Will Rhind is the Founder & CEO of GraniteShares - an independent Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) company built for investors seeking simple, cost-effective access to commodity and alternative investments. Will is a 20-year veteran of the ETF industry with experience working at, building, and running successful ETF businesses. Will sits down with Chris Snyder to discuss the current climate of the ETF industry and investment trends to take note of.
Today’s show is sponsored by banks.com – the world's most comprehensive and trusted branding and discovery platform for banks and banking related products & services. Banks.com is aligning consumer core values with trusted financial institutions bringing attention and awareness to leading financial brands.
"You're always going to be looking over your shoulder. And I think the day you stop looking over your shoulder is the day that complacency sets in, and that's the peak." - Will Rhind
[00:00:44] Hello, everyone, Chris Snyder here, host of the Snyder Showdown president at Juhll Agency and founder of Financial Services Platform Banks dot com. On this show, we take a no B.S. approach to business success and failure. Told you the stories of the top entrepreneurs and executives who have lived them. Join us today as we get the unfiltered backstories behind successful brands. Today's show is brought to you by Banks Dot Com, the world's most comprehensive and trusted branding and discovery platform for banks and banking related products. Banks dot com is aligning consumer core values with trusted financial institutions, bringing attention and awareness to leading financial brands. To learn more, you can go to banks dot com forward slash partners, or you can send an email to info at banks dot com. OK. Without further ado, our guest today is Will Rhind. He is the founder and CEO of GraniteShares in independent external exchange traded fund company built for investors seeking simple, cost effective access to commodity and alternative investments. Will is a 20 year veteran of the ETF industry with experience working at building and running successful ETF businesses. Will is here today to discuss the current climate of the ETF industry and investment trends that we should be taking note of. Thanks for joining us today, Will. Thank you, Chris. Absolute pleasure. All right. Well, let's kick this off with a little bit about your upbringing, where you grew up and how you got to where you are today.
[00:02:21] Perfect. So I'm from Scotland, originally from a town called Aberdeen on the northeast coast of Scotland. And I grew up there, really spent all my life there before going to university down in England. I went down to probably be one of the furthest places, I guess the opposite end of the country in the UK that I could from where I grew up. But I went to Playskool, both southwest England, and then I graduated from there, went straight to London and got a job in finance after university. And that's really where I started my career. So I ended up moving to New York now 11 years ago. So I've been here in New York for 11 years, but I ended up moving here with work and then end up staying. And obviously, that's where I am today. So I'm kind of a long way from home.
[00:03:09] Yeah, you know, I did. I spent some time in the UK as a kid. We stayed at some military bases. And I do remember driving through Scotland. All the lakes there are called locks. Right. Yeah, exactly. And I just remember lots of lakes and lots of castles. And they even did have, you know, people, real people with bagpipes, with dudes doing their log throwing and skirt like that. This stuff is real, right? This is how this is the environment you grew up in, right?
[00:03:43] It's absolutely real. Yeah. The country is is very beautiful. It's not that populated. And a lot of it. And you can obviously Google pictures of it. But a lot of the stereotypes are absolutely real in terms of, you know, mountains and locks and rivers and, you know, Taunton, which is you guys are called plaid, but it's all it's all real.
[00:04:05] Yeah, no, it was it was actually it was an amazing experience. And I think we drove a Peugeot station wagon that sat like eight people and we drove from the UK all around Scotland and we went to Wales and all these amazing places. But did you always know from a very young age that you were going to get into this quantitative world of finance? How did you you know.
[00:04:34] How do you know? Not at all. No, Chris. What's crazy is that, you know, I went to university and I guess I had the sort of philosophy of, you know, studying subjects that I was sort of reasonably good at at the time. And, you know, I went and studied French and Russian. My two kind of majors. And they obviously have nothing to do with finance whatsoever. And from that perspective, I had absolutely no idea that I was going to go into finance or be interested in that. I had really no exposures that I mean, you got to remember that where I grew up in Scotland, it's in the country. So the biggest town, I say Aberdeen, because that's just something that you look on a map, you would say, OK, it's it's there. But really, I grew up in the countryside, the middle of nowhere. I'd look out of the house. It's not. You can't see a house for miles around as far as you look. And so from that perspective, exposure to finance is basically zero. And so I fortunately had a cousin at the time who was working at Lehman Brothers, and she very kindly kind of allowed me to come in. I met up with that one day. I went on the trading floor. Lehman Brothers, like, wow, this is pretty neat. The midday energy in this place is great. And it seems like people are sort of really having a good time. And so it kind of spot my interest in it. And from there, I had a lot of friends who were, you know, applying for jobs in London and finance. And so I just decided to join them really in kind of that was it.
