Innovator Celebrates Three Years Leading the Defined Outcome ETF Revolution™

Since the 2018 launch of the first flagship Buffer ETFs™, Innovator’s Defined Outcome ETF family has amassed over $5 billion in AUM1

Defined Outcome ETF pioneer has listed 70 Defined Outcome ETFs, ranging from the risk mitigating Buffer ETFs to the enhanced equity strategies of the Accelerated ETFs™, offering 2x or 3x SPY or QQQ returns, to a cap

Extensive lineup of Defined Outcome ETF exposures allow advisors to construct diversified portfolios with forward-looking investment strategies

Over $1 billion in net flows YTD2 to Innovator’s liquid, transparent, tax-efficient Defined Outcome ETF lineup

CHICAGO, Aug. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Innovator Capital Management, LLC (Innovator) today marked the third anniversary of pioneering the Defined Outcome ETFs™. The category-creating sponsor listed the first Buffer ETFs™, PJUL and UJUL, on the Cboe on August 8, 2018, followed by BJUL on August 29, 2018. Since the 2018 Buffer ETF launch, Innovator has systematically built out a diversified lineup of forward-looking strategies across a range of market exposures, represented by 70 ETFs that can provide advisors an array of tools to help better match a portfolio to an investor’s risk tolerance. This buildout has brought Innovator to the top of the fund launch league tables and led the ETF industry’s efforts to disrupt the multi-trillion-dollar risk management market, which is home to many more expensive, opaque, illiquid, credit-risk laden, and less tax-efficient investment vehicles.

Advisor demand for these investment solutions in the benefit-rich ETF wrapper has been significant since the inception of the first Buffer ETFs™, resulting in Innovator’s Defined Outcome ETF™ lineup recently surpassing $5 billion in assets under management (AUM) and exceeding $1 billion in net flows YTD for the third consecutive year. Across all sponsors, the Defined Outcome ETF™ landscape represents over $8 billion in AUM and approximately 130 ETFs3, as well as a sizeable proportion of ETF launches.

“When we returned to the ETF industry, we had a big picture vision to help solve some of advisors’ and investors’ biggest challenges – like how to remain invested at record highs and historically high valuations as well as through hair-raising volatility and drawdowns, and how to get cash off the sidelines and put it to work so investors can meet their financial goals. By pioneering and building out the leading Defined Outcome ETF™ lineup – from the Buffer ETFs™ that seek to put guard rails on the investing process and the Accelerated ETFs™ that seek to multiply equity returns, to a cap – we feel that is just what we’re doing. It is truly an honor to reflect on the great reception and enthusiastic investor base with such a long list of top-notch fiduciaries from all over the country that we have gained as investors over these three short but very eventful years, which have included a pandemic, record low bond yields and the fastest bear market drawdown and recovery in history. Innovator is really just getting started, and we remain committed to leading the Defined Outcome ETF revolution™,” said Bruce Bond, Co-Founder and CEO of Innovator.

John Southard, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer, commented, “Along with our operational track record of 75 successful outcome period completions and fund resets and demonstrated tax-efficiency, all the benefits of the exchange-traded fund (ETF) wrapper have helped make the case for the superiority of the Defined Outcome ETFs™ over legacy investment solutions using similar forward-looking, outcome-oriented strategies. With the liquidity, transparency, structural simplicity, absence of credit and counterparty risk and lower relative fees, we strongly feel the ETF is the superior vehicle for investing in defined outcome strategies, and we plan to continue using the power of the ETF to take market share from legacy structures for the benefit of advisors and end investors. Bruce and I have been at the forefront of a few movements in the ETF market, like bringing smart beta strategies to the ETF, and we feel Defined Outcome ETFs™ could be the most revolutionary product concept yet.”

Hundreds of independent advisors (RIAs) have done their diligence and allocated to the various offerings in the Defined Outcome ETF™ family and Innovator anticipates large national wealth management platforms to follow suit in time. Notably, the Defined Outcome ETFs™ have demonstrated their operational and tax efficiency, totaling 75 rebalance events at the completion of a product outcome period.

