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Booze, Drones, 3-D Printers Invade Packed Market With Niche ETFs

  • Facing a crowded arena, issuers are forced to get creative
  • ‘You put them out there, and you hope the stars align’

As the sun sets over New York Harbor on a clear October evening, a party is in full swing on the 31st floor of a skyscraper a few blocks from Wall Street. The view from the floor-to-ceiling windows is partially obstructed by a four-foot tall, 120-pound 3-D printed jet black bull, its head framed against the flaming orange sky.

Hollow on the inside, the bull was assembled from blocks, giving it the look of a cubist painting come to life. It’s a gift from the host of the celebration, exchange operator Bats Global Markets Inc., to the guest of honor, Ark Investment Management, which launched an exchange-traded fund that tracks the 3-D printing industry. The fund, called The 3D Printing ETF, is listed on Bats under the symbol PRNT. Ark will add a glass surface to the bull, “turning it into a standing desk for our analysts,” Ark Chief Executive Officer Catherine Wood tells Bats CEO Chris Concannon.