[00:06:06] I've always had a fascination with Wall Street. I mean, I guess I got into advertising instead. But at the end of the day or technology advertising. But at the end of the day, when I go to New York and I see, you know, all the traders get off these guys, the most of them are, you know, ex athletes. They're all six foot five, six foot sick, like they hire a certain kind of human being there. And they're they're generally robust, right?
[00:06:33] Yeah. And I think also that there's know now may perhaps do I might say it's less so than it was 20 years ago. But, you know, back when I started for sure, it was the highest paying sector in terms of, you know, for graduate jobs. Like there was nothing that paid like a junior investment banking job. And so it obviously attracts a huge amount of people just for that basis. So the competition is is very, very stiff. And so therefore, you know, they got used to. I'm talking Bay. The banks got used to hiring the best of the best. And, you know, people from the best schools, but also, like I said, athletes and other people that they could kind of cherry pick from. So, yeah, certainly that's a big part of it.
[00:07:17] And then Tech came along and everybody thought that being there, getting your ass kicked as an entrepreneur was a super idea. Make no money, grovel in some day, get a hundred million bucks, which rarely happens. But I think that you're right. I mean, we're similarly age their 40s. And back then, if you were on Wall Street or you were an investment banker, like, that was the thing. And then what was it? Maybe the 90s is when, you know, the the OTS, the 2000s is when tech kind of took off and probably started stealing a little bit of talent from the finance and the media consulting firms like Big Five, PWI see Deloitte. All these guys like you guys had your pick.
[00:08:00] Right. Yeah. But then also what? Was certainly from my career, you know, when I joined Tech was never was never something that I thought about, which is not on the radar, frankly, in the U.K. at that time. But when I started my career in banking out of college, you know, it was just right into the tech bubble collapse. Oh, yeah. Yeah. And so from that perspective, know, the knock on effect on the banking industry at that time was quite severe and there was big layoffs. The layoffs in the sector and I really were kind of our first lesson, I suppose, is coming in. And probably I was I was lucky that I was probably the cheapest among the cheapest labor resource, you know, in the company. And so I just thought if I kept my head down, I can just survive this, then there'll be opportunities on the other side when things get better. So fortunate that that did happen. But, yeah, I mean, was a straight into the tech collapse. And really, I think that put a lot of people off tech, you know, really for the next decade until you started to see some major companies emerge in a big way.
[00:09:04] Yeah, I remember that Petz dot com Qualcomm, like all these crazy companies. And by the way, a lot of those companies, I mean, Qualcomm still does a good job. They're run up their one day run ups were just too crazy. I think they were making paper millionaires. But the PET scan thing always struck me because or the what was the other food delivery web then, I guess, was the other food delivery service. And everyone was like this never gonna work. And they just put milk there. And the time they just they just had the wrong timing. Right? It was it's also obvious now. Yeah. So, yeah. So 2000, 2001 shit hit the fan. So how did you get in to. Let's let's let's pick up the exchange traded fund because investing as a whole, retail investing as a whole, there's a lot of different ways to take it. You can do commodities on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. You can buy companies, you can get in.
[00:10:08] When did ETF start a were when did your fascination with ETF start? How do you get into that business?
[00:10:14] Well, Chris, to be honest with you, you know, after doing banking, I was just doing a graduate scheme, kind of, I guess, a very sort of boring traditional road in from college. No doing your first kind of job. And I didn't like it. I rotated through a number of different sectors kind of within the bank on these kind of traditional training schemes. And kind of after a year and a half, I decided to leave because what I wanted to do was get more client facing and just weren't really any opportunities at that time to do that. And so I joined this company called Barkleys Bhogle Investors, which, unbeknownst to me at the time, was doing the first ETF FS in Europe. And so, frankly, Chris, I just it was just the right place at the right time and got involved with the right company. And I was there from the ground, from the ground up, so to speak. And we are launching these ETF some because I was client facing at that time. I could just see that this was a product that customers wanted to hear more more about. And out of all the products that we sold, this was the one that was generating the most interest. And of course, that made so much sense in terms of the way that people were investing before versus this new technology, so to speak, called the ETF. And, you know, from from my position being one of the first people to get involved in that industry, the business was now people would know it as BlackRock. But, you know, it just was obvious to me that this would grow into something huge. And from that perspective, I've kind of followed it all my career.