History of Innovator’s Defined Outcome ETFs™
With lower volatility and drawdowns relative to the large-cap equity market in the Q4 2018 correction, the Buffer ETFs™ demonstrated their risk management value proposition and started to gain attention from advisors worried the longest bull market in history was aging. Significant interest in the sponsor’s January series of Buffer ETFs™ on Large-Cap U.S. stocks convinced Innovator to list the U.S. Equity Buffer ETFs™ on a monthly basis and to commence issuing Power Buffer ETFs™ on other core reference assets, including Technology and Growth stocks via options on QQQ (Invesco QQQ Trust), Small-Cap stocks via options on IWM (iShares Russell 2000 ETF), International Developed equities via options on EFA (iShares MSCI EAFE ETF) and Emerging Markets via options on EEM (iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF). In 2020, following the coronavirus crash that resulted in record monthly inflows to the Buffer ETFs™ over March and being named “Issuer of the Year”, Innovator continued to evolve and expand the Defined Outcome ETF™ family, launching the Laddered Fund of U.S. Equity Power Buffer ETFs™ (BUFF), bringing the Defined Outcome Bond ETFs™ and Stacker ETFs™, followed by 2021’s inception of the Accelerated ETFs™ and the Innovator Defined Wealth Shield ETF (BALT).

Lineup Overview
Buffer ETFs were the first to launch and remain the flagship Defined Outcome ETF™. The Buffer ETFs™ seek to participate in the upside of a reference asset, to a cap, while buffering a set level of loss over an outcome period of one quarter or one year.

Accelerated ETFs are the world’s first ETFs that seek to offer approximately 2 or 3 times the upside return of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) or Invesco QQQ Trust (QQQ), to a cap, with approximately single exposure to the downside, over a quarterly or annual outcome period. The wealth accumulation-oriented Accelerated ETFs™ are the newest of Innovator’s strategy suites.

Stacker ETFs are the world’s first ETFs seeking to offer a "stacked" exposure to the upside of multiple equity markets with a single exposure to the downside over a set period of time.

Defined Outcome Bond ETFs seek to maximize the diversification benefits of bonds with a built-in floor or buffer against loss. TBJL seeks to provide investors the upside performance of long-dated 20+ year U.S. Treasuries, to a cap, while providing a buffer against losses up to 9% over an annual period, while TFJL provides a floor against loss greater than 5% over a quarterly outcome period via options on iShares 20+ Year Treasury ETF (TLT).

BALT: The Innovator Defined Wealth Shield ETF seeks to provide investors with a conservative investment strategy that offers upside exposure to Large-Cap equities, to a cap, with a targeted buffer against the first 20% of quarterly losses in SPY (SPDR S&P 500 Trust) over each three month period. This defensive investment strategy can reflect risk characteristics more akin to traditional core bond portfolio allocations and short-term Treasuries, which many advisors worry carry excessive interest rate risk relative to history given how low yields currently sit and the room for them to move higher, which would prompt price losses.

Education and Tools
In pioneering the options-based Defined Outcome ETF™ category, Innovator has committed significant investment in the development of web tools and educational resources for investors to understand the mechanics, behavior and return profiles of the ETFs intra-outcome period. Its tools are publicly available for free on its website under the “Tools” tab. Innovator also regularly conducts webinars to explain and spread awareness about the Defined Outcome ETFs™ and how they can be used in portfolios in light of current market events and strategists’ outlooks.

The subadvisor for Innovator’s range of Defined Outcome ETFs™ is Milliman Financial Risk Management LLC (Milliman FRM), one of the largest and fastest-growing subadvisors of ETFs and a longtime trusted global leader in financial risk management to the retirement industry, providing investment advisory, hedging, and consulting services on approximately $150 billion in global assets as of March 31, 2021.

Innovator Defined Outcome ETFs - Benefits to Advisors

  • Pioneer and creator of Defined Outcome ETFs™ with 70 ETFs and over $5 billion AUM across family4
  • Tax-efficient exposure5 to five broad equity benchmarks with buffers against loss (Large-cap U.S. Equity (SPY), Growth (QQQ), Small-Cap U.S. Equity (IWM), International Developed (EFA), Emerging Markets (EEM)) the 20+ Year U.S. Treasury Market (TLT); the Stacker ETFs, the world’s first ETFs to offer a “stacked” exposure to two or three benchmark equity index ETFs on the upside, to a cap, with downside exposure to the SPY only; and the Accelerated ETFs™, the world’s first ETFs to seek to offer a multiple of the upside return of a reference asset, up to a cap, with approximately single exposure on the downside.
  • Reset annually or quarterly and can be held indefinitely as core holdings
  • Innovator’s Defined Outcome ETF™ lineup has amassed 75 outcome period completions with the ETFs successfully resetting for the coming outcome period6
  • Monthly issuance on SPY with three buffer levels (9,15, or 30%)

