Last Thursday, Subversive Capital Advisers filed a registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch two exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that track the reported investments of either Democratic or Republican members of Congress.
The Democratic tracker is called the Unusual Whales Subversive Democratic Trading ETF, and the ticker symbol for the fund is NANC. The Republican tracker is the Unusual Whales Subversive Republican Trading ETF, and the ticker for this one is KRUZ. The NANC fund will track investments of Democratic Representatives and Senators; KRUZ will track Republicans.
Here is a chance for retail investors to act on their widely held belief that members of Congress have access to more information than the rest of us. Subversive Capital’s funds follow the same principle as ETFs that track the investments of hedge funds: follow the smart money. Whether congressional trades and investments are equally smart remains to be seen. Subversive Capital’s filing indicates that each fund will include a portfolio of 500 to 600 securities.
Under the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge (STOCK) Act of 2012, members of Congress are required to disclose stock, bond, commodity or other securities trades valued at more than $1,000 within 45 days of the trade. Subversive Capital plans to use this data to make buy and sell decisions for components of its funds.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri introduced legislation in January that would ban members of Congress and their spouses from holding or trading individual stocks. Hawley’s primary target was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul, a venture capitalist who acquired millions of dollars worth of call options over the past year and a half.
According to a report in the Financial Times, 76% of Americans believe that members of Congress have an “unfair” advantage when it comes to trading. Only 5% support allowing Senators and Representatives to trade.
Data collected by Capitol Trades shows that Democrat Ro Khanna of California is by far the most active trader among members of Congress. Over the past year, Khanna has made more than 6,500 trades involving more than 105 million shares. Republican Congressman Michael McCaul of Texas has made more than 1,800 trades involving more than 125 million shares.
Subversive Capital launched its first fund, the Subversive Metaverse ETF (PUNK) in January and has attracted $933 million in investments to date. The fund has lost about 24% of its value since its inception. The fund’s top equity holdings are Agilent (3.68%), Apple (3.61%) and Microsoft (3.53%). Its top holding is cash (20.54%). As of August 29, the fund included equities in 53 companies.