[00:11:44] Yeah. So Barclays Global Investors. Was this like a private wealth management group and they were trying to create new products for their clients, which had like, you know, a million dollars or ten million dollars or five hundred thousand or whatever their minimums are for like private wealth management.
[00:12:04] So as actually there were institutional asset managers that one of the largest asset managers in the world and they were acquired by BlackRock in the midst of the financial crisis. And it was the still to this day, I think the largest merger and asset management history. But they were huge company, but they focused really on institutions. And ETF were kind of the first product that was really ultimately designed for retail investors originally. But kind of as I said, people got hijacked by institutions because institutions we found were willing to actually pay a premium for the liquidity the ETF offered versus mutual funds where, you know, your your buying and selling just at one particular part of the day, at the end of the day, versus an ETF where you can buy and sell it whenever you want. And that was like a huge advantage to a lot of people.
[00:12:57] Yeah, I don't know if they. You'll have to correct me if if ETF, sir, like mark to market. They closed, they open and closed every day. Right.
[00:13:05] Just like stocks. Just think of it exactly like stocks in that they're trading, you know, every second of the day the stock exchange is open. But instead of buying a share in Apple or Tesla, i.e. one company, you're buying a share in a fund that gives you exposure to potentially multiple companies or something like gold or something like, you know, a basket of bonds. So it's really just a a fund that's listed and traded on the stock exchange. You buy and sell exactly the same as any other any other stock in.
[00:13:38] And the primary reason for that is it is it mitigate your risk from too much ownership stake in it? It allows you to really focus on a group or a category. What was the primary reason why they created this product?
[00:13:53] Well, like any kind of product innovation, it was really about innovating. The mutual fund. And that was kind of the traditional way. Obviously, mutual funds still exist today. It is still a huge part of the industry, but it was really improving upon that structure. And, you know, mutual funds kind of fundamentally were actively managed or actively managed. They're typically pretty high fees, high management fees that you pay. And you don't have complete transparency in terms of what's inside the fund. And obviously the liquidity aspect I just mentioned, you can't buy and sell it whenever you want. And so what the ETF allowed investors to do is still get exposure to a fund. So in the same way that got exposure to a fund by buying mutual funds, the ETF gives you exposure to a fund construct, but you have typically much lower costs that typically tracking an index. So they deliver exactly what the strategy is supposed to be delivering. And you can buy and sell whenever you want. But one of the big things that has really happened is that they've become very low cost from management fee perspective. And obviously people love things that are that are cheap or low cost. And so that's been a huge part of success. Yeah.
[00:15:05] So mutual funds. The reason why they load them up with those costs, because they have humans, that they have teams that do a lot of research and they kind of commit themselves to that. Is that accurate? Like, how can that is?
[00:15:17] I think another another thing that people might not realize is that a lot of the costs are actually in the distribution. So in other words, they're they're paid or they're commission based products. So, you know, distributors or sales people get paid a commission to sell those products, whereas, yes, nobody gets a commission there. They're not a sold product and the same way. So there's no. Incentive fee or commission that gets paid to a broker. And that's a big difference because that's a huge amount of fat. You can just cut out the middle. And therefore, because you're not paying a middleman, the fees are a lot lower there.
[00:15:55] Well, you've probably seen the innovations in fees.
[00:15:59] I mean, I think the you know, Robin Hood basically brought everybody to free. Is there some parallels between exchange traded funds and the amount of them with some of these new platforms like Robin Hood that would allow Schwab and Fidelity and all these guys to have to say, well, look, we can't we can't do this because the technology and the construct of the products won't allow us to charge these kind of fees anymore. How does that how did you see the evolution of no fee trading?
[00:16:30] I know that might be a little bit different from the ETF conversation we're having, but yeah, I mean, I think, you know, from my perspective, a lot of these fintech gonna be innovations that that we've seen in the market. They're really about the consumer front end. So they're allowing access to markets and enabling access to markets, either cheaper access to markets, easier access to markets and more flexible access to markets. Sometimes a combination of all those three things. And I think if you look at the growth of the ETF business, I mean, it's a seven trillion dollar industry now in terms of global assets, an ETF out there of a two thousand ETF listed in the U.S. So there's plenty of product choice and it really has become the investment vehicle of choice for people. But I think that's where the the the innovations like Robin, Robinhood, etc., it shows to give people easier access to the market and give people not not just access to stocks, but also to ETF.
