ETF Death Toll Climbs to 113: On Pace to Set Another Record for Closures in 2009

by: Ron Rowland

May 18 was the last trading day for 19 ETFs from PowerShares. If you did not sell your shares by the deadline, you now get to experience the ETF liquidation process first-hand. Final distribution amounts will be determined at today’s close. However, PowerShares stated on May 1 that the funds would begin selling individual securities immediately, so the holdings may no longer resemble the indexes they previously tracked.

These closures bring the lifetime death toll for exchange-traded products to 113, consisting of 100 ETFs, 11 ETNs, and two MacroShares. There have been 45 closures so far in 2009, and the current pace is on target to set another annual record. Our last update was in February after the closure of the 17 NETS brand ETFs. Since that time, we have also seen the delisting of all six SPA ETFs and three ETNs from Elements.

The average lifespan of the 113 closed products is 16 months and the median is just 12 months. The shortest-lived product was NETS FTSE-CNBC Global 300 Index Fund (MYG), which lasted less than three months. The oldest ETF to be closed so far is PowerShares High Growth Rate Dividend Achievers Portfolio (PHJ), which lived to the ripe old age of 44 months.