Tag Archives: BGI

Amid Turmoil, ETF Firms Bring Out New Funds

Well it seems that even amid the turmoil in the broader market and the closing of funds in the ETF industry, new funds are launched every week. Over the previous two weeks, we’ve seen a new airline ETF from Claymore Securities, State Street Global Advisors and BGI both launching two new bond ETFs and Barclays Bank launching two new exchange-traded notes.

This week, Van Eck Global’s ETF family, the Market Vectors, launched two funds. The Market Vectors High-Yield Municipal Index ETF (HYD) launched today on the NYSE Arca, following on the heels of Tuesday’s launched, the Market Vectors Pre-Refunded Municipal Index ETF (PRB) with an expense ratio of 0.24%

HYD will track the Barclays Capital Municipal Custom High Yield Composite Index. This high yield index is a market-size weighted index comprised of publicly traded municipal bonds covering the high-yield long-term tax-exempt bond market.

Van Eck says PRB is the nation’s first ETF to focus on the pre-refunded segment of the municipal bond market and will track the Barclays Capital Municipal Pre-Refunded—Treasury-Escrowed Index. This market-size weighted index holds publicly traded tax-exempt municipal bonds. The unique part about it is the index is comprised of “pre-refunded and/or escrowed-to-maturity bonds.” Heather Bell of Index Universe describes the bonds this way: “Say a city issues $100 million worth of bonds to fund a water facilities project. A few years ago, the deal came to market with interest payments to investors of 6%. But now, with interest rates for 30-year triple-A munis hovering around 5%, the city decides to cut its costs. So it reissues more bonds at the lower rates covering the exact same project. The municipality then takes the proceeds from that second issue and buys similar-termed Treasuries. Since most munis have call features prior to maturity, the Treasuries are put in an escrow account to fully fund the interest and principal of the munis on their first call dates.”

I will address the new ETNs in a later posting.

Walking a Very Thin Line

They say it’s a fine line between brilliant and stupid. State Street Global Investors stepped out onto that tightwire with the launch of two new bond ETFs on Tuesday.

The SPDR Barclays Capital Mortgage Backed Bond ETF (MBG) and the SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term International Treasury Bond ETF (BWZ) both launched on the NYSE Arca on Tuesday. The SPDR Barclays Capital Mortgage Backed Bond tracks the mortgage pass-through sector of the U.S. investment grade bond market. SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term International Treasury Bond ETF seeks to provide the return of an index that measures the short-term (1-3 year) fixed rate, investment grade debt issued by foreign governments of investment grade countries.

The most interesting facet of these ETFs is that they carry the name of its prime competitor, Barclays. Late last year, Barclays bought the Lehman Brothers Bond Indexes division after that investment bank declared bankruptcy in September. This blog wondered if SSGA would actually put the name of its competitor into its ETFs when it tracked a former Lehman index. Well, the answer is yes.

Even funnier, is the fact that they are going head-to-head with similar bond funds out of Barclays Global Investors iShares division. Just last week, BGI launched the iShares S&P/Citigroup 1-3 Year International Treasury Bond Fund (ISHG) on the Nasdaq. Heather Bell of Index Universe breaks down the minor differences between the two. The iShares Barclays MBS Bond Fund (MBB) launched in 2007. The big difference here is the SPDR fund charges only 0.2% vs. the MBB’s 0.36%.

The question now is, is this a stupid or brilliant move? On the one hand, why would anyone give free publicity to a competitor if they didn’t have to? There are plenty of ETFs that don’t have the name of the index in the name of the corresponding ETF. However, I’m leaning toward brilliant.

As the creator of the first ETF, the Standard & Poor’s Depositary Receipts, which has been renamed the SPDR (Spider or Spyder, which is a play on its ticker symbol, SPY), SSGA has a well-respected reputation in the ETF space. Recently SSGA renamed its entire ETF family the SPDRs.

However, BGI became the market leader when it launched its iShares brand in 2000, and hasn’t let go since. SSGA is currently the second largest ETF firm in terms of assets. By launching ETFs with the SPDR Barclays name, there is bound to be confusion among investors. I’m sure there will be a sizeable number of people who buy the new SPDR bond funds assuming they were created by Barclays Global Investors. While SSGA has done a good job branding the SPDRs with the recent campaign for the Select Sector SPDRs, I’m sure there are still many people who don’t realize SPDRs and Barclays are two different companies and will by the SPDR funds with the assumption they are getting a Barclays product.

This becomes more than just inside baseball. In November, this blog reported that in the third quarter, BGI’s market share had fallen to 47.3% of the market from 50.9% in the second quarter, while SSGA’s market share grew to 26.5% from 23%. In addition, SSGA’s third-quarter cash inflows were the largest in the industry, at $41.8 billion, with $28.6 billion going solely into the SPDR (SPY) vs. iShares’ cash inflows of $23.9 billion.

