The Abyss of ETF Oblivion
By Ron DeLegge, Editor
June 10, 2008
SAN DIEGO (ETFguide.com) Ė Welcome to the abyss of ETF oblivion.
Itís an unfriendly place where exchange-traded funds (ETFs) with marginable assets, minimal trading volume, and zero interest from investors reside. Think of it as a sort of country club of failed ETFs.
Ameristock Treasury ETFs have become the latest members of the abyss too. Not enough people invested in them, so Ameristockís management took a clue from the Ford Edsel and halted production.
In February the same thing happened to Claymore Securities. The company pulled the plug on 11 underachieving ETFs.
For anybody that thought the ETF business was just about press releases, cute slogans, and flashy new product launches, youíre wrong.
Fund providers are finally getting smart.
Who needs funds that follow indexes or investment strategies that nobody cares about?
And whatís the point of managing asset starved ETFs that canít be supported with product education or marketing dollars?
Sometimes, innovation has to yield to reality. Just ask John DeLorean.
Low expense ratios are good for investors, but bad for fund companies. Itís one of the enduring truths of any asset management business.
For this reason, the ETF business is probably one of the last places enterprising companies and entrepreneurs intent on hitting the jackpot should be exploring.
A hedge fund with $10 million under management can still generate $200,000 in fees plus 20 percent of any recorded profits. In contrast, a $10 million ETF that charges an annual expense ratio of 0.75 percent only generates $75,000 in fees with no performance bonuses. And if the fund has to pay licensing fees to an index provider, fee income is further reduced.
Maybe this explains one of the reasons why mutual fund behemoths like Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price have mostly avoided the ETF marketplace.
Which ETFs are next to join the abyss of oblivion?
Clearly, itís the funds with inconsistent trading volume and subterranean asset levels.
Hereís a short list of funds that look vulnerable:
--AdelanteShares RE Growth ETF (AGV)
--AdelanteShares RE Yield Plus ETF (ATY)
--Claymore/Morningstar Info Super Sector (MZN)
--Claymore/Zacks Mid Cap Core ETF (CZA)
--FocusShares ISE Revere Wal-Mart Supplier (WSI)
--HealthShares GI/Gender ETF (HHU)
--HealthShares Metobolic Endocrine Disorders ETF (HHM)
--HealthShares Patient Care Services ETF (HHB)
--PowerShares FTSE RAFI Consumer Services (PRFS)
--NYSE Arca Tech 100 (NXT)
While itís hard to estimate the tolerance level of fund providers who are committed to managing obsolete ETFs, hereís the not so mathematical formula to remember:
Anemic ETF assets plus no trading volume, equals oblivion.
Put another way, zero plus zero equals zero.
Or as Napoleon Bonaparte said, ďGlory is fleeting, but oblivion is forever.Ē
Top 5 Most Popular Articles: