The ETF industry has been growing for more than two decades, as exchange traded products have cracked the investing space wide open. With nearly $3 trillion in total global assets, it is clear that these vehicles are here to stay. To better educate our audience, we offer 101 ETF fun facts that many investors probably are not aware of. To share a fun fact, simply click the “Tweet this!” caption next to the phrase.
1. If investors took the $158 billion out of SPY (0.0945% ER) and put it into VOO (0.05%), they’d save $70 million annually in management fees (Tweet this!).
2. During an average trading day, about 5,000 shares of SPY trade hands each second (Tweet this!).
3. For a brief time in 2011, GLD was the largest US ETF by assets. GLD now has $34 billion, compared to $162 billion for SPY (Tweet this!).
4. There are 3 ETFs that have positive returns in each of the last 6 years: iShares 1-3 Year Credit Bond (CSJ), Barclays Short Term Municipal Bond ETF (SHM), and Vanguard Short Term Bond ETF (BSV) (Tweet this!).
5. The best performing ETF in 2008 was UltraShort Semiconductors (SSG), which gained 111% (Tweet this!).
6. The biggest one day gain for the Daily Gold Miners Bear 3x (DUST) is 29%, on April 15, 2013. The biggest 1-day loss was 27%, on September 18 of that year (Tweet this!).
7. In August 2011, TVIX had two separate sessions where it was up at least 40% (August 4 and August 18) (Tweet this!).
8. QQQ owns about 10 million shares of AAPL, or about 0.1% of the total outstanding (Tweet this!).
9. In 2008, investors could purchase the Metabolic-Endocrine Disorders ETF (HHM), Dermatology & Wound Care ETF (HRW) and Autoimmune-Inflammation ETF (HHA). Seriously (Tweet this!).
10. The smallest country, in terms of GDP, with a dedicated US-listed ETF is Vietnam (Tweet this!).
11. The largest country, in terms of GDP, without a dedicated US-listed ETF is Saudi Arabia (19th largest economy) (Tweet this!).
12. The smallest country, in terms of population, with a dedicated US-listed ETF is New Zealand (ENZL, 4.5 million people) (Tweet this!).
13. The largest country, in terms of population, without a dedicated US-listed ETF is Pakistan (6th largest population with 186 million people) (Tweet this!).
14. Since launching in 1993, SPY has had 2,857 “up” sessions, 2,423 “down” sessions and 65 unchanged sessions (Tweet this!).
15. The largest holding of the Belgium ETF (EWK) is Anheuser-Busch Inbev, at 22% of assets. In 2013, InBev generated 89% of its EBITDA from North, Latin, and South America (Tweet this!).
16. Since it launched in January 2009, the VIX ETN (VXX) has lost 99.3% of its value (Tweet this!).
17. Since 2010, more than 250 ETFs have closed (Tweet this!).
18. Since launching in 1993, SPY is up approximately 527% (Tweet this!).
19. In the 5 years after March 6, 2009, the Daily Technology Bull 3x (TECL) was up 1,452%. A $10,000 investment would have turned into about $155,200 (Tweet this!).
20. There are about 177 stocks that are in both the S&P 500 Value (IVE) and Growth (IVW) ETFs (Tweet this!).
21. SPY, RSP, and RWL all hold the exact same 500 stocks. In 2013, they were up 32.3%, 35.5%, and 37.9%, respectively (Tweet this!).
22. Taiwan has a higher per capita GDP than Portugal and higher literacy rate than Spain. It is one of the largest allocations in emerging market ETFs: about 14% of VWO and 12% of EEM (Tweet this!).
23. South Korea represents 15% of EEM and 0% of VWO (Tweet this!).
24. The average holding period for SPY is about a week (Tweet this!).
25. The average holding period for the S&P 500 VIX Short Term Futures ETN (VXX) is about 4.5 hours (Tweet this!).
26. The average holding period for the 2050 Target Retirement Date ETF (TZY) is about 3 weeks (Tweet this!).
27. GLD and IAU are taxed as collectibles, at a rate of 28% (Tweet this!).
28. There are more than 370 ETFs that can be traded commission free (Tweet this!).
29. The largest non-precious metals, non-oil/gas single commodity ETF is CORN, with $125 million in assets (Tweet this!).
30. Williams Sonoma (WSM), Tempur Sealy (TPX), Bet Bath & Beyond (BBBY), Whirlpool (WHR), and Home Depot (HD) are components of the Homebuilders ETF (XHB) (Tweet this!).
