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A quantum-computing breakthrough announced by Google in October illuminated the technology’s potential—and an investment opportunity. 

So says Paul Dellaquila, president of Defiance ETFs. The firm’s Defiance Quantum ETF (QTUM) tracks the BlueStar Quantum Computing & Machine Learning Index, which is made up of companies involved in quantum computing, along with a number of closely related sectors such as big-data solutions used in machine learning. The $12.4 million fund was up more than 40% for the year to date through November. 

In Google’s experiment, researchers claimed that the company’s quantum computer generated around one million random strings of numbers in about three minutes, far faster than traditional computers. Defiance ETFs says there are implications for this technology, notably its ability to enhance machine learning—that is, enabling computers to effectively learn with data without being explicitly programmed. 

The technology is still in the early stages, Mr. Dellaquila says. “We’re a little far out before we really see companies’ bottom line being impacted, but once we get there, I think it’s going to accelerate very, very quickly,” he says.

QTUM’s relatively low assets under management—the fund was launched in September 2018—could be due to a lack of investor knowledge of the area, and the fact that real-world applications are many years away, says Neena Mishra, director of ETF research at Zacks Investment Research. And while the fund has performed impressively, it is slightly behind Vanguard Information Technology ETF (VGT) and Technology Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLK), broader and cheaper technology funds that could be more suitable for many individual investors. 

However, Mr. Dellaquila says Defiance “does not benchmark our ETFs to broad-based tech; we focus more on providing targeted exposure to disruptive subsectors.”


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