Three ways to buy Thrivent funds

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MUTUAL FUNDS

Thrivent Account

You can purchase mutual funds right on our site with an online account.

Buy with a Thrivent account

  • Set up an account starting with as little as $50 per month.1
  • Access your online account at your convenience.
  • Purchase funds without transaction fees or sales charges.

MUTUAL FUNDS & ETFS

Financial Professional

For guidance when investing, ask a financial professional about buying Thrivent mutual funds & ETFs.

Buy with a financial professional

  • Receive investment help from an experienced professional.
  • Build a relationship through in-person meetings.
  • Get help planning for life’s goals such as saving and retirement.
  • Additional fees may apply.

MUTUAL FUNDS & ETFS

Brokerage Account

If you already have a brokerage account, our mutual funds & ETFs can be purchased through online brokerage platforms by searching for Thrivent Mutual Funds and ETFs.

Buy with a brokerage account

  • Add Thrivent Mutual Funds and ETFs to your investments within your existing portfolio.
  • Take advantage of your account to keep your investments in one place.
  • Additional fees may apply.
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Here are some other options that may help you.

  • Take our quiz to determine your personal investment style.
  • Talk to your financial advisor about ETFs.
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This ETF is different from traditional ETFs. Traditional ETFs tell the public what assets they hold each day. This ETF will not. This may create additional risks for your investment. For example:

 - You may have to pay more money to trade the ETF’s shares. This ETF will provide less information to traders, who tend to charge more for trades when they have less information.

 - The price you pay to buy ETF shares on an exchange may not match the value of the ETF’s portfolio. The same is true when you sell shares. These price differences may be greater for this ETF compared to other ETFs because it provides less information to traders.

 - These additional risks may be even greater in bad or uncertain market conditions.

 - The ETF will publish on its website each day a “Proxy Portfolio” designed to help trading in shares of the ETF. While the Proxy Portfolio includes some of the ETF’s holdings, it is not the ETF’s actual portfolio.

The differences between this ETF and other ETFs may also have advantages. By keeping certain information about the ETF secret, this ETF may face less risk that other traders can predict or copy its investment strategy. This may improve the ETF’s performance. If other traders are able to copy or predict the ETF’s investment strategy, however, this may hurt the ETF’s performance. For additional information regarding the unique attributes and risks of the ETF, see the Principal Risks section of the prospectus.

1 New accounts with a minimum investment amount of $50 are offered through the Thrivent Mutual Funds "automatic purchase plan." Otherwise, the minimum initial investment requirement is $2,000 for non-retirement accounts and $1,000 for IRA or tax-deferred accounts, minimum subsequent investment requirement is $50 for all account types. Account minimums for other options vary.

Thrivent ETFs may be purchased through your financial professional or brokerage platforms.

Contact your financial professional or brokerage firm to understand minimum investment amounts when purchasing a Thrivent ETF.

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MUTUAL FUND FOCUS

Small-cap investing strategies for growth: Fueled by innovation

Female financial professional presenting to a male colleague

Key points

Standing out

Fund managers look at companies showing a competitive advantage over their peers for inclusion into the Fund.

Priority for customers

Companies that have products and services designed to keep customers interested are also attractive to Fund managers.


Thrivent fund manager Michael Hubbard took a sudden career detour in 2009 when he left his job as a sell side analyst for a Chicago investment firm and joined the United States Marine Corps.

Surprisingly, the lessons he learned in his four years as an infantry officer in the Marines—including two tours in Afghanistan—still play into nearly every buy and sell decision he makes today as Thrivent Small Cap Growth Fund (TSCGX) senior portfolio manager.

“The ethos that’s driven into you every day in the Marines is that a 70% solution executed now is always better than waiting for a 100% solution,” Hubbard explained. “That may sound counterintuitive when you’re literally dealing with life and death decisions, but in an uncertain environment fighting a living, breathing, thinking enemy that’s trying to figure out how to beat you, delayed decision making can be catastrophic. And in that environment, there’s no such thing as a 100% solution. And the more time you give your enemy to prepare, the tougher they will be to defeat.”

That same ethos now contributes significantly to Hubbard’s investment management decision process. “That Marine ethos is highly relevant to investing,” he explained, “which I didn’t fully appreciate at the time, but as investors we are fighting the market and other investors. And we are dealing with an uncertain environment. We’re predicting the future, which we can’t do with 100% certainty. So, the trap that a lot of us fall into when we’re researching a company, is to say, ‘Oh, we’ll just wait for another quarter,’ or ‘we’ll just wait to see another data point.’”