[00:17:31] So you're at Barclays and then I guess the that division got bought by BlackRock and you spent some time at both companies. At what point did you say, like, look, I'm going to go do. Did you start the, you know, the ETF securities? Because I know you've done that. You went to ETF Securities after that. What made you decide? Like, you know what, black BlackRock is huge, right? It's like one of the biggest. The largest. The largest. Yeah. Yeah. So why did you. I mean, you were, you know, obviously your principal there, your you know, why would you decide to leave?
[00:18:08] So I think like a lot of people, again, going back to what I what I could see and to me again at the time, it was obvious, may not have been obvious for for everybody, but to me, I could just see this growing. And what really appealed to me was, you know, being able to get more sort of entrepreneurial experience and get closer to the actual business. And so I saw this industry growing. I just like, hey, look, how can I get a piece of this? And really, a piece of this means some equity stake, you know, in a business that is going to be growing and providing exposure to this new or highly growth growing industry. So at the time, the reason why I actually left is because I joined a startup that was innovating around launching some commodity products. And I I knew that it was something that big guys like BlackRock at the time, we didn't offer any of these types of products. I thought it was a an interesting idea that definitely had a lot of potential. And so, crucially, I decided to leave my job because I felt like there was a lot of upside at this new firm. And ultimately I could own a piece of the piece of the business. And that was really what I was looking for. And so I joined that company. It became a big success and just kind of really further enhanced my desire to ultimately, you know, run my own company.
[00:19:38] So before you got into GraniteShares, you'd already had a shot. Kind of building, growing a really successful company. What what was going on with the World Gold Council or the World Gold Trust Services is there because I know is part of your introduction. You guys look for, you know, maybe not so normal or differentiated product offerings. How did you get into gold and what are your views on that?
[00:20:11] So when I was when one of the ETF securities we did gold. I was a big part of our offering, a gold like commodity products. And I got into that side of the market. I was very interested in that. And then when I left that, frankly, I did want to set up on my own. At that time, but my employment contract and other restrictions I had meant that wasn't practically possible. So I actually went to the World Gold Council and ran their investment business. The fund that most people would be no would know is Yelda, which is the ETF. And that's still actually not just the largest gold ETF, but it's the largest commodity fund in the world. And so I was CEO there for two and a half years. And, you know, that just kind of further enhanced my view that know from my seat there. And for the broader audience, I felt like there was an opportunity to create a better product for investors. And so I left that set at my own company and not just to launch a gold ETF, but to launch a broader suite of exchange traded funds. Here and in the states and obviously in Europe as well.
[00:21:15] Yeah, it's got to be damn near. Well, not impossible, but damn near impossible to innovate at these large companies. Right. We talked a little bit about BlackRock and Barclays and there's a myriad of very large JP Morgan Chase Merrill, like how in the hell can someone like yourself that's innovative and forward thinking? And you're you're like, look, this is going to be good. I like, let's do it, guys. And a probably like we talked about, man, just go sit down over there and do whatever you like. I can't imagine any entrepreneurial minded person and those are great companies, by the way. They're the kind of the backbone of a lot of things we do financially. But I can't imagine them innovating.
[00:22:00] I mean, look, it's the same thing I say to people all the time. And, you know, it's the same story. I don't care what sector you're in, whether you're in finance with your in tech, whether you're in any kind of industry that you're the bigger the company, the harder it is or the less innovation that you have. It's just it's just a fact of life. And so, you know, typically the innovation comes from the new companies because those are the people putting themselves at risk in order to create new products and services. And so it's absolute the same in finance as in any other industry, in that the big companies just don't have the same incentives to innovate. And the people typically that thrive in those environments are not necessarily entrepreneurial type people. And so from that perspective, that's why you see innovation coming typically from smaller companies. But it's the same in any sector.
[00:22:56] So there's I think you'd mentioned to me at the beginning of the show, there's a couple thousand ETF. I don't know if that's rationally or globally known in the States.
[00:23:06] Yeah, more. More globally. But yeah, in the States there's over two thousand.
[00:23:11] So. So you're like, let's create five more. Right. I mean, I don't know. I think you have a few. Yeah. How do you what is it that would separate your thinking and your knowledge and your experience about creating this product or these products that's going to differentiate or make a, you know, a retail investor say, oh, yes, I have to. I have to do this. This is the deal. Right.
[00:23:38] So so, first of all, to put that in perspective. Two thousand ETF sounds like a big number. But if I told you there were over twelve thousand mutual funds. Oh, my God. Puts it into into perspective. And it doesn't stop people saying, let's create a new mutual fund. Let's do another large cap value mutual fund. Like, wait a second. Then we have thousands of those already. Yeah. So to put it into context, two thousand is, is a lot of anything, but it's not in the in the context of the mutual fund market. So what we try and do is we try and create unique or differentiated investments. In other words, we can't compete on the same basis as the big firms by offering kind of copycat products. It doesn't work like that. And so just like any kind of new business, in order for us to create market share, in order for us to add value to investors, we've got to create something that's unique or differentiated. And so that's what we try and do as a business. And we trying to innovate really around three key areas. And those are one unique IP. And if we can't have completely unique IP, which is also the most difficult to do, then we try and improve the structure of the investment outcomes. Try and give people fundamentally a better product, or we try and improve on giving people, say, a better price, you know, lower cost option on a bit on investment strategy. So we try and do obviously all all those three things. But really, that's our approach. And so anything that you see from us will be differentiated in some way. Either it'll be lower cost, either would be a better structure or it's completely unique in terms of IP.
[00:25:08] So it alternative investment. Would you consider crypto? Do you guys think about crypto? You follow crypto. You consider that an alternative to what everyone else might want to do right now, since they're maybe too big and too stubborn and too conservative to try this and maybe your firm can.
[00:25:27] Yes. So I'm one of the people we will. One of the companies that tried to launch a crypto ETF, more specifically a Bitcoin ETF. So we were kind of right. The forefront of that felt like for the last couple of years seemed like, you know, we're not going to win that battle with the regulator at this stage. But it's definitely something that we're very interested in, because at the core of it, you know, Bitcoin, other crypto, they're really just assets that people want to trade from the perspective of an asset. Pure practical perspective, it's not really much different to what we currently offer in terms of gold or other commodity futures. So from that perspective, I know people will say, well, crypto is different. I understand that. But what I'm trying to say is that from a manufacturing perspective, manufacturing product is very similar and running the product is very similar. So from that perspective, we were we were very much interested in doing that. We felt like it would be a great innovation for the market. Obviously, we tried to do that, but it wasn't wasn't to be, but. But I think we will get a Bitcoin ETF here in the market.
[00:26:29] Some point there are like that play around with Bitcoin is like ten thousand dollars a coin or whatever it is now. And so I opted for some of Thieriot in a Robinhood account just so I could watch it in. But I honestly, I just it's kind of pointless. I don't really understand what all it we're all of this is going. But I figured since, you know, I own banks dot com and I probably familiar, I bottom a theorem and it's up. Yeah. Good for me. But for me. Don't know what I'm going to do with it but. So when you decided to start GraniteShares, at which point and you've been doing this for a while now, you're at the four year marker, five year mark maybe. You have to start a company from scratch, like you have to get incorporated. You have to hire a team. You have to think about your product. You have to think about your mission. You have to build a Web site. You have to do all of this stuff. Yeah. You've been at relatively probably largest companies. This. How how was that experience for you?
[00:27:34] Difficult. Yeah. You have anything with it?
[00:27:38] The only good thing I had going for me really was that I did it before when I moved to the U.S., I set up the business, the time for for a company that I was with. And I set that up and I ran it for a number of years. And so while it was still under the sponsorship of a bigger company, it was building a business from scratch. And so I had that experience already, which was very, very useful. But you're doing anything on your own is always going to bring an extra dimension when there's no parachute. There's no kind of corporate sponsor to help. It's just if it doesn't work, that's it. You're out of business. Yeah. So from that perspective, I think the good news is that, you know, I came out it from an industry that I knew very well. And so, you know, when you when you're setting up a business, some of the core things are doing with service providers, you know, getting the right partners kind of in place and getting those contracts done, getting the right people to back you and support you as a business. And that's always the easier if you have those connections already and easier if you're an industry insider. And that definitely helped. But ultimately, you know, we had to raise venture capital the same way as anybody else who tries to raise venture capital. And, you know, it's it's a process. And you have to be very clear in terms of what your trying to articulate, in terms of the business, the idea and the value ultimately to shareholders. And you have to be persistent. And that's, you know, doing multiple best meetings that ultimately once you once you get going, you know, making sure that you deliver as much as you can as quickly as you can.
[00:29:17] And it's all about the team, too, right? I mean, it's good that you've had all those prior experiences because I can't imagine, you know, like the guys that started Robinhood. Right. Or any of these some of these Stanford grads or some of these people that start companies that are like twenty two years old. I'm like, the hell, how the hell did you guys make this work? It's got to be through just sheer brute force because they some of them have connections because they go to good universities. But others, the mistakes that slow you down, I think at our age and based on a lot of experience, we probably made those mistakes. So you don't have a leg up, right? I think. I think yeah.
