The shift to passive has caused much soul searching, not to mention cost cutting, at some of the world's biggest money managers.
Smart-beta styles underlie about one in five ETFs globally with an estimated $400 billion under management, and if they plunged, millions of investors would be burned.
French serve as head of beta solutions, the money manager said in a statement.
Transamerica will be offering smart beta ETFs from BlackRock.
NextShares Solutions President Stephen Clarke says actively-traded funds haven't yet overcome industry conservatism.
The 2008 and 2009 global financial crisis left many investors disappointed with the high volatility and negative performance of their portfolios and leading them to re-evaluate the risk reducing ability of asset allocation.
With heavyweights like Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO) throwing its hat into the managed futures mutual fund ring, interest from both investors and asset management in this investment vehicle appears to be rising.