Healthshares Debuts Five New ETFs: Are the Funds Too Narrowly Focused?

by: IndexUniverse

HealthShares wasted no time at all in launching its funds onto the New York Stock Exchange [NYSE].  The group, which is planning to launch 20 disease- and region-focused health care funds in the coming months, debuted the first five last week:

HealthShares Cardio Devices (HHE)
HealthShares Diagnostics (HHD)
HealthShares Emerging Cancer (HHJ)
HealthShares Enabling Technologies (HHV)
HealthShares Patient Care Services (HHB)

The funds charge a uniform 75 basis points in annual expenses.

The prospectus is available here

The funds are being launched by Xshares, and iIn each case, they track an underlying index holding between 22 and 25 stocks.  The indexes start as equal-weight indexes, and values are then allowed to fluctuate with market changes; the maximum weight allowed for a single security is 15 percent, and the minimum is 2.5 percent.  When a security hits these limits, its weight in the index is automatically increased or reduced – from 15 percent to 10 percent for large weights, and from 2.5 percent to 5 percent for small weights. More info is available here.

There is a great deal of debate about whether these ETFs are too focused to succeed. HealthShares calls this “vertical investing,” and says that it allows investors to focus exposure to the exact segments of the market they desire; others say that these will have only niche interest, and will never develop the level of liquidity needed to support large-scale investing.