Amrita Nandakumar joins VIA with senior experience from VanEck and Vanguard
Vident Assessment Management has hired a new president by way of VanEck, who is keen explore distribution opportunities for ETFs in the insurance channel.
Amrita Nandakumar joined VIA on Tuesday after several years with VanEck, where she held senior roles including director of corporate strategy and development.
She steps into the shoes of Denise Krisko, the co-founder of VIA, who passed away in June.
“With the passing of Denise who’s just such a legend in our industry, it’s unfortunate, the circumstances under which I had to join the firm but I’m so keenly aware of what an incredible legacy that I’m being entrusted with,” Nandakumar told Fund Intelligence. “It’s a responsibility that I take very seriously.”
Nandakumar will oversee all strategic initiatives and will provide daily oversight and management of the VIA sub-advisory business. She will lead a team of portfolio managers, traders, and operations and compliance professionals across a variety of asset classes including international and domestic equities, fixed income and commodities.
The insurance channel is among the newer distribution outlets for the firm, and one where Nandakumar sees opportunity.
“We’ve come to realize there may be more opportunities in insurance especially given that the insurance channel represents one of the fastest growing institutional users of ETFs, so that’s one that I’d personally love to explore further,” she said, adding that growing the firm’s Ucits relationships, and deepening ties within the ETF ecosystem, are other priorities.
Nandakumar also noted VIA’s recent partnership with Blue Tractor Group, which will allow the firm to offer services to those wishing to launch proprietary actively managed strategies using Blue Tractor’s Shielded Alpha non-transparent ETF wrapper.
VIA, a subsidiary of Vident Financial formed in 2014, provides sub-advisory services for a variety of passively and actively managed ETF strategies.
“To now be able to offer ETF strategies in a new kind of wrapper and a new kind of structure especially the Blue Tractor structure which I think offers a lot of strengths, it’s something very exciting for us,” she said.
Vident Financial CEO Vince Birley cited Nandakumar’s ETF expertise and leadership skills as what made her the right fit for the job.
“Amrita brings to Vident broad ETF experience starting with market research on product development, getting to know the ETF ecosystem players, and selling ETFs to intermediaries,” he told Fund Intelligence.
Back to office
Employees in VIA’s headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia are still working remotely, with limited exceptions if someone from the team needs to pick up something from the office, Nandakumar said*.
The firm’s Morristown, New Jersey office has been closed, but there are plans to open another in the greater New York City metro area post-Covid, Nandakumar said.
Speaking to Fund Intelligence from her Manhattan apartment’s business center, Nandakumar said being interviewed and onboarded to a new company virtually has been a “really interesting experience,” but that VIA’s supportive team coupled with investments in technology made her acclimation easier.
“I’m very fortunate that the team has been so supportive and so excited about having a new leader and moving forward as an organization, that we’ve been able to overcome any potential barriers that have been caused by us having to get to know each other virtually,” she said, adding that she looks forward to face-to-face communication and chatting by the coffee machine as soon as possible.
*Updated Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 12:01 p.m. to clarify remote working operations