But putting off those buy and sell decisions until more information becomes available can exact its own toll on a fund’s performance. “We get fooled into thinking that it’s a costless decision,” said Hubbard. “But by waiting to see another data point—which every other investor is going to see—the stock may move ahead in anticipation of that data point, so there is often an implicit cost to waiting.”

Instead, Hubbard tries to focus on the two or three key factors that are most likely to drive the fundamentals of the company and its stock to reach a decision.

Leaders in small-cap investing strategies

Many investors consider small-cap growth stocks to be the most dynamic segment of the equities market because of their focus on innovation and their potential for growth.


“This is a group of companies that are working to reshape the world—and that have the potential to do just that. Most innovation and disruption in the economy grows out of the small-cap growth universe.”

– Michael Hubbard, Thrivent Small Cap Growth Fund senior portfolio manager


Some of the disadvantages that small-cap companies once faced when competing with their blue-chip rivals have been significantly diminished by recent advances in technology. The cloud has made startup and data storage costs infinitely less expensive, while artificial intelligence (AI) applications have helped cut costs and time-to-market for small companies in a wide variety of ways.

“With the proliferation of technology,” said Hubbard, “the environment for starting businesses is much different today. The cloud has democratized scalable infrastructure and opened the door for any firm that understands how to use these technologies to their advantage. That’s evident in the declining life expectancy of companies in the S&P 500® Index. In the 1950s, the average length of stay on the S&P 500 Index was about 60 years. Today,” added Hubbard, “it’s just seven.”

In researching companies in the small cap growth universe, Hubbard and portfolio co-manager Patrick Farley, CFA, and team focus on three key areas: the total addressable market (TAM) of the company, the company’s competitive advantage and the return on investment of the company’s products or services to its end customer. 

“We don’t rely on what management says or what some consultant says,” Hubbard explained. “We do our own bottom-up analysis in order to understand the customer profile, the number of customers, the pricing the company can get for its products and the scalability and sustainability of its business model.”

To assess a company’s competitive advantage, Hubbard and his team conduct extensive in-depth research, talking to customers, competitors, suppliers and industry experts.


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Evaluating ROI

In determining a company’s projected return on investment (ROI), Hubbard pays particular attention to the revenue potential and scalability of its products and the stickiness of its customers.

“The more value you’re delivering to your customers, the stickier the customers. If a company is delivering a lot of value to its customers, the customer is unlikely to switch even if a competitor offers a lower price,” Hubbard said for his strategy.

For example, one of the Fund’s recent holdings, Varonis Systems Inc., (VRNS) provides data security services specifically for unsecured data. In the current days of artificial intelligence using copilots, Varonis helps companies protect internal data from AI copilot searches. This is in addition to helping companies decide who has access to what data on the company computers, and when they can access it. “Varonis created a new service and software platform in the Cloud, allowing companies to offload the management of data security to Varonis, which monitors the alerts and provides action when needed,” Hubbard said. “It’s super efficient for companies. That type of application becomes very sticky because it saves companies a massive amount of man hours and manual labor.”

While Hubbard and his team stay on top of macro factors, such as economic cycles, they don’t try to predict market movements. “We try to understand where we are in the cycle. Are we at the beginning, at the end or are we somewhere in the middle? We know that the dynamics of any one of those cycles will present headwinds to some companies and tailwinds to others.”

To pare the field to the most attractive small-cap growth funds, Hubbard and his team run a range of screens to try to uncover companies with the potential to excel when the economy shifts gears.

“The goal,” said Hubbard, “is not to make a big macro bet on, for instance, interest rates or unemployment. But we try to use those situations to find some quality companies that are out of favor and add them to the portfolio. We know we may be early on those, but we use risk management on the back end to make sure we’re not making an outsized or implicit bet based on these macro factors.”

One promising name the Fund picked up while the stock was out of favor was Celsius (CELH), an energy drink producer. “They compete with Monster in that market,” said Hubbard, “But they’ve created a much healthier energy drink that doesn’t have sugar, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners. They’ve grown significantly over the last several years, they’ve ramped up distribution and they’re getting their products into new stores and channels. Now they’re rolling their product out to college campuses, hospitality, hotels, restaurants.

