Riding ETF Popularity: Buy ETF and ETN Providers

Nov.29.08 | About: WisdomTree Investments, (WETF)

Somebody forgot to tell the ETF industry about the recession. Suppliers are still growing like gangbusters while just about every other industry is keeling over. Consider this: during September and October in the U.S., “$61 billion found its way into ETFs from retail and institutional investors, while $126 billion was funneled out from traditional mutual funds,” ETF Trends reports. And there are over 545 ETFs and ETNs scheduled for listing on U.S. exchanges as of Nov. 20, IndexUniverse.com reports.

Hmmm, maybe we should look into buying shares in companies that provide ETFs (exchange-traded funds)and ETNs (exchange-traded notes)? Alas, as it turns out, there is only one pure play. It is WisdomTree Investments (WSDT.PK), which specializes in dividend- and revenue-weighted ETFs.

I looked at the company back in October of 2006 (after which it doubled and then fell back by more than three-quarters). Its stock is still listed on the Pink Sheets and so remains speculative and volatile. But last summer, executives held their first ever corporate earnings conference call (for the second quarter ending June 30, 2008) and intend to continue the calls as part of a plan to secure a listing on a higher exchange.

The Q2 results showed a net loss of 8 cents a share, an 18% improvement over Q1. Revenues grew by 15% over the previous quarter and 40% over the same quarter the year before. So the earnings deficit reflects a company in start-up mode, spending aggressively on rolling out new ETFs and marketing. As of June 30 assets under management totaled $5 billion, up 11% from the previous quarter.

Results reported for Q3 (ending Sept. 30) show a 30% lower net loss compared to the previous quarter. Revenue growth was flat while assets under management declined by 14%, largely due to the sell off in stock markets. The company has no debt. For more info, see company filings. For aggressive, risk-tolerant investors, WisdomTree Investment shares might be a long-term buy.