This man is probably best known as Maria Bartiromo’s other half.
But Jonathan “Jono” Steinberg, like his wife did, wants to revolutionise the industry in which he works — the mutual fund trade.
“Mutual funds are like black-and-white TVs,” Steinberg told Crains New York. “Even after the first talkies, silent movie stars lasted a while. That’s where mutual funds are now.”
Steinberg aims to “do to Vanguard what Vanguard did to traditional mutual funds,” with Active ETFs.
For those who aren’t familiar, active ETFs “combine the benefits of ETF investing with the investment process of active management. Until active ETFs came to market, most ETFs were designed to track a specific index or industry sector. Active ETFs are managed by investment teams relying on traditional portfolio management methods (research, managed risk, active trading) with the specific goal of outperforming a relative benchmark,” acording to Investopedia.
So active ETFs, which are cheaper to be invested in than mutual funds, “are the first thing to come along in 80 years that could materially hurt the business model of mutual funds,” a senior analyst at Morningstar told Crains.
Steinberg’s $12 billion firm, WisdomTree Investments, has the largest number of active ETFs of any money manager, with 12 different funds. Renowned hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt owns a third of the business and is its chairman.
“It’s coming, it’s unstoppable. The worst active ETF is better than the best active mutual fund,” Steinberg said.
Steinberg has Wall Street in his blood. His dad is the famous buyout titan Saul Steinberg.
“Growing up [Jono] was best known as “Saul’s kid.” Saul Steinberg is the corporate raider who, while Jonathan was in school, made headlines by greenmailing Disney, Quaker State and others. Those aborted takeovers left Saul with a Forbes 400 fortune–and a reputation as a Wall Street extortionist,” Forbes wrote in 2007.
Jono attended Wharton, then went to work for Bear Stearns. He bought a magazine called the Penny Stock Journal, renamed it Individual Investor, and after several successful years, it folded in 2001. So too did a hedge fund he started.
He married Bartiromo in 1999. In 2007, they bought a five-story townhouse on East 62nd Street, for $6.5 million. It has 5 bedrooms, and a “second-floor balcony overlooking the 39-foot-long backyard garden.”