AdvisorShares Plans Actively Managed Buy-Write ETF

Includes: BWV, PBP, VEGA
by: Tom Lydon

Investors interested in hedging against a bearish turn or high market volatility may have another tool at their disposal next Tuesday, when AdvisorShares launches an actively managed exchange traded fund that utilizes the buy-write strategy.

According to a press release, the AdvisorShares STAR Global Buy-Write ETF (NYSEARCA:VEGA) will begin trading on September 18. VEGA has a 2.01% expense ratio.

The ETF, which is subadvised by Partnervest Advisory Services, will use "buy-write" or "covered calls" options on its global exposure. The manager writes, or sells, a call option on each position.

The buy-write, or covered call, strategy utilizes call options on a position to generate income from option premiums. An investor would sell a call option above the current price of a security. If the price of the security is below the option upon the expiry date, the investor would pocket the difference. The buy-write helps provide a cushion from the downside.

"We seek to perform in all market conditions by utilizing a disciplined process designed to harness the benefits that volatility offers," James Herrell, CFA, Chief Investment Officer and Portfolio Manager of VEGA, said in the release. "These include providing alternative income sources and the ability to repair a portfolio when it needs it most. In doing so, we strive to realize option premium income during volatility while adding protective put options when volatility is low."

Currently, investors may take a look at the passively managed option, Powershares S&P 500 BuyWrite Portfolio ETF (NYSEARCA:PBP), which has an expense ratio of 0.75% and a 12-month yield of 10.1%.

Additionally, investors may look at the iPath CBOE S&P 500 BuyWrite Index ETN (NYSEARCA:BWV). Investors, though, should note that this is an exchange traded note, which is an unsecured debt obligation subject to the credit worthiness of the issuing bank.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

Disclosure: I am long PBP. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.