,724NYSE AMSFlow Traders0.59%
IWLG6/23/22IQ Winslow Large Cap Growth ETF$24,999,000$014.98136NYSE AMSCitadel0.60%
IWFG6/23/22IQ Winslow Focused Large Cap Growth ETF$8,014,020$016.77129NYSE AMSCitadel0.65%
TSME10/5/22Thrivent Small-Mid Cap ESG ETF$142,682,823-$26,389,08612.03118,823NYSE AMSRBC0.65%
JPSV3/8/23JPMorgan Active Small Cap Value ETF$14,364,000$525,1506.97357NYSE AMSCitadel0.74%
LSGR6/29/23Natixis Loomis Sayles Focused Growth ETF$6,145,566$010.29392NYSE AMSCitadel0.59%
SGLC3/31/23SGI U.S. Large Cap Core ETF$105,247,080-$202,62422.3722,406NYSE AMSGTS0.85%
FDG4/2/20American Century Focused Dynamic Growth ETF$189,045,372-$1,417,4439.025,988NYSE AMSCitadel0.45%
FLV4/2/20American Century Focused Large Cap Value ETF$215,402,072$663,5449.729,421NYSE AMSCitadel0.42%
FBCG6/4/20Fidelity Blue Chip Growth ETF$1,131,970,193$61,497,0724.66315,927Fidelity ProxyGTS0.59%
FBCV6/4/20Fidelity Blue Chip Value ETF$119,944,320-$18,30715.7118,620Fidelity ProxyGTS0.59%
FMIL6/4/20Fidelity New Millennium ETF$192,549,004$15,456,4989.9448,338Fidelity ProxyGTS0.59%
FGRO2/4/21Fidelity Growth Opportunities ETF$243,585,843$3,912,09811.4243,992Fidelity ProxyCitadel0.59%
FMAG2/4/21Fidelity Magellan ETF$62,550,992$9,869,1798.2634,539Fidelity ProxyRBC0.59%
FPRO2/4/21Fidelity Real Estate Investment ETF$13,595,798$013.653,738Fidelity ProxyCitadel0.59%
FSMO2/4/21Fidelity Small/Mid-Cap Opportunities ETF$44,653,359$1,720,7418.7513,321Fidelity ProxyRBC0.60%
FSST6/17/21Fidelity Sustainability U.S. Equity ETF$11,548,803$09.942,425Fidelity ProxyRBC0.59%
FDWM6/17/21Fidelity Women's Leadership ETF$3,625,013$012.46646Fidelity ProxyRBC0.59%
TCHP8/5/20T. Rowe Price Blue Chip Growth ETF$498,571,307$9,143,9997.5682,272T Rowe ProxyVirtu0.57%
TDVG8/5/20T. Rowe Price Dividend Growth ETF$353,402,782$4,128,9536.0487,242T Rowe ProxyRBC0.50%
TEQI8/5/20T. Rowe Price Equity Income ETF$142,968,763$3,462,89511.629,000T Rowe ProxyVirtu0.54%
TGRW8/5/20T. Rowe Price Growth Stock ETF$64,970,580$2,608,5255.6611,419T Rowe ProxyRBC0.52%
TSPA6/8/21T. Rowe Price U.S. Equity Research ETF$121,522,025$24,212,8735.1266,293T Rowe ProxyRBC0.34%
IVRA12/22/20Invesco Real Assets ESG ETF$3,108,694$042.082,070Fidelity ProxyCitadel0.59%
Gabelli Love Our Planet & People ETF
GGRW2/16/21Gabelli Growth Innovators ETF$5,899,400$2,715,23047.2711,671ActiveSharesGTS0.90%
GAST1/5/22Gabelli Asset ETF$4,611,870$034.0521ActiveSharesGTS0.00%
GABF5/11/22Gabelli Financial Services Opportunities ETF$11,039,160$1,780,55529.057,543ActiveSharesGTS0.04%
Gabelli Commercial Aerospace & Defense ETF
FRTY3/1/21Alger Mid Cap 40 ETF$28,730,625$061.544,340ActiveSharesVirtu0.60%
ATFV5/4/21Alger 35 ETF$16,365,500$325,50056.8215,729ActiveSharesVirtu0.55%
AWEG3/7/23Alger Weatherbie Enduring Growth ETF$4,388,000$063.0575ActiveSharesVirtu0.65%
CLIA5/9/23Veridien Climate Action ETF$22,302,840$059.622,278ActiveSharesGTS0.85%
REIT2/26/21ALPS Active REIT ETF$20,567,801$4,086,00039.1711,266Blue TractorGTS0.68%
STNC3/16/21Hennessy Stance ESG Large Cap ETF$63,735,467$4,788,80325.288,166Blue TractorGTS0.85%
DYTA3/30/23SGI Dynamic Tactical ETF$114,890,573$6,817,16018.1421,815Blue TractorGTS0.95%
PFUT5/26/21Putnam Sustainable Future ETF$227,380,605$13,255,29231.5849,920Fidelity ProxyVirtu0.64%
PLDR5/26/21Putnam Sustainable Leaders ETF$481,982,403$43,681,5259.52153,957Fidelity ProxyRBC0.59%
PGRO5/26/21Putnam Focused Large Cap Growth ETF$52,272,785$8,928,4119.3920,480Fidelity ProxyRBC0.56%
PVAL5/26/21Putnam Focused Large Cap Value ETF$253,509,160-$21,142,75827.1284,761Fidelity ProxyVirtu0.56%
HFGO11/9/21Hartford Large Cap Growth ETF$106,869,578-$418,14815.962,625Fidelity ProxyCitadel0.60%
SEMI3/30/22Columbia Seligman Semiconductor and Technology ETF$31,741,654-$535,50026.955,637Fidelity ProxyVirtu0.75%
CAPE4/5/22DoubleLine Shiller CAPE U.S. Equities ETF$353,033,000-$104,576,00015.6226,530ActiveSharesCitadel0.65%
FMCX4/25/22FMC Excelsior Focus Equity ETF$86,656,000$301,40030.39410ActiveSharesGTS0.70%
BYRE5/19/22Principal Real Estate Active Opportunities ETF$8,783,039$026.25480Fidelity ProxyVirtu0.65%
JHAC11/2/23John Hancock Fundamental All Cap Core ETF$2,607,133$177,06925.801,026Fidelity ProxyVirtu0.72%