Innovator's Defined Outcome ETFs™ are the subject of a patent application filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Fund-Based Options and ETF Name Changes
In 2021, starting with the January series, Innovator has been transitioning reference assets of the underlying options within its Defined Outcome Equity Buffer ETFs™ to achieve the stated outcomes with ETF-based, or fund-based, options rather than index-based options. Innovator’s Equity Buffer ETFs™ have traditionally used index-based options while the Defined Outcome Bond ETFs and Stacker ETFs™ have been constructed using fund-based options. This change is intended to streamline market making and increase the operational efficiencies of the tax-efficient Buffer ETFs™ and will not materially impact shareholders. The Buffer ETFs™ will continue to draw from the same deeply liquid options markets pools that underpin the strategies, the level of the upside caps achieved should be unaffected and no tax event will be triggered given the options can be transferred in-kind. “These operational changes are intended to harness the power and efficiencies of the ETF wrapper even further for the benefit of our Defined Outcome Buffer ETF™ investors,” stated Bruce Bond, CEO of Innovator ETFs.

To better align the Defined Outcome ETF™ family with this operational change in reference assets, Innovator will be replacing the respective index in each Buffer ETF™ name with the market segment each Buffer ETF™ provides exposure to. This change for consistency between fund names and reference assets will apply to 51 Buffer ETFs™. The fund name change process will take place over the coming weeks through the beginning of September.

Legacy Fund Name StructureNew Fund Name StructureReference Asset7
Innovator S&P 500 Buffer ETF™ - MonthInnovator U.S. Equity Buffer ETF™ - MonthSPY
Innovator S&P 500 Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthInnovator U.S. Equity Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthSPY
Innovator S&P 500 Ultra Buffer ETF™ - MonthInnovator U.S. Equity Ultra Buffer ETF™ - MonthSPY
Innovator Nasdaq-100 Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthInnovator Growth-100 Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthQQQ
Innovator Russell 2000 Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthInnovator U.S. Small Cap Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthIWM
Innovator MSCI EAFE Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthInnovator International Developed Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthEFA
Innovator MSCI Emerging Markets ETF™ - MonthInnovator Emerging Markets Power Buffer ETF™ - MonthEEM
Innovator Laddered Fund of S&P 500 Power Buffer ETFs™Innovator Laddered Fund of U.S. Equity Power Buffer ETFs™Invests in an equal-weighted basket of each monthly Innovator U.S. Equity Power Buffer ETFs™

The Funds have characteristics unlike many other traditional investment products and may not be suitable for all investors. For more information regarding whether an investment in the Fund is right for you, please see “Investor Suitability” in the prospectus.

About Innovator Defined Outcome ETFs
Defined Outcome ETFs™ are the world’s first ETFs that seek to provide investors with known ranges of future investment outcomes prior to investing. These outcome ranges include multiple and single upside exposure, to a cap, with defined levels of downside risk with buffers and floors over a set amount of time. The Innovator Defined Outcome ETFs™ cover a large spectrum of domestic and international equities and bonds. Innovator’s category-creating Defined Outcome ETF™ family includes Buffer ETFs™, Stacker ETFs™, Floor ETFs™ and Accelerated ETFs™. 

The Buffer ETFs™ seek to provide the upside performance of broadly recognized benchmarks (e.g., SPY, QQQ, IWM, EFA and EEM, as well as the iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF (TLT)) to a cap, with built-in buffers, over an outcome period of one year. The ETFs reset annually and can be held indefinitely.

Each Buffer ETF™ in Innovator’s Defined Outcome ETF™ suite seeks to provide a defined exposure to a broad market benchmark where the downside buffer level, upside growth potential to a cap, and Outcome Period are all known, prior to investing. In 2019, Innovator began expanding its suite of U.S. Equity Buffer ETFs™ into a monthly series to provide investors more opportunities to purchase shares as close to the beginning of their respective Outcome Periods as possible.

Investors can purchase shares of a previously listed Defined Outcome ETF™ throughout the entire Outcome Period, obtaining a current set of defined outcome parameters, which are disclosed daily through a web tool available at:

Innovator is focused on delivering defined outcome-based solutions inside the benefit-rich ETF wrapper, retaining many of the features that have contributed to the success of structured products8 (e.g., downside buffer levels, upside participation, defined outcome parameters), but with the added benefits of transparency, liquidity, the elimination of credit risk9 and lower costs afforded by the ETF structure.

