[A]fter years of increasingly pointless ETFs being created to almost no acclaim, a new and attractive ETF has launched, one that well-advised normal people might soon be putting a lot of money into. The product in question is called the JUST U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF, it trades under the ticker symbol JUST, and it’s being brought to you by Goldman Sachs in association with Just Capital, a nonprofit organization founded by billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Tudor Jones. Just Capital’s raison d’être is to rank America’s companies, and then to make those rankings public so that everybody has the ability to act on them, in terms of who they buy from, who they work for, and—yes—who they invest in.The names here—not only Goldman and Tudor Jones, but also Just Capital’s board members, who include Deepak Chopra and Arianna Huffington—seem almost designed to elicit eye-rolling and snark. But after you take a look at the Just website and its detailed methodology, it turns out that the JUST ETF and the Just 500, as the underlying index is known, are smart, well-constructed products that give the investing public something important and valuable.
The idea behind the Just 500 is that it’s an alternative to the S&P 500: It’s a diversified list of 500 of the biggest companies in America, but it’s better. The ETF, which is the fund comprising all the companies on the list, is not better than S&P 500 ETFs because it’s cheaper than them (although, with a fee of 0.2 percent per year, it’s not very expensive), and it’s not better because it’s going to outperform the S&P 500 funds (it might, it might not, no one knows). Instead, it’s better because the stocks in it are chosen according to what you might call a crowdsourced dynamic values-based algorithm. If you care about which companies you’re investing in, and you want to invest in good companies while boycotting bad ones, then this is a very easy and well-constructed way of doing that.