Source: Factset & NYSE Internal Database and Consolidated Tape Statistics as of 1/24/2024

*Simple average

Recent Active ETF Launches

TickerNameIssuerLaunch DateAsset ClassAUM
JANPPGIM US Large-Cap Buffer 12 ETF - JanuaryPGIM1/2/24Equity$3,050,544
PBJAPGIM US Large-Cap Buffer 20 ETF - JanuaryPGIM1/2/24Equity$2,531,305
AJANInnovator Equity Defined Protection ETF - 2 Yr to January 2026Innovator1/2/24Equity$59,498,588
HJANInnovator Premium Income 9 Buffer ETF - JanuaryInnovator1/2/24Equity$8,662,430
JANDInnovator Premium Income 10 Barrier ETF - JanuaryInnovator1/2/24Equity$3,739,500
JANHInnovator Premium Income 20 Barrier ETF - JanuaryInnovator1/2/24Equity$6,211,225
JANJInnovator Premium Income 30 Barrier ETF - JanuaryInnovator1/2/24Equity$11,777,625
JANQInnovator Premium Income 40 Barrier ETF - JanuaryInnovator1/2/24Equity$3,087,500
LJANInnovator Premium Income 15 Buffer ETF - JanuaryInnovator1/2/24Equity$15,434,250
MYLDCambria Micro and SmallCap Shareholder Yield ETFCambria1/4/24Equity$14,113,000
TYLDCambria Tactical Yield ETFCambria1/4/24Fixed Income$3,769,500
FTRBFederated Hermes Total Return Bond ETFFederated Hermes1/4/24Fixed Income$29,970,100
HYKEVest 2 Year Interest Rate Hedge ETFCboe Vest1/11/24Alternatives$638,000
AAPXT-Rex 2X Long Apple Daily Target ETFT-Rex1/11/24Equity$530,490
GOOXT-Rex 2X Long Alphabet Daily Target ETFT-Rex1/11/24Equity$285,000
MSFXT-Rex 2X Long Microsoft Daily Target ETFT-Rex1/11/24Equity$1,389,000
FBTCFidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin FundFidelity1/11/24Currency$1,843,012,500
DYFIIDX Dynamic Fixed Income ETFIDX1/10/24Fixed Income$22,505,400
MEMSMatthews Emerging Markets Discovery Active ETFMatthews Asia1/11/24Equity$2,006,024
MCHSMatthews China Discovery Active ETFMatthews Asia1/11/24Equity$1,913,200
LGHTLangar Global HealthTech ETFLangar Investment Management1/10/24Equity$1,501,755
YBTCRoundhill Bitcoin Covered Call Strategy ETFRoundhill1/18/24Currency$2,506,000
TBFGBrinsmere Fund Growth ETFThe Brinsmere Funds1/16/24Asset Allocation$263,568,371
TBFCBrinsmere Fund Conservative ETFThe Brinsmere Funds1/16/24Asset Allocation$272,118,607
YMAXYieldMax Universe Fund of Option Income ETFsYieldMax1/17/24Equity$19,841,250
RJMGFT Raymond James Multicap Growth Equity ETFFirst Trust1/18/24Equity$2,051,041
CCMGCCM Global Equity ETFCCM1/18/24Equity$791,699,792
MNTLTema Neuroscience and Mental Health ETFTema1/23/24Equity$504,750
TRESDefiance Treasury Alternative Yield ETFDefiance ETFs1/25/24Alternatives$2,494,375
FT Vest U.S. Equity Enhance & Moderate Buffer ETF - January
FT Cboe Vest1/22/24Equity$51,975,312
INAVMohr Industry Nav ETFMohr Funds1/25/24Equity$251,243
Total - 31 New ETFs

Source: Factset as of 1/24/2024

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