[00:29:55] I mean, I think it's if your idea is good enough or the business that you're trying to do is good enough, I think you can clearly make it work if you don't have any experience. But there's only one Robinhood. And the fact that we're not talking about the countless others that are tried to do something similar, in other words, set up a broker dealer, which is effectively what it is. Yeah. You know, there are there are many, many failed examples of doing that. I think a lot of the times is from people that don't know what they're doing or that have much less experience and perhaps make some mistakes, that if you were in the industry or of your industry inside of you, at least at least be able to minimize. I'm not saying you can mitigate making mistakes, because that's doesn't matter what experience level you have. You're always going to make some mistakes. But at least you try and mitigate those.
[00:30:47] Yeah, well, I call it dumb enough to try and some of us are a little bit that way. You know, we don't know we're in for we just go for it and we're like, holy shit, once we get it. And we're like, wait a second. Yeah. Pray a little bit more than I asked for. I think I think you just ultimately have to believe in it.
[00:31:03] And whatever you do, hopefully you go forward with conviction. And to me, the experience level is not necessarily doesn't correlate necessarily with the conviction level. My conviction, you can do something. I think that probably came because everything else. But, you know, that's the most important thing. Tend to just get get going and you'll have the conviction that what you're doing is right and it will work.
[00:31:26] Yeah, I actually I like that. I never really thought of it that way, especially if you're a founder and entrepreneur. If you don't have that conviction, you'll be you'll be dead in a year. You don't believe in yourself. No one else will. Yeah, I agree. And you know, that brings me to another question. When was it granted? There had been some tough times in the early going, but when was it that you really felt like, OK, I'm not loose? Like, literally mentally powering. I'm not willing this company to be successful anymore. It's actually successful. Like, how many sleepless nights did you have before you just woke up when they were like, holy shit, I've made it. Or do you still feel like I haven't fucking made it?
[00:32:06] Well, I think I think I haven't made it. That's my mentality. I think you have to have that mentality because you're always going to be looking over your shoulder. And I think the day you stop looking over your shoulder is the day that complacency sets in, and that's the peak. And that's when ultimately you're sowing the seeds of your downfall. So for me, I think just in terms of our own business, it was when we reached a billion dollars under management. Yeah. That first climb from zero to a billion, a billion. By the way, look to a lot of people listen to the show will sound like a huge amount of money. And it is don't get me wrong, but it's just kind of a milestone. It's a very important milestone in our industry that, you know, you're kind of you're serious. Once you've once you've raised that kind of money and you have basically a billion dollars worth of other people's money that you're looking after, you're managing. I mean, it's a serious endeavor that you've got. And so I think for me, that was when I thought, OK, you know, we we have something here. We achieved that first milestone. But then it's sort of on onto the next one. But, you know, it just it it's it's brutal that climb, you know, to the first to the first 50 million that you generate, even the first 10 and 15 that a hundred, two hundred sounds it forward.
[00:33:23] How did you how did you drive demand for your product? Because, I mean, back to your original point there, 7000 or 12000 mutual funds. There's 2000 ETF. I believe you said there was seven trillion dollars worth of investment products on the market. That confusion, it's almost like my job in advertising and digital and tech. It's like, holy shit. If there is another tech company that is created in the next minute, my head's going to explode. How did you drive? So first of all, it must be a combination of institutional and retail. How do you get demand for this product in such a busy marketplace?