“It’s a classic growth story—great products, large TAM and value to the customer. Then, just last year, they signed a distribution agreement with Pepsi,” added Hubbard. “So now they’re getting exponentially larger distribution, more stores, more shelf space, and better placement. All those things have a multiplier effect on the trajectory of the company’s growth.”

Time to sell—happy or not

The ongoing need to selectively prune the portfolio to make room for new prospects generally boils down to what the Fund team terms the “happy sale or the unhappy sale.”

The former includes companies that become so successful they outgrow the team’s expectations and are fairly or excessively valued.

The latter are simply stocks that, for one reason or another, failed to live up to the original thesis the Fund team mapped out.

In making both buy and sell decisions, the three most important factors Hubbard considers are operating performance, valuation and sentiment. “Our goal is to find stocks with a 50% upside over the next two to three years.

“When we invest in a company,” Hubbard added, “we have an investment thesis that lays out how we think a company’s competitive advantage, market opportunities and ROI will manifest itself in the financial statements. That’s the operating performance.”

To assess the second piece, valuation, the Fund team runs screens, tracks historical trends, monitors free cash flow and reviews a wide range of other factors to determine an appropriate target price for the stock.

“Then the third piece is sentiment,” said Hubbard. “The way we think about sentiment is ‘What do we believe or what do we think we know about this company that the market doesn’t fully appreciate?’ And ‘Is the market starting to understand our original thesis?’”

On a regular basis, the Fund team analyzes the progress companies are making on those three factors to see how their thesis is playing out. If one or more of those factors are failing to live up to their expectations, the Fund could unload or lighten their position. That’s the unhappy sale.

“But if operating performance is high, valuation is high and we don’t have anything that truly differentiates our view from market,” noted Hubbard, “that’s an easy reduction. That would be a happy sale.”

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For investors, the mid-cap sector can get lost in the shuffle between the alluring promise of small-cap stocks and the familiar market leaders of the large-cap sector.

Risk mitigation—embracing discipline & diversity

Small-caps typically carry more risk than the larger, more established companies, due to greater price volatility, lower trading volume and less liquidity. But Hubbard believes risk can be mitigated by investment managers with the discipline to:

  • Identify the most promising emerging small-cap growth companies and apply a consistent, disciplined research and valuation approach to every prospective investment.
  • Diversify broadly among industries and sectors.
  • Take profits when successful holdings outgrow the small stock cap range.
  • Take losses and move on when an investment disappoints.

The Fund owns, on average, about 90 names, and each of the 10 largest positions represent about 1.63% to 2.72% of total assets as of March 31, 2024. Portfolio turnover ratio was 77% as of February 28, 2024—which is higher than the industry average even when looking at only active strategies. The turnover for 12 months ending February 2024 was elevated given the change in leadership of the fund. When Hubbard took over management of the fund in 2022, he repositioned it to be more aligned with his investment process, as outlined above, causing turnover to be higher than average years. Turnover should return to more historical levels moving forward.

While the job of ferreting out the next market leaders from a pool of unproven prospects can be challenging, Hubbard tries to take a diligent and open-minded approach.

“For me, I think the key is staying humble and maintaining your curiosity,” Hubbard said. “It’s easy to become calloused and judgmental and write companies off or to overlook trends that are changing. But it’s such a dynamic universe that you can’t let yourself get sucked into your own biases or your own judgments because, in the small growth universe, change happens fast.”

See more on Thrivent Small Cap Growth Fund



 

All information and representations herein are as of 05/31/2024, unless otherwise noted.

The views expressed are as of the date given, may change as market or other conditions change, and may differ from views expressed by other Thrivent Asset Management, LLC associates. Actual investment decisions made by Thrivent Asset Management, LLC will not necessarily reflect the views expressed. This information should not be considered investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or product. Investment decisions should always be made based on an investor's specific financial needs, objectives, goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance.

This article refers to specific securities which Thrivent Small Cap Growth Stock Fund owns. Click here for a complete listing of the holdings for the Fund.

Risks: Smaller, less seasoned companies often have greater price volatility, lower trading volume, and less liquidity than larger, more established companies. The Fund’s value is influenced by a number of factors, including the performance of the broader market, and risks specific to the Fund’s asset classes, investment styles, and issuers. The Adviser's assessment of investments may prove incorrect, resulting in losses or poor performance. Common stocks of companies that rely extensively on technology, science or communications in their product development or operations may be more volatile than the overall stock market and may or may not move in tandem with the overall stock market. These and other risks are described in the prospectus.

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