Obviously, State Street is nowhere near grabbing the market leader position, still, this should get very interesting.

BGI Launches International Bond Funds; RevenueShares Tries Navellier Strategy

Three new ETFs launched on Friday, two international bond ETFs from Barclays Global Investors (BGI) and an RevenueShares fund based on a strategy from mutual fund maven Louis Navellier.

RevenueShares Investor Services launched the RevenueShares Navellier Overall A-100 Fund (RWV) on the New York Stock Exchange ARCA. Less than a year old, RevenueShares is the most recent entrant in the ETF space for Fundamental Indexing. Proponents of the concept of fundamental indexing believe indexes based on fundamental metrics produce better returns than indexes based on market capitalization, such as the S&P 500. In a dig at WisdomTree, the fundamental house that builds indexes based on dividends, Sean O’Hara, president of RevenueShares, tells ETF Trends, while dividends can be adjusted, revenues are the one variable that can’t be fudged. Well, they can’t be fudged unless the company decides to do a little technique called stuffing the channel. In channel stuffing a company books sales from the future in the current quarter. But, that’s highly frowned upon, so it doesn’t happen much, so I won’t dwell on it.

Anyway, they take that revenues-based index and mix it with a quantitative methodology from Navellier’s firm Navellier & Associates. The strategy seeks to beat the benchmark indexes with what they call alpha generating growth strategies. Alpha is that bit of return that a manager’s skill adds to the fund’s returns. ETF Trends says “The fund is constructed using an 8-factor model to give stocks a letter grade. From there, the top 100 A-rated stocks are included and ranked by revenue annually on Sept. 1, and rebalanced on the first day of each calendar quarter.”

Also on Friday, BGI launched two new ETFs on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

iShares S&P/Citigroup International Treasury Fund (IGOV)
iShares S&P/Citigroup 1-3 Year International Treasury Bond Fund (ISHG)

They both charge and expense ratio of 0.35%. These are the first two iShares ETFs to list on NASDAQ in 2009, compared to eight listings in 2008 and five in 2007. Nasdaq says it’s the most liquid U.S. market for ETFs, capturing 34.8% of all U.S. ETF volume in December.

ETFguide says with only four broadly diversified international bond ETFs (including these two) and one emerging markets bond ETF these are the least populated areas in the U.S. ETF market. With 8.22 years as the average weighted maturity for the bonds, IGOV is the long-term option. ETFguide breaks down IGOV three largest country allocations: Japan (24.95%), Germany (9.28%), and Italy (8.74%). The bonds in the short-term ISHG have an average weighted maturity of 1.87 years and with the largest country allocations in Japan (24.95%), Germany (10.95%), and Italy (7.99%).

Stepping on the brakes

Much like other structured products that came of age during the past decade, the market crash of 2008 was the first serious test of how exchange-traded funds would react in a bear market. But while the surge in issuance has continued in Europe and Asia, growth rates in the US have slowed.

The exchange-traded funds (ETFs) industry outside the US has surged this year, with 253 funds launched by the end of September, a 69% increase on the same period last year and a figure that is already 27% bigger than all ETF issuance in 2007. During the two months to September 30 – one of the worst periods in recent stock market history – 83 ETFs were launched bringing the total to 1,499 funds on 43 exchanges worldwide, while assets under management hit $764.08 billion. Barclays Global Investors expects this figure …

This was originally published in Structured Products. For the full article click here.

ETFs See Cash Inflows Even as Asset Values Fall

ETFs and ETNs continue to see net cash inflows even as total assets under management fall. The conclusion is this is a function of just falling asset values.

According to the National Stock Exchange (NSX), at the end of November, total U.S. listed ETF and ETN assets fell 16.8% to $487.6 billion from $585.8 billion in November 2007. However, net cash inflows for the month were $26.4 billion, bringing the total net cash flow for the 11 months through Nov. 30 to $136.8 billion. In November, 315 ETFs saw net cash inflows, while 179 saw outflows. ETNs split at 16 each.

Notional trading volume in both ETFs and ETNs fell 33% in November from October to $2.2 trillion. Surprisingly, this represents a record 43% of all U.S. equity trading volume, up from 38% in October. That just shows how much total equity volume must have fallen off. At the end of November 2008, the number of listed products totaled 843, compared with 650 listed products one year ago and 806 in October.
According to the NSX, the only ETF firms that saw assets grow are State Street Global Advisers, ProShares, Van Eck and

Ameristock/Victoria Bay. All those firms saw net cash inflows for the year through Nov. 30 increase compared with the first 11 months of 2007. Vanguard did as well. ProShares’s assets under management rocketed 112% to $20.9 billion. SSGA’s assets grew 8.3% to $142.9 billion. This really shouldn’t be a surprise. ProShares sponsors the inverse and leveraged ETFs that have proved hugely popular in the market turmoil. SSGA sells the largest, most liquid ETF, the SPDR (SPY), which tracks the S&P 500. Many investors making a flight to safety or seeking a place to hold cash on a temporary basis will move to the S&P 500. Even as the S&P 500 sinks, the SPDR’s 2008 net cash inflows have surged 86% year-over-year through Nov. 30 to $18.23 billion.