[00:34:06] Yeah, it's a great question. I think it's again, I'd like to think it's similar in any industry, but suddenly speaking for four us and then you have to have a hugely compelling product, just as simple as that. Like, if your product is not compelling, then forget it. You're just not going to make it. And it's a huge competitive industry. You have massive competitors. It's just, you know, nobody has the time to care unless you've got something that's really, really of value to people. And so I felt like we had the best product on the market and we came to market was about telling that story. And even then, even with the best product in the market, in my opinion, it was still not easy. You're still you still have to get people bought in because people will say, OK, well, the product is great. But, you know, we're worried about what comes if you guys go out of business or, you know, what have the funds not doesn't have high enough assets or doesn't trade enough from our trading volume perspective, you know, or a million excuses that people will give as to why they won't buy. Yeah, I wouldn't use it even if you have a great product. But you have to be persistent. Again, you got to believe in it because if you don't believe in it, then they won't believe in it. And so, you know, you just have to keep keep telling your story. And I think like any business, you find the people first that are like, wow, that's great. Thank goodness somebody has done this. And now I can put it this is much better for me, my my clients portfolio. This is fantastic. And then you find those people that are going to be your kind of initial champions. They invest with you and then it's a sort of snowball effect from there. But but, yeah, it's very, very challenging, I think, for any new business. You know, when you when you first come to market with that product and especially when it's not a consumer product, I think that the other thing that that people kind of need to know is that it's not like a killer app where, you know, anybody can access it. And, you know, people are very familiar with from a consumer perspective. What makes a difference or not? Well, we are fundamentally a be to be business, that we are a manufacturer, but we don't sell our product directly to you, the investor. We're disant mediated by a stock exchange. So what we really do is we list of funds on the stock exchange. And then you, as the ultimate investor, you buy through a broker, i.e. through a Robinhood or a Fidelity or whoever you like to use as your online broker. So we don't have that connectivity ultimately with the customer unless you call us, unless you email us and say, hey, you know, I bought a bought the fund. I've a question about this, a question about that, which is quite different because it's not the same consumer experience as, you know, people might be familiar with with other other industries.
[00:36:51] So how do you drive demand? Do you just produce a bunch of content? You get on CNBC and you tell people that you have IP, you have better returns or you're your price better? I think those are the three things you told me.
[00:37:04] Yeah. How do you get through? I mean, do you do you go with a group of I guess financial advisors would be someone that you'd probably want to talk to and say, look, push our stuff. Here's how great we are. How do you. And the other thing. You've got a billion under management, but like to initialize this, improve the people that you do have great IP or you are cheaper or you do have higher returns. Someone has to give you their money. Believe that that's actually going to happen. It's kind of like it's a chicken and egg thing. It's not totally. That's the whole that's businesses.
[00:37:40] Yeah, I mean, that's new business. Kind of summed up in one phrase is chicken or egg, isn't it? Yeah. But until you've got critical mass or until you achieve escape velocity, as I like to call it, then you know, you're always in that battle. You're always find that battle. And again, I still think today even, you know, we don't we don't we have to stop fighting that battle. And we're much bigger than we were even just a few months ago. But it's just it's a never ending thing that you never you never you never not looking over your shoulder as to what's going on.
[00:38:09] Yeah, no, I find it I find it fascinating. So what's the next milestone for you guys? Like, where do you want to take this year? You've already got a billion under management. I don't know, relatively speaking, what that looks like for other similarly sized firms or whatever, but what are the next milestones? How do you guys anticipate getting. Are you going to launch new products like what's around the corner? Yeah.
[00:38:32] So we're now we're over one and a half billion. So we're a little bit higher than we were of just a few months ago. And the business is growing really quickly. So we launched a business in Europe at the end of last year. So we have products listed in the U.K. That's a big growth area for us in terms of growing internationally as well as here. And like any look at it, look at it in any business in space. We want to launch more products that make sense to people. The market environment is always changing. And even though we have a lot of products in the market, you know, clearly with zero interest rates, with, you know, potentially a presidential change coming in November. But one thing we know that is going to be for sure, there's market volatility will persist. And so we need investors need strategies to cope with that. And perhaps the strategies the last 10 years are not the strategies you're going to need for the next 10 years. And so that's where we come in on it.
[00:39:33] Yeah, I love it. So actually, I had a question about. Have you heard of. I'm sure you've heard of like wealth front or disease. Absolutely. So I was listening to their CEO and they talking about self-driving money. Right. And I hear this stuff. Is there any way that you consider the folks like that competitors? Because I mean, they could in theory either use your products or I guess they could create their own because they have access to the consumer, which is a. Or do you take that consumer approach in and you kind of build your own like you see? How do you see that market going?
[00:40:10] So I just I don't see them as competitors because the way that we've always looked at it and this is where the lines can get and probably will get blood, you know, over the next decade. But the relationship is that we provide the products that a company like that will use. Yeah. To deliver the solution to the customer. And so that that's how to kind of fit together. But I think over the next 10 years, increasingly those lines get blood because like you say, a company like, well, front could very well say, well, we'll manufacture our own products and delivered to customers or companies like us could say, you know, why do we need this third party? Why don't we just go to the consumer ourselves? We're the ones that end the day. We've got the manufacturing expertize. We've got the investment solutions that the people want. So why don't we just give it to them directly? And so that will all kind of change over the next 10 years, I think. And, you know, fundamentally at the moment, we see the likes of well, from another firms purely as clients, potential clients for us, because they're the ones that build the whole businesses effectively around using ETF. And so they're they're great advocates for the product, for the investment. RAPPA But yeah, I mean, who knows where it where it goes from here. Yeah.
