ETF Industry Roundup: More New Fund Ideas

by on July 21, 2010

So much for a summer slowdown. The ETF industry has continued to zip along at a breakneck pace, as recent weeks have seen a slew of new product launches. And all indications are that the impressive pace will continue for the foreseeable future; the new product pipeline continues to fill with intriguing ideas and never-before-seen ETF structures. Below, we highlight some of the more interesting filings to hit the SEC’s desk in recent weeks:

Another Active ETF Contender

The last year has seen a number of prominent mutual fund firms lay the groundwork for a run into the active ETF space. Add Alliance Bernstein to a list that already includes Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price, among several others [see Handicapping The Active ETF Race]. The firm filed this week for exemptive relief to offer actively managed ETFs, setting the stage for Alliance to wade into the ETF waters perhaps sometime in 2011. The SEC filing was light on details; Alliance provided a broad outline to roll out quant-based funds offering exposure to domestic and international equities, as well as fixed income securities.

Dreyfus Broadens The Scope

Dreyfus, which had previously thrown its hat into the active ETF ring, is now making plans to launch traditional index-based funds as well. In a recent SEC filing, the firm outlined plans to “establish certain index-based market-basket investment products intended to be made available to both institutional and retail investors.” The filing shed a little light on just what Dreyfus has in mind; the underlying index will be “an index of global equity securities, selected pursuant to the proprietary methodology” of an index provider.

Dreyfus won’t be completely new to the ETF game; the firm partners with WisdomTree on a suite of actively-managed currency ETFs.

More Target Date Bond ETFs

First Trust, the Chicagoland-based firm best known for its enhanced AlphaDEX ETFs, recently filed with the SEC details on a suite of target maturity date bond ETFs. If First Trust moves ahead with these funds, it would be following in the footsteps of iShares and Claymore. Earlier this year, iShares became the first ETF issuer to offer bond funds with a target end date, rolling out a line of funds focusing on muni bonds maturing in a specific year. Claymore recently launched its BulletShares product line, a series of corporate bond ETFs targeting securities maturing in 2011 through 2017.

The proposed First Trust funds would compete with BulletShares, offering targeted exposure to investment grade fixed income securities. The SEC filing specifically mentioned the First Trust 2020 Target Term Corporate Bond Fund, which would “provide steady income from coupon payments and return of principal at its target term date, currently expected to be set at December 31, 2020″ [see more on the BulletShares products].

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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.