By David Bjorkgren, Senior Editor
Special to the Hellenic News of America
Fundamental Income and Its Partners Know They’re Doing Something Right If They’re Ringing the Bell at the New York Stock Exchange
Ringing the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange is a high-profile honor.
So it meant something when Fundamental Income partners and co-founders Alexi Panagiotakopoulos and Chris Burbach stood on the podium with 12 other family members, friends and colleagues Jan. 21 to participate in the Closing Bell ringing ceremony.
The decision on who gets to ring the bell is often based on which companies are doing well or reflect positively on the Exchange.
Panagiotakopoulos thinks Fundamental Income, in Phoenix, AZ and its ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) was chosen by the Exchange because it’s a new “up and coming” fund.
The ETF tracks 23 publicly traded Net Lease Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs).
The REITs focus on companies that lease single-tenant properties on a triple net lease basis for 10 years or more to recognizable businesses all over America, like Amazon, Walgreens, and FedEx.
Investors receive dividends from rent collected.
“We’re the first and only fund on the market that offers pure-play exposure to the net lease sector,” Panagiotakopoulos said. They launched March 22, 2019, with $2 million in assets. Today, 10 months later, it’s $46 million.
“That’s a momentous event,” said Co-Founder and Partner Chris Burbach, who rang the bell and tried his best to break the gavel.
Another 150 friends, investors and colleagues cheered from the market floor below.
“It was a special moment because we put a lot of hard work to get this company off the ground, to get this fund off the ground,” Panagiotakopoulos said.
A listing certificate and an NYSE memento coin came with the ceremony, as did a cocktail reception in the NYSE’s historic boardroom.
He credits their success to a “brick by brick” approach.
“You keep your head down and you keep working; conviction is contagious.”
Believing in the company and the fund is critical.
That means the partners invest in their own fund, along with their families, friends and closest colleagues.
Panagiotakopoulos pointed to the strong friendship between himself and Chris Burbach. “We rely on each other and trust each other implicitly.”
He thinks investors are attracted to the relative safety and good return on a new and innovative fund.
“You get a current dividend from the real estate rents and then you also get growth over time as the properties appreciate, as the cash flow grows and as the companies re-invest in new properties,” Panagiotakopoulos said.
Panagiotakopoulos credits his father, Christo Panagiotakopoulos, with making all of his success in America possible, which is why it was so appropriate for him to honor his father on the NYSE podium at the bell ringing. Panagiotakopoulos and Burbach first bonded as the sons of small business owners.
“Our father’s instilled us with values, integrity and a work ethic; what we call the immigrant hustle.”
His father came to America from Athens, Greece at age 18.
Like many Greek immigrants, he came with nothing, and built a successful life for him and his family.
Panagiotakopoulos said Fundamental Income has a fund goal of $200 million by the end of the year, with an ultimate goal of a billion dollars.
Meanwhile, they’ll keep looking for marketplace opportunities.
“We’re not in a hurry. We’re looking to build something great over a long period of time.”
CAPTION: Chris Burbach and Alexi Panagiotakopoulos, Co-Founders of Fundamental Income, rang The Closing Bell® at the NYSE to celebrate the first-ever NETLease Corporate Real Estate ETF (NYSE Arca: NETL). Shown are (from left) Alexia Panagiotakopoulos, Hayleigh Crawford, Chris Calabrese, Christo Panagiotakopoulos, Taylor Brown, Alexi Panagiotakopoulos, Ryan Flynn, Matt Burbach, Chris Burbach, David Bruner, Doug Yones, Larry Spieth, Josh Simon, Stacey Burbach, and Thanasi Panagiotakopoulos. Photo provided by the NYSE team.