Welcome back to the SA ETF Update. My goal is to keep Seeking Alpha readers up to date on the ETF universe and to gain some visibility, both for the ETF community, and for me as its editor (so users know who to approach with issues, article ideas, to become a contributor, etc.).
Every weekend, or every other weekend (depending on the reader response and submission volumes), we will highlight fund launches and closures for the week, as well as any news items that could impact ETF investors.
Every time I take a week off from reporting on ETFs I seem to come back to a tidal wave of launches. It is almost like the industry knows I had the flu. Before we dive in, I want highlight an image and quote from the 2015 Investor Brandscape study by Cogent Reports and the press release that followed:
While Millennial and Gen X investors combined represent only 37% of affluent Americans, they comprise a majority (55%) of ETF owners. Nearly four in ten (38%) Millennials and one in five (21%) Gen X investors report owning ETFs, compared to just 14% of 2nd Wave Boomers, 12% of 1st Wave Boomers and 11% of Silent Generation investors.
Clearly ETFs are becoming the norm and will continue to be a product investors will turn to for broad exposure. Sorry Kraus.
Fund launches for the week of November 2nd, 2015
- iShares rolls out 5 currency-hedged alternative ETFs (11/2): Each of the new funds is the currency-hedged alternative to existing popular international ETFs listed by iShares. The iShares Currency Hedged MSCI ACWI Minimum Volatility ETF (BATS:HACV) corresponds with the iShares MSCI All Country World Minimum Volatility ETF (BATS:ACWV); the iShares Currency Hedged MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF (BATS:HEFV) corresponds with the iShares MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF (BATS:EFAV); the iShares Currency Hedged MSCI EM Minimum Volatility ETF (BATS:HEMV) corresponds with the iShares MSCI EM Minimum Volatility ETF (BATS:EEMV); the iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Europe Small-Cap ETF (BATS:HEUS) corresponds with the iShares MSCI Europe Small-Cap ETF (NASDAQ:IEUS); and the iShares Currency Hedged MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility ETF (BATS:HEUV) corresponds with the iShares MSCI Europe Minimum Volatility ETF (NYSEARCA:EUMV).
- Factor Advisors and BlueStar launch an Israeli tech ETF (11/3): The BlueStar TA-BIGITech Israel Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:ITEQ) tracks in index of technology companies that call Israel home. These holdings include IT Hardware & Software, Cybersecurity, Big Data, Clean & Renewable Energy, Sustainable Agriculture, Defense & Security and Biotechnology. The fund's three top components are Amdocs Ltd. (NASDAQ:DOX), Check Point Software (NASDAQ:CHKP) and Mobileye NV (NYSE:MBLY).
- First Trust launches the first active convertible securities ETF (11/4): The First Trust SSI Strategic Convertible Securities ETF (NASDAQ:FCVT) is an actively managed fund that uses fundamental and quantitative analysis to select convertible securities to invest in. There are two existing convertible securities ETFs that FCVT will have to compete with for market share, but both are passive funds: the SPDR Barclays Convertible Securities ETF (NYSEARCA:CWB) and the iShares Convertible Bond ETF (BATS:ICVT).
- PowerShares rolls out 2 low beta equal weight ETFs (11/4): Both funds track indexes that include exposure to companies with lower beta than the average beta of their respective parent benchmarks. The PowerShares Russell 1000 Low Beta Equal Weight Portfolio (NASDAQ:USLB) includes household names like Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV), Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL). The PowerShares FTSE International Low Beta Equal Weight Portfolio's (NASDAQ:IDLB) current top holdings are the NAVER Corp, KEPCO Engineering & Construction Co and Nokian Renkaat OYJ.
Fund launches for the week of November 9th, 2015
- AlphaClone launches its 2nd ETF (11/10): After launching the AlphaClone Alternative Alpha ETF (BATS:ALFA) in the spring of 2012, the issuer has finally come out with a second fund. The AlphaClone International ETF (NYSEARCA:ALFI) tracks the performance of international companies to which hedge funds and institutional investors have disclosed significant exposure through American Depository Receipts (ADRs). Top holdings include Baidu (NASDAQ:BIDU), Gunar Cayman IS LTD and Teva Pharmaceuticals (NYSE:TEVA).
- Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) launches its 3rd ETF (11/10): The Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta International Equity ETF (NYSEARCA:GSIE) is the firm's first ex-U.S. listing in 2015 and will track an index of stocks in the MSCI World ex USA Index on the well-established attributes of value, momentum, quality, and low volatility. The aims of these attributes are to identify stocks with high potential, growth, consistency, and stability; all the things a growing portfolio needs.
- Northern Trust's (NASDAQ:NTRS) FlexShares launches 2 currency-hedged alternative ETFs (11/10): The FlexShares Currency Hedged Morningstar DM ex-US Factor Tilt Index Fund (NYSEARCA:TLDH) and the FlexShares Currency Hedged Morningstar EM Factor Tilt Index Fund (NYSEARCA:TLEH) will mostly invest in the FlexShares Morningstar Developed Markets ex-US Factor Tilt Index Fund (NYSEARCA:TLTD) and the FlexShares Morningstar Emerging Markets Factor Tilt Index Fund (NYSEARCA:TLTE), respectively. However, each fund will save a segment of their holdings for hedging currencies and decreasing the effect currency movements might have on the funds.
- WisdomTree (NASDAQ:WETF) rolls out a dividend focused global smallcap ETF (11/12): The Global SmallCap Dividend Fund (NYSE:GSD) seeks to provide exposure to dividend-paying, small-capitalization companies in the U.S., developed and emerging markets. According to a press release "small-caps are a compelling asset class because they are typically the most sensitive to incremental changes in economic growth expectations-particularly in the region or country, in which they're located. GSD offers investors the opportunity to access a broad cross-section of global small-cap, dividend-paying companies with the potential to capture a higher level of income."
- iShares launches the international edition of AGG (11/12): The iShares Core Total U.S. Bond Market ETF (NYSEARCA:AGG) launched in 2003 and has close to $29 billion in assets under management, now iShares hopes investors are hoping an international alternative can do just as well. The iShares Core International Aggregate Bond ETF (BATS:IAGG) seeks to track the investment results of an index composed of global non-U.S. dollar denominated investment-grade bonds that mitigates exposure to fluctuations between the value of the component currencies and the U.S. dollar.
- First Trust launches an actively managed real estate market ETF (11/12): The First Trust Heitman Global Prime Real Estate ETF (NYSEARCA:PRME) will invest in companies that have strong real estate operations in key cities both domestic and abroad. Holdings may include REITs, real estate operating companies and other real estate-focused companies, with regional teams selecting "high conviction" portfolios.
Fund closures for the weeks of November 2nd and 9th, 2015
Have any other questions on ETFs or ETNs? Please comment below and I will try to clear things up.
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