Old Mutual launches first US ETF with media blitz

NEW YORK: Old Mutual Global Index Trackers launched its first US exchange-traded fund (ETF) with its CEO at the center of the supporting media campaign.

NEW YORK: Old Mutual Global Index Trackers launched its first US exchange-traded fund (ETF) with its CEO at the center of the supporting media campaign. 

Old Mutual, a financial services company based out of South Africa, is launching the GlobalShares FTSE Emerging Markets Fund to extend its reach into the US market.

Working with New York-based Dukas PR, the firm's CEO Tandei Musikavanhu has been at the center of the campaign, giving interviews to broadcast and print journalists, and ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on January 12, all the while emphasizing its expertise in emerging markets.

It is the first of five ETFs Old Mutual will roll out by the end of next month, along with a supporting PR campaign.

“There's a good audience here [in the US] for emerging markets, which we specialize in. You could say we're playing to our strengths,” said Musikavanhu, who joined the firm as CEO in 2006.

The firm, which works with different PR agencies globally, has named Dukas PR its US AOR. Musikavanhu said the agency was chosen for its experience in the financial industry.

Following his bell-ringing on the exchange floor, Musikavanhu spoke with CNBC about the firm's experience in global markets. Over the next few weeks, Musikavanhu will speak to outlets like the Associated Press, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Dukas PR president and CEO, Richard Dukas, said the media tour objective is to introduce Old Mutual to a US audience. He said the firm has a large presence in the African and European markets, but is less well-known to Americans. Old Mutual opened its first US office in Boston last year.

“We began to get a sense that South Africa was getting too small for us, and we're constantly working to extend our reach,” Musikavanhu said. “We want that to include the US.” Old Mutual operates out of about 35 countries.

Looking forward, Dukas said his team will focus on positioning the firm as a thought leader by continuing to reach out to media outlets on Old Mutual's behalf.

“If we're going to be managing the money of our clients,” Musikavanhu said, “then it behooves us to be out there acting as a voice of guidance in the industry.”

Updated January 18, 2010, 12:35pm

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