About Innovator Capital Management, LLC
Awarded's "ETF Issuer of the Year - 2019"*, Innovator Capital Management LLC (Innovator) is an SEC-registered investment advisor (RIA) based in Wheaton, IL. Formed in 2014, the firm is currently headed by ETF visionaries Bruce Bond and John Southard, founders of one of the largest ETF providers in the world. Bond and Southard reentered the asset management industry to bring to market first-of-their-kind investment opportunities, including the Defined Outcome ETFs™, products that they felt would change the investing landscape and bring more certainty to the financial planning process. Innovator’s category-creating Defined Outcome ETF™ family includes Buffer ETFs™, Floor ETFs, Stacker ETFs™ and the Accelerated ETFs™. Buffer ETFs™ and Floor ETFs™ seek to provide investors structured exposures to broad markets, where the upside growth potential, buffer or floor against the downside, and outcome period are all known, prior to investing. Accelerated ETFs™ are the world’s first ETFs to seek to offer a multiple of the upside return of a reference asset, up to a cap, with approximately single exposure on the downside over an outcome period. Having launched the first Defined Outcome ETFs™ in 2018 -- the flagship Innovator U.S. Equity Buffer ETF™ Suite – Innovator’s solutions allow advisors to construct diversified portfolios with known outcome ranges to aid in risk management and financial planning. Built on a foundation of innovation and driven by a commitment to help investors better control their financial outcomes, Innovator is leading the Defined Outcome ETF Revolution™. For additional information, visit

About Cboe Global Markets, Inc.
Cboe Global Markets (Cboe: CBOE) is one of the world’s largest exchange-holding companies, offering cutting-edge trading and investment solutions to investors around the world. For more information, visit

About Milliman Financial Risk Management LLC
Milliman Financial Risk Management LLC (Milliman FRM) is a global leader in financial risk management to the retirement industry, providing investment advisory, hedging, and consulting services on approximately $150 billion in global assets as of March 31, 2021. Milliman FRM is one of the largest and fastest-growing subadvisors of ETFs. For more information about Milliman FRM, visit

Media Contact
Paul Damon for Innovator ETFs
+1 (802) 999-5526

Interim Period Shareholders

Unlike structured notes, which offer limited liquidity, Innovator Defined Outcome ETFs™ trade throughout the day on an exchange, like a stock. As a result, investors purchasing shares of a Fund after its launch date may achieve a different payoff profile than those who entered the Fund on day one. Innovator recognizes this as a benefit of the Funds and provides a web-based tool that allows investors to know, in real-time throughout the trading day, their potential defined outcome return profile before they invest, based on the current ETF price and the Outcome Period remaining. Innovator’s web tool can be accessed at

Although each Fund seeks to achieve the defined outcomes stated in its investment objective, there is no guarantee that it will do so. The returns that the Funds seek to provide do not include the costs associated with purchasing shares of the Fund and certain expenses incurred by the Fund.

Investing involves risks. Loss of principal is possible. The Funds face numerous market trading risks, including active markets risk, authorized participation concentration risk, buffered loss risk, cap change risk, capped upside return risk, correlation risk, liquidity risk, management risk, market maker risk, market risk, non-diversification risk, operation risk, options risk, trading issues risk, upside participation risk and valuation risk. For a detail list of fund risks see the prospectus.

Market Disruptions Resulting from COVID-19. The outbreak of COVID-19 has negatively affected the worldwide economy, individual countries, individual companies and the market in general. The future impact of COVID-19 is currently unknown, and it may exacerbate other risks that apply to the Fund.

Foreign and Emerging Markets Risk Non-U.S. securities and Emerging Markets are subject to higher volatility than securities of domestic issuers due to possible adverse political, social or economic developments, restrictions on foreign investment or exchange of securities, lack of liquidity, currency exchange rates, excessive taxation, government seizure of assets, different legal or accounting standards, and less government supervision and regulation of securities exchanges in foreign countries.

Technology Sector Risk Companies in the technology sector are often smaller and can be characterized by relatively higher volatility in price performance when compared to other economic sectors. They can face intense competition, which may have an adverse effect on profit margins.

Small-Cap Risk Small-cap companies may be more volatile and susceptible to adverse developments than their mid- and large-cap counterpart. In addition, the small-cap companies may be less liquid than larger companies.

