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The coming of the new year hasn’t slowed down the rapid pace of the ETF industry, with December showing high levels of activity on the product development front. December saw the debut of a number of first-to-market products as well several new and intriguing investment strategies. ETF issuers did not slow down the pace as a slew of new filings continued to pile in up until the end 2011.

New ETFs

New exchange-traded products that began trading in December include:

  • State Street released its new SPDR Barclays Capital Investment Grade Floating Rate ETF (NYSEARCA:FLRN) earlier this month. This ETF offers exposure to the performance of U.S. dollar-denominated, investment grade floating rate notes.
  • Global X also debuted the first ETF to offer pure play exposure to Greece with its FTSE Greece 20 ETF (NYSEARCA:GREK). The fund seeks to replicate a benchmark that includes 20 of the largest companies that are domiciled in, principally traded in, or whose revenues are derived primarily from Greece.
  • Direxion, one of the largest issuers of leveraged and inverse ETFs, launched a pair of new non-leveraged ETFs: tThe All Cap Insider Sentiment Shares (NYSEARCA:KNOW) and the Large Cap Insider Sentient Shares (INSD). The funds will utilize insider sentiment indicators to achieve exposure to domestic equities.
  • RBS rolled out its Nasdaq-100 Trendpilot ETN (NYSEARCA:TNDQ), making it the newest addition to its family of “Trendpilot” ETPs. The fund offers investors a low maintenance way to implement a trend-following strategy towards the popular tech-heavy stock benchmark.

Coming Soon

In addition to the numerous launches, last month saw a number of different issuers detail plans for proposed exchange-traded products that could debut at some point in 2012.

  • Legg Mason made filings with the SEC to bring to market the company’s first exchange traded offering. The proposed product is an actively managed bond fund that will seek to offer investors current income from U.S. denominated securities.
  • EG Shares made filings for a slew of new emerging market ETFs, including a number of first-to-market product proposals. The detailed plans include several emerging market country-specific and sector-specific products, as well as a handful of dividend focused funds.
  • iShares is planning to add a new commodity offering to its product line up. The proposed ETF will be linked to a liquidity and production-weighted index, which tracks the prices of a diversified group of futures contracts on physical commodities. The industry giant also filed for three active “strategic beta” ETFs, which are aimed at delivering targeted exposure to securities which are deemed to exhibit certain investment characteristics.
  • Russell announced its plans to debut three new dividend-focused funds. The ETFs will offer exposure to high dividend securities of small and large cap companies, as well as international firms.
  • State Street filed for two new international funds that will offer exposure to both developed and emerging markets.
  • ProShares drafted plans for a new “covered bond” fixed income ETF; covered bonds distinguish themselves from traditional debt securities because the bondholders have a senior claim against the cover pool in the event of a default by the issuing financial institution.
  • Newcomer Yorkville is planning to make its debut as the company has taken steps to launch a high-income MLP ETF.

ETF Closings

Though the ETF industry saw a wave of filings and launches, two companies have announced that they will close the doors on some of their ETFs, including three international and two commodity producers funds. Global X also announced that it will liquidate a whole slew of its ETFs.

  • ALPs will be closing the following two commodity producers ETFs: Jefferies | TR/J CRB Global Agriculture Equity Index Fund (NASDAQ:CRBA) and Jefferies | TR/J CRB Global Industrial Metals Equity Index Fund (CRBI).
  • After failing to generate interest from investors, IndexIQ will close three of its international equity funds before the year end: IQ Taiwan Small Cap ETF (TWON), IQ Hong Kong Small Cap ETF (HKK), and IQ Japan Mid Cap ETF (RSUN).

  • Global X announced this month that it will be closing the following 8 ETFs in February of 2012: Russell Emerging Markets Growth ETF (NYSE:EMGX), Russell Emerging Markets Value ETF (NYSE:EMVX), Mexico Small-Cap ETF (MEXS), Oil Equities ETF (NYSE:XOIL), Farming ETF (BARN), Fishing Industry ETF (FISN), Food ETF (EATX), Waste Management ETF (WSTE).

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.

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Source: December ETF Roundup: Launches, Filings, And Closures