NEW YORK (Reuters) – If you want a friend, get a dog.
If you want to make money, invest in people who want to get dogs. You can do this now because investment funds focusing on furry friends are starting to hit the market: One an exchange-traded Pet Care fund from ProShares (ticker PAWZ, of course) and the other an actively-managed Pet Parents NextShares fund from famed money manager Mario Gabelli’s Gabelli Funds.
“We’ve been watching this space for a long time,” said Steve Cohen, managing director for ProShares, whose PAWZ just launched in November. “Every pet owner knows how much they spend on their pets. We treat them better than we treat ourselves, and there is nothing we wouldn’t do for them.
“It’s one of those growth stories where you hit yourself on the head and say, ‘Of course!’”
If you are a pet owner yourself, take a moment and tabulate what you spend – it is probably plenty. Roughly seven out of 10 U.S. households have pets, according to the American Pet Products Association’s most recent Pet Owners Survey – far more than the number of households who have children, and up from 56 percent 30 years ago.
The survey found that Americans spent a record $69.5 billion on pets in 2017, with 2018 expenses expected to spike further to over $72 billion. That amounts to $29 billion just on pet food, with another $17 billion on veterinary care.
The two new investment funds take distinct approaches to the sector. The ProShares fund is a straight index of