FLEX Options Risk The Fund will utilize FLEX Options issued and guaranteed for settlement by the Options Clearing Corporation (OCC). In the unlikely event that the OCC becomes insolvent or is otherwise unable to meet its settlement obligations, the Fund could suffer significant losses. Additionally, FLEX Options may be less liquid than standard options. In a less liquid market for the FLEX Options, the Fund may have difficulty closing out certain FLEX Options positions at desired times and prices. The values of FLEX Options do not increase or decrease at the same rate as the reference asset and may vary due to factors other than the price of reference asset.

These Funds are designed to provide point-to-point exposure to the price return of the Reference Asset via a basket of Flex Options. As a result, the ETFs are not expected to move directly in line with the Reference Asset during the interim period.

Investors purchasing shares after an outcome period has begun may experience very different results than funds' investment objective. Initial outcome periods are approximately 1-year beginning on the funds' inception date. Following the initial outcome period, each subsequent outcome period will begin on the first day of the month the fund was incepted. After the conclusion of an outcome period, another will begin.

Fund shareholders are subject to an upside return cap (the "Cap") that represents the maximum percentage return an investor can achieve from an investment in the funds' for the Outcome Period, before fees and expenses. If the Outcome Period has begun and the Fund has increased in value to a level near to the Cap, an investor purchasing at that price has little or no ability to achieve gains but remains vulnerable to downside risks. Additionally, the Cap may rise or fall from one Outcome Period to the next. The Cap, and the Fund's position relative to it, should be considered before investing in the Fund. The Funds' website,, provides important Fund information as well information relating to the potential outcomes of an investment in a Fund on a daily basis.

The Funds with buffer mechanisms only seek to provide shareholders that hold shares for the entire Outcome Period with their respective buffer level against Reference Asset losses during the Outcome Period. You will bear all Reference Asset losses exceeding 9, 15 or 30%. Depending upon market conditions at the time of purchase, a shareholder that purchases shares after the Outcome Period has begun may also lose their entire investment. For instance, if the Outcome Period has begun and the Fund has decreased in value beyond the pre-determined buffer, an investor purchasing shares at that price may not benefit from the buffer. Similarly, if the Outcome Period has begun and the Fund has increased in value, an investor purchasing shares at that price may not benefit from the buffer until the Fund's value has decreased to its value at the commencement of the Outcome Period.


Cboe Global Markets, Inc., and its affiliates do not recommend or make any representation as to possible Benefits from any securities, futures or investments, or third-party products or services. Cboe Global Markets, Inc., is not affiliated with S&P DJI, Milliman, or Innovator Capital Management. Investors should undertake their own due diligence regarding their securities, futures and investment practices.

Cboe Global Markets, Inc., and its affiliates make no warranty, expressed or implied, including, without limitation, any warranties as of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness or timeliness, or as to the results to be obtained by recipients of the products.

*’s editorial team chose the finalists and then the Awards Selection Committee, an independent panel comprised of fifteen of the ETF industry’s leading analysts, consultants and investors, decided the winners.

Innovator ETFs, Defined Outcome ETF, Buffer ETF, Enhanced ETF, Define Your Future, Leading the Defined Outcome ETF Revolution and other service marks and trademarks related to these marks are the exclusive property of Innovator Capital Management, LLC.

The Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses should be considered before investing. The prospectus contains this and other important information, and it may be obtained at Read it carefully before investing.

Innovator ETFs are distributed by Foreside Fund Services, LLC.

Copyright © 2021 Innovator Capital Management, LLC.


1 AUM as of 8.20.2021
AUM as of 8.20.2021
3 All AUM and net flow figures and number of funds as of 8.20.2021
4 AUM in all Innovator Defined Outcome ETFs as of 8.20.2021.
5 ETFs use creation units, which allow for the purchase and sale of assets in the fund collectively. Consequently, ETFs usually generate fewer capital gain distributions overall, which can make them somewhat more tax-efficient than mutual funds.
6 As of 8.20.2021
7 Upon each respective outcome period reset in 2020, all Equity Buffer ETFs™ mentioned will transition from index-based to fund-based options. The U.S. Equity Buffer ETF lineup for September, October, November and December and existing Power Buffer ETFs™ in the October series are yet to convert.
8 Structured notes and structured annuities are financial instruments designed and created to afford investors exposure to an underlying asset through a derivative contract. It is important to note that these ETFs are not structured notes or structured annuities.
9 Defined Outcome ETFs are not backed by the faith and credit of an Issuing institution, so they are not exposed to credit risk.