31. About 45% of the Vanguard Small Cap ETF (VB) is in mid cap stocks (according to the Morningstar classification) (Tweet this!).
32. The Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG) has a 30-Day SEC yield of 2.1%, compared to 2.0% for the S&P 500 ETF (VOO) (Tweet this!).
33. The largest holding of the Spain ETF (EWP) is Banco Santander. In 2013, Santander generated about 7% of its profit from Spain (23% from Brazil, and 10% from the U.S.) (Tweet this!).
34. Since its launch in March 2012, the PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND, +12.1%) has outperformed its mutual fund counterpart (PTTRX, +6.3%) (Tweet this!).
35. Since December ’98 launch: XLE +366%, XLB +207%, XLY +202%, XLV +186%, XLI +181%, XLU +122%, XLP +115%, XLK +30%, XLF +27% (Tweet this!).
36. The “deepest” equity ETF is Vanguard’s Total International Stock ETF (VXUS) with about 5,500 components (Tweet this!).
37. The Harvard Endowment lists 18 ETFs among its holdings in regulatory filings, including GLD, MDY, HYG, EWM, and EWY (Tweet this!).
38. About 850 ETFs, or 55% of total, have less than $100 million in assets. Of those, 335 ETFs have less than $10 million in assets (Tweet this!).
39. The ticker symbol ETF is associated with the Aberdeen Emerging Markets Smaller Company Opportunities Fund (Tweet this!).
40. The most profitable ETF is EEM, which generates about $195 million in annual management fees (Tweet this!).
41. Lehman Brothers launched 3 ETNs in 2008, 7 months before they went bankrupt (Tweet this!).
42. In a 2012 study, 42.5% of advisors said they don’t use ETFs simply because they don’t know enough about them (Tweet this!).
43. Since 2008, RSP has outperformed SPY in every year except for 2011 (Tweet this!).
44. On 5/6/2010 (the Flash Crash), SPY had a range of $105 to $117 (Tweet this!).
45. ETFs make up about 13% of total equity market daily trading volume (Tweet this!).
46. The total assets under management for Currency ETFs is around $3.87 billion, which is quite paltry compared to the size of the FOREX market, which trades $4 trillion daily (Tweet this!).
47. WisdomTree’s CEO, Jonathan Steinberg, is married to FOX’s financial journalist Maria Bartiromo (Tweet this!).
48. WisdomTree is the only “pure-play” ETF issuer that is publicly traded under the ticker WETF (Tweet this!).
49. The most expensive ETF per-share is BXUC at $269.95 (Tweet this!).
50. The cheapest ETF per-share is CVOL at $2.67 (Tweet this!).
51. The smallest ETF in terms of AUM is DFVL at $466,300 (Tweet this!).
52. One of the secrets to Vanguard’s ultra-low expense fees is that shareholders receive 100% of revenues from their securities-lending business after other fees are paid out (Tweet this!).
53. SPY is structured as a UIT, not an ETF (Tweet this!).
54. iShares issues the most ETFs on the market with 305 total funds (Tweet this!).
55. Only ETFs that invest in futures contracts will issue K-1s (Tweet this!).
56. QQQ used to have the ticker QQQQ (Tweet this!).
57. Just 65 out of 545 ETFs had a positive return in 2008 (Tweet this!).
58. UUP has not had a positive annual return since 2008, once QE began (Tweet this!).
59. The most ETFs launched in one year was 310 in 2011 (Tweet this!).
60. It would take the assets of the 9 largest ETFs to equal the market cap of AAPL (Tweet this!).
61. ETFs can split and reverse split their shares in the same manner as stocks (Tweet this!).
62. IVV invests in the S&P 500, but unlike SPY, reinvests its dividends in itself before paying them out (Tweet this!).
63. Soybeans and and Wheat are tracked exclusively by one ETF each: SOYB and WEAT (Tweet this!).
64. ETNs will never incur tracking error, but they are at the credit risk of their issuer (Tweet this!).
65. It took over two years from the time of SPY’s launch for a second ETF to hit the market (Tweet this!).
66. Globally, there are over 5,000 ETPs from over 200 providers across 59 exchanges (Tweet this!).
67. The global ETF market totals over $2.9 trillion in AUM; U.S.-listed securities make up over 70% of that figure (Tweet this!).
68. The most ETFs closed in one year was 102 in 2012 (Tweet this!).
69. Ray Dalio’s prolific hedge fund, Bridgewater, manages $150 billion for clients worldwide; by comparison, the largest hedge fund ETF, the IQ Hedge Multi-Strategy Tracker (QAI), manages under $700 million (Tweet this!).