[00:41:28] You know, it's interesting. I was as we're on this fintech series now with the podcast and finance and fintech, there is another company I can't remember. I want to say CEO or something like that. They created a product that that allowed consumers to basically put their deposits in with this company. And those deposits actually got the same, you know, window rate as what the banks get. So, you know, they're getting you know, whatever you see the Fed rate is, they're getting that on their deposit account now. And as I think about these instruments, like I think Wells Fargo gives point, I think it's like 30 basis points or 20 basis points on your money.
[00:42:14] And I think the highest deposit interest yield right now is maybe a hundred basis points, one percent. And I just think about this notion of like, well, front self driving money ETF, you know, better products, cheaper with higher yields. These guys who can do a bank window, it's like, what the hell? Where? At the end of the day, as a consumer, I'm just looking for the best place to put my money with the best yield. And there's so much of this like I just don't know, it's kind of mind, boy, where this thing will go in the next, like two or three or four or five years.
[00:42:50] Exactly. But the good news is there's never been a better time to be a consumer. Now being a better time to be a consumer of financial services, the products that are available are better than they've ever been. The costs are lower than they've ever been. The access is easier than it's ever been. And there are some some really innovative things going on. But it's never been a better time to be a consumer.
[00:43:15] Yeah. And never been a better time to be in fintech relet, relatively speaking, from an investment standpoint. I think it it blows away just about every other industry out there from an investment standpoint. Well, as we as we wrap this up, you know, if you had to offer a piece of advice to fellow executives, entrepreneurs, you know, our show is is mostly geared towards entrepreneurs, founders, executives. You've done a lot of entrepreneurial things. What would you what would you give our audience as we close this out?
[00:43:48] I think a lot of people you know, the question that comes up a lot is for people thinking about this, you know, what should they do to kind of get started? And I think the simple answer is just don't wait. If you have an idea, if you want to do something on your own, just get on with it. I think it's the biggest. The biggest. The biggest thing that stands in the way of yourself is yourself. And, you know, when you think about it in the context of everyday life, things such as a diet or, you know, Jim Jim workout plan or something, you know, people are always obsessing about, OK, you know, off the summer, then I'll start working out or off the summer. I'll go on this diet and, you know. But I'll wait until a certain time. I won't. Why just do it? If that if that's what you're going to do, then you start today and just get on with it. And I think that's the that's the difference that conviction brings you. And, yeah, there's just there's nothing standing in your way apart from yourself.
[00:44:50] Yeah, I agree with that. There's I don't know if you read any of James Clear's stuff, but here he just like a one percent guy. Right. So if you do one percent every single day for 30 days, you will make a 30 percent improvement. So, like, if you want to get up a little bit earlier or you want to just not eat, that last piece of cheese are like, well, OK, start with ten pieces of pizza and then eat nine tomorrow. If you don't have 10 today, but maybe you have nine tomorrow or maybe have eight. You'll have to just do the one percent thing, but just do something.
[00:45:24] Well, a lot of that. Again, this is probably it's totally separate podcast, but I think a lot of that is about discipline, isn't it? About having the discipline within yourself to do things a certain way. And so even as something as simple as making an incremental change still about discipline comes back to you, are you going to do that, make that change every day? Can you make that change and see if you can then you are going to see improvement? Yeah.
[00:45:50] Well, I think you have to have a desire to do that. Right. If you're the if you're the kind of person that gets up every morning and you have to go to a job or you're doing something, you're really not passionate about it, you might want to consider if you really do you really want to lose that weight or you really do want to run that mile or you really do want to get up at that time is like if you don't have the desire to do it, it's going to be a lot more difficult anyway.
[00:46:13] And again, and that's, you know, desire is another word. You know, there's similar to conviction and it's always all the same thing. You have to want it. You have to want to do it. And if you don't like I said, if there's no passion, it's probably not going to happen.
[00:46:29] Yeah, no, I love that. I love that. Well, this has been everyone. Will Rhind, founder and CEO of GraniteShares. Exchange traded funds company that he built for simple, cost effective access to commodities alternative investments will put all the links to the show notes, things of that nature. But Will, I really appreciate having you on the show. Been very insightful.
[00:46:53] I appreciate your time. It's been a pleasure. Thank you so much for having me. Really being really enjoyed it. Thank you.
[00:46:57] All right. Take care.