Meanwhile, BGI’s iShares saw assets tumbled 29% to $229.3 billion.

Firms with net cash outflows in November included PowerShares, $309 million, and Merrill Lynch’s HOLDRs, which saw redemptions of $889 million. Surprisingly, the HOLDRs saw net cash outflows of $3.6 billion in 2007, but are up $1.2 billion so far this year. Other firms that experienced outflows in November were WisdomTree, FirstTrust, and SPA-ETF. Firms with net outflows year-to-date include Bank of New York, Rydex, X-Shares, Ziegler, FocusShares and BearStearns. The last two have gone out of business this year. Rydex is suffering as the strengthening dollar hurts its CurrencyShares.

As for ETNs, Barclay’s iPath family saw assets plunge 36% to $2.6 billion. In November, iPath saw outflows of $39 million. Morgan Stanley/Van Eck ETNs recorded outflows of $16 million in November. Meanwhile, Goldman Sach’s ETNs net cash outflows grew to $97 million year-to-date. Comparisons are not relevant for many of the other ETN firms as they had few funds, if any, last year.

Among the top ten ETFs and ETNs, the SPDR (SPY), iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (EFA), SPDR Equity Gold (GLD), iShares S&P 500 Index Fund (IVV), iShares Russell 1000 Growth Index Fund (IWF) and iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (IWM) all saw net cash inflows in November, according the NSX. Of the 10 largest funds, these saw outflows last month: iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (EEM), PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ), iShares Barclays Aggregate Bond Fund (AGG) and the Dow Diamonds (DIA).

The NYSE Group also releases volume data for its exchanges. Average daily matched volume for ETFs, or the total number of shares of ETFs executed on the entire NYSE Group’s exchanges surged 93.5% to 672 million shares from 347 million shares in November 2007. Total matched volume for the month totaled 12,765 million shares, a 75.1% increase. Total volume year-to-date through Nov. 30 jumped 74.7% from the same period last year to 102,583 million shares.

Handled volume, which represents the total number of shares of equity securities and ETFs internally matched on the NYSE Group’s exchanges or routed to and executed at an external market center, totaled 14,813 million shares last month, a 77.6% surge over the year-ago month. Average daily handled volume rocketed 96.3% to 780 million shares from 397 million shares a year ago. Year-to-date total volume climbed 78.1% to 117,629 million shares.

The NYSE also reported total ETF consolidated volume for the month leapt 92.1% to 45,151 million shares, while total average daily volume soared 112.3% to 2,376 million shares. Year-to-date, total consolidated ETF volume surged 119.4% over the first 11 months of 2007 to 355,133 million shares. I think those refer just to the NYSE Group.

Only 2 iShares Pay Capital Gains in 2008

Barclays Global Investors (BGI) just announced that out of its iShares family of 178 ETFs, only two are paying out capital gains this year.

The iShares Cohen & Steers Realty Majors Index (ICF) expects to pay out long-term capital gains in the range of 35 cents to 45 cents per share. That’s 0.74% to 0.94% of the net asset value. There are no short-term capital gains.

The iShares Lehman Short Treasury Bond ETF (SHV) will pay out a short-term capital gain of 0.74 cents per shares. This is payable on Friday, Dec. 5.

This highlights one of the key benefits ETFs hold over mutual funds — greater tax efficiency. This comes about because of the ETF’s structure. Every time a mutual fund buys or sells a security, it creates a taxable event. ETFs don’t purchase or sell the stock in their portfolio, specialists and brokers that are registered as authorized participants do. I will delve into this in more detail later.
According to Tom Roseen of Lipper, “in 2007, approximately 3% of the market value of actively managed mutual funds was paid out via capital gains.” BGI says last year iShares paid out less than 0.02% of the market value of the iShares ETFs.

iShares Market Share Falls to 47% as SPDR Pulls in $28.6 billion in Assets

Morgan Stanley provides some of the best ETF research on all of Wall Street. Analysts Paul Mazzilli and Dominic Maister have been covering the industry for years. In light of the recent market turmoil and negative effects it has had on the ETF industry, as well as the rest of the economy, it’s worth perusing Morgan’s ETF report on the third quarter. All the data in this entry is from Morgan Stanley’s Nov. 14 report ETF Net Cash Inflows and Listings Growth Continues.

There are currently 724 ETFs or exchange-traded products trading in the U.S. This number does not include exchange-traded notes (ETNs). Currently, 408 ETFs provide exposure to the U.S. equity market; 224 provide exposure to international and global equity markets.

