OppenheimerFunds Hires BNY Mellon's French for Smart Beta Push

  • French previously held posts at BNY Mellon, BlackRock
  • Fidelity, Legg Mason, Goldman also seek to grow in smart beta

OppenheimerFunds hired Sharon French to build the firm’s smart beta business, one of the hottest growth areas for money managers seeking to expand their foothold in exchange-traded funds.

French, who joins from Bank of New York Mellon Corp., will be head of beta solutions, the money manager said Monday in a statement. She previously worked at BlackRock Inc. and AllianceBernstein Holding LP.

OppenheimerFunds joins Fidelity Investments, Legg Mason Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in seeking to attract money into smart beta, index-tracking funds which weigh securities by factors other than market capitalization, such as dividends, volatility, value and momentum. Smart-beta styles underlie about one in five exchange-traded funds globally with an estimated $400 billion under management.

OppenheimerFunds, which is owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co., has been expanding through acquisitions. The firm bought VTL Associates in December as part of a push into ETFs and purchased SteelPath in 2012 to expand into funds that bet on energy infrastructure through master limited partnerships.

OppenheimerFunds manages more than $214 billion.

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