The ETF industry came flying out of the gates in January with more than two dozen new product launches and several more new product filings. Although the pace slowed a bit in February, the ETF universe continues to expand at an impressive rate, keeping 2010 on track to be the most active in the history of the industry.
Highlights from the ETF industry in February include:
- Encouraged by the success of its first two products, PIMCO launched its third actively-managed bond ETF, the Short Term Municipal Bond Strategy Fund (SMMU). The fund is designed for investors seeking tax-exempt income, and consists of a diversified portfolio of short duration, high credit quality bonds that carry interest income exempt from federal tax.
- ProShares launched eight ETFs offering 300% and -300% daily leverage to major stock indexes, including funds focused on the NASDAQ 100, Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P MidCap 400, and Russell 2000.
- GlobalShares, which broke into the ETF industry with the zero-cost emerging markets fund late last year, added a second offering, the FTSE Developed Countries Ex-U.S. Fund (GSD).
- Emerging Global Advisors debuted the first ETF to focus on the infrastructure sector of the Chinese economy, launching the INDXX China Infrastructure Index (CHXX).
- Van Eck brought to market the first ETF to focus exclusively on Egyptian equities, the Egypt Index ETF (EGPT). See this feature for a closer look at the Egypt ETF and the underlying economy.
- In another industry first, PowerShares introduced the Closed End Fund ETF (PCEF), which invests primarily in funds focusing on taxable investment-grade fixed-income securities, high yield fixed income, and equity option writing strategies.
- Credit Suisse burst onto the ETF scene with the Long/Short Liquid Index ETN (CSLS), which is designed to replicate hedge fund strategies by investing in liquid market factors in accordance with an algorithm.
- Following the introduction of the China Infrastructure ETF, Emerging Global Advisors followed up with the Brazil Infrastructure ETF (BRXX) later in the month.
- Direxion launched the first two leveraged ETFs offering 300% and -300% daily exposure to short term Treasuries, the Daily 2-Year Treasury Bull 3x Shares (TWOL) and Daily 2-Year Treasury Bear 3x Shares (TWOZ).
- The Sprott Physical Gold Trust (PHYS) debuted on the NYSE on the final trading day of the month, offering investors a way to invest in gold bullion stored at the Royal Canadian Mint.
In addition to the new products to hit the market, February saw continued growth in the new product pipeline, as ETF issuers filed for approval on a number of exciting products:
- Global X, best known for its sector-specific China ETFs, filed for approval on a line of four mining ETFs, including funds targeting gold miners, silver miners, copper miners, and platinum miners.
- First Trust, best known for its line of AlphaDEX products, filed for approval on a pair of full-blown active ETFs, including funds focused on developed and emerging equity markets.
- Legg Mason became the latest financial services firm to throw its hat into the ETF ring, filing for exemptive relief on a line of actively-managed funds.
There were no ETF closures in February, bringing the net new product launches for the month to 18 and about 30 on the year. For a more in-depth look at ETF industry stats, see this feature. For updates on all new product launches, sign up for our free ETF newsletter.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.