Growth and evolution have been recurring themes in the exchange-traded universe in 2012, as investors are now faced with a diverse product lineup of over 1,400 ETPs. More than 160 of those are new additions in 2012. And while many of the new ETFs that launched in 2012 are on the small side, some of these funds have come flying out of the gates to attract significant cash inflows [for more ETF news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Through December 18, ten ETFs that debuted in 2012 had accumulated at least $100 million in assets, an impressive total that illustrates the tremendous growth potential remaining in a market some believed was approaching its saturation point:
1. Total Return ETF (BOND)
Perhaps the most highly anticipated fund of the year, legendary bond king Bill Gross did not disappoint investors with his exchange-traded version of PIMCO’s Total Return mutual fund. BOND currently boasts over $3.8 billion in total assets and an average daily trading volume of nearly 520,000 shares.
2. SPDR Barclays Capital Short Term High Yield Bond ETF (SJNK)
This new fund seeks to give investors exposure to short-term publicly issued U.S dollar-denominated high yield corporate bonds. In other words, it allows investors to capture a meaningful yield through exposure to credit risk, while minimizing interest rate risk. Since inception in March, the fund has accumulated over $570 million in assets and its shares exchange hands nearly 300,000 times a day.
3. Aaa-A Rated Corporate Bond Fund (QLTA)
As iShares continued to expand its suite of exchange-traded products this year, investors were introduced to QLTA, a surprising front runner and potential competitor to LQD in the corporate bond space. The fund was the first product to focus on securities with a specific credit rating. As the name suggests, the underlying index consists of stocks rates Aaa – A based on the median rating assigned by the three primary ratings agencies.
4. MSCI Global Select Metals & Mining Producers Fund (PICK)
This new metals and mining fund puts an international twist on one of the most popular commodity producer industries, allowing investors to gain exposure to some of the top companies in both developed and emerging markets. PICK has already accumulated a quarter of the assets of its biggest competitor, XME. And though the fund is slightly more expensive, investors may be further swayed by the number of individual holdings, which total more than 7x the number of XME’s holdings [see Commodity Guru ETFdb Portfolio].
5. Market Vectors International High Yield Bond ETF (IHY)
Since inception in April, IHY has held a somewhat obvious appeal, as it is a a potential source of attractive current returns. With yields on domestic investment grade debt at record lows, many investors are looking overseas or towards lower quality debt to beef up returns. IHY combines both of those elements in a single ticker, holding below investment grade debt from international issuers. Thus far, the fund has been able to accumulate nearly $204 million in total assets [see 101 High Yield ETFs For Every Dividend Investor].
6. Emerging Markets high Yield Bond Fund (EMHY)
EMHY became the first ETF to focus specifically on junk bonds from emerging markets issuers, joining a number of existing products that cast slightly wider nets. As such, those investors willing to stomach the risk quickly embraced this unique offering; EMHY boasts a portfolio worth over $197 million and its shares trade nearly 65,000 times a day.
7. Barclays U.S. Treasury Bond Fund (GOVT)
GOVT, which launched in March, offers investors broad-based exposure to U.S. Treasuries with varying maturities. Differing from other fixed income products, GOVT focuses exclusively on Treasuries and shies away from agency and corporate bonds. Though its objective is relatively simple, the fund has managed to gain some significant traction; currently GOVT has assets totaling over $143 million.
8. Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG)
Out of iShare’s launch of its “Core Series” of ETFs this year, IEMG has by far become the most successful. The fund, which offers exposure to a wide range of emerging market economies, is designed to be a building block for the original ETF audience: investors building a long-term, buy-and-hold portfolio [Download How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].
9. North American Energy Infrastructure Fund (EMLP)
This fund marked First Trust’s first actively-managed ETF, offering exposure to U.S. and Canadian energy infrastructure companies. EMLP invests energy MLPs, utilities, Canadian income securities and REITs, all of which have a history of both stellar distributions and meaningful growth in dividends.
10. Global Advantage Inflation-Linked Bond Strategy Fund (ILB)
Yet another successful launch from PIMCO, ILB taps into a corner of the fixed income market that has generated significant interest in recent years: TIPS. The actively-managed fund employs a unique strategy that allows investors to gain exposure to inflation-protected bonds that are economically tied to at least three developed and emerging market countries. Since inception, the fund has accumulated over $105 million in total assets.
Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.