70. Of the 1,586 ETPs currently on the market, passive-based funds account for 95% of the products; there are only 79 actively-managed ETFs in total (Tweet this!).
71. There are 140 Inverse ETFs for Bearish traders – 49 are -1x Short, 55 are -2x Short, and 36 are -3x Short (Tweet this!).
72. The average expense ratio for actively-managed ETFs is right around 0.79%; the average for passive ETFs is 0.57% (Tweet this!).
73. Of the 1,586 ETPs currently on the market, roughly one-third of all funds are focused on U.S. equities (Tweet this!).
74. Of the 1,000 Equity ETFs on the market, only 116 of them, or just over 10%, are focused exclusively on small caps (Tweet this!).
75. Of the 1,586 ETPs currently on the market, only 119, or just over 10%, have at least a 10-year track record (Tweet this!).
76. Between its first full year of trading in 1994, and 2013, SPY has turned in 16 positive annual performances and lost ground in four years (Tweet this!).
77. SPY has gained as much as 19.4% and lost as much as 19.8% over the course of 5 trading sessions (Tweet this!).
78. Between its first full year of trading in 2005, and 2013, GLD has endured only a single negative annual return and it was in 2013 (Tweet this!).
79. The product of each ETF’s asset and expense ratio is about $5 billion (in other words, total industry revenue) (Tweet this!).
80. In 2013, the PowerShares Golden Dragon China ETF (PGJ) was up about 60%. FXI, the largest China ETF, was down 2% that year (Tweet this!).
81. The entire holdings of GLD (worth about $34 billion) would fit in a 4x4x4 box (Tweet this!).
82. EEH once went 49 consecutive sessions without trading a share (December 2012 to February 2013) (Tweet this!).
83. The ETF with the largest allocation to FB is SOCL, at about 12% of assets (Tweet this!).
84. About 56% of the holdings of FXI, the largest China ETF, are banks (Tweet this!).
85. Other terms abbreviated ETF include Early Termination Fees, Employee Trust Funds, and Escape the Fate (Tweet this!).
86. In 2013, hedged Japan (DXJ) was up about 41%. Unhedged (EWJ) was up 26% (Tweet this!).
87. Goldman’s Emerging Markets Mutual Fund (GEMCX) charges a 2.47% ER. Since May 2005, it’s lagged VWO (0.15%) by 40% (Tweet this!).
88. Ben Stein has publicly touted ETFs as some of his favorite investment tools (Tweet this!).
89. Europe’s ETF industry makes up roughly 18% of global ETF assets (Tweet this!).
90. The “father of ETFs,” Nathan “Nate” Most, was 73 when he conceived of exchange-traded funds. He began his career trading safflower seeds and coconut oil futures (Tweet this!).
91. In 1993, when SPY made its debut, Ben Bernanke was a Princeton professor, Steve Jobs was working at NeXT, George Soros had just broken the pound, and Mark Zuckerburg was in 3rd grade (Tweet this!).
92. For a brief period of time, investors could buy a Texas (TXF) and Oklahoma (OOK) ETF. Though the funds closed, investors can still invest in Nashville (NASH) (Tweet this!).
93. Believe it or not, investors used to have several “religiously-driven” ETF options. The lineup included Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Christian, and Baptist Value ETFs (Tweet this!).
94. The ETF with the highest expense ratio is the Sugar Fund (CANE) at 2.32% (Tweet this!).
95. The ETF with the cheapest expense ratio is the Treasury Floating Rate Bond ETF (TFLO) – it charges 0% (Tweet this!).
96. Of all the ETFdb equity types, investors can find the most options in Energy ETFs (there are 66 of them) (Tweet this!).
97. There are over 120 2x leveraged ETFs, and nearly 85 3x ETFs (Tweet this!).
98. From 2009 to 2010, the S&P 500 VIX Futures ETN (VXX) was the worst performing ETF in every quarter except for two (Tweet this!).
99. The most heavily traded Currency ETF is the DB USD Index Bullish ETF (UUP). It also happens to be the largest currency ETF with over $670 M in AUM (Tweet this!).
100. When the PIMCO Total Return ETF (BOND) launched in 2012, it amassed more than $3.8 billion during the year. In 2013, the fund saw net outflows of over $112 million (Tweet this!).
101. Every time an advisor converts from a pricey mutual fund to an ETF, a puppy gets to play with a tennis ball (Tweet this!).
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Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.