There are 56 ETFs that offer fixed-income exposure. They track indices for U.S. Treasury and agency bonds, investment grade debt, mortgage-backed securities, high-yield bonds, preferred stock, national and single state municipal bonds and foreign sovereign and emerging market debt.

There are 36 exchange-traded products (ETPs) that provide exposure to alternative asset classes including commodities and currencies. Three commodity ETPs hold physical gold or silver, while 15 other ETPs utilize futures for exposure to individual or baskets of commodities. There are 18 currency ETPs that invest in foreign time deposits, short-term securities or currency futures. Commodity and currency ETPs are not ETFs because strictly speaking they are not funds registered under the U.S. Investment Company Act of 1940.

Barclays Global Investors (BGI) family of ETFs, the iShares, remains the market leader with 164 U.S.-listed ETFs and $208 billion in assets under management. The company holds 47.3% of the market, down from 50.9% last quarter. The firm saw net cash inflows of $23.9 billion this quarter, the second highest in the industry.

With 80 ETFs and $116 billion in assets in the U.S., State Street Global Advisors, which runs the SPDR family, is the second largest ETF provider. It has a market share of 26.5% up from 23% in the second quarter. State Street garnered the most net cash inflows this past quarter with $41.8 billion, with $28.6 billion of that going into the SPDR (SPY). SSGA launched 10 new funds during the quarter.

I will list the rest in terms of size as measured by assets under management.

3) Vanguard is the third largest with 38 U.S.-listed ETFs and $35.8 billion in assets. That equals an 8.1% share. In the third quarter Vanguard had $5.5 billion in net cash inflows, but no new funds.

4) PowerShares Capital Management has 123 U.S.-listed ETFs with $21.4 billion in assets, or a 4.9% share. Net cash inflows equaled $4.6 billion; with $4.3 billion going into the PowerShares QQQ (QQQQ). PowerShares launched 8 new funds this past quarter. PowerShares active ETFs in April have not yet generated significant investor interest.

5) ProShares has 64 U.S.-listed ETFs with more than $19 billion in assets, or a 4.4% market share. Following a strong first half of the year, last quarter ProShares saw net cash outflows of $0.7 billion, largely from their leveraged funds that provide minus 200% daily returns.

6) World Gold Trust Services is the sixth largest ETF provider with only one ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD). That has $17.5 billion in assets and is the fourth largest US-listed ETF. GLD had net inflows this past quarter of $3.2 billion and has had the fourth largest net inflows of any ETF this year.

7) Even though HOLDRs are not funds, Morgan calls Merrill Lynch the seventh largest ETF provider. HOLDRs are grantor trusts with different tax structures than ETFs. Merrill’s 17 HOLDRs have assets of $4.5 billion and had net inflows of $2.9 billion this past quarter. Surprisingly, several HOLDRs continue to represent the largest or most liquid ETF-type product by which investors can access a given industry. HOLDRs haven’t released a new product since 2001,

8 ) Rydex Investments has 0.9% market share with 39 U.S.-listed ETFs and $4.1 billion in assets. It experienced net cash outflows of $0.6 billion this quarter, primarily because of its CurrencyShares Euro Trust, which tracks the performance of the euro versus the US dollar.

9) DB (Deutsche Bank) Commodity Services has 11 U.S.-listed ETFs with $3.5 billion in assets, or a 0.8% share. It saw net outflows of $1.2 billion in the third quarter, with half of that coming out of the PowerShares DB Agriculture Fund (DBA). DBCS did not launch any ETFs this past quarter.

10) WisdomTree Asset Management is the tenth largest ETF provider. It has a 0.7% market share with $3.0 billion in 49 U.S.-listed ETFs. It launched one new ETF last quarter, and the firm saw net cash outflows of $12 million.

11) Van Eck Associates’ Market Vectors family has 16 U.S.-listed ETFs with $2.6 billion in assets, or a 0.6% share. It launched 3 new funds last quarter and saw a total of $34 million in net inflows.

12) United States Commodity Funds (USCF), which products the U.S. Oil (USO) fund, has a market share of 0.4% with five U.S.-listed ETFs with $1.7 billion in assets. It saw net cash inflows in the second quarter of $2.3 billion.

13) First Trust Advisors lists 38 ETFs in the U.S. and holds $1.0 billion in assets, for a 0.2% share. This past quarter, it saw net cash inflows of $0.3 billion.

14) Claymore Advisors has $0.8 billion in assets in 33 U.S.-listed ETFs, for a 0.2% market share. It saw net cash outflows last quarter of $0.2 million.

Morgan says “nine other ETF providers have 38 ETFs combined with assets totaling roughly $319 million. Most of the ETFs issued by these ten firms have yet to gain meaningful traction.”