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The ETF industry has been routinely praised for its innovation over the last several years, which is no doubt a contributing factor to the surge in interest and assets. Generally, reference to such innovation relates to the growth in the product lineup, as issuers of all sizes have launched a number of creative, first-to-market products over the past few years that have dramatically opened up the asset classes and investment strategies available through the exchange-traded structures [see also Free Report: How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].

But there are other aspects of the industry that deserve credit for exciting new developments as well. While ETFs are still hard to find in most 401(k) account and other retirement plans, they are now readily accessible in a popular college savings account; a program from State Street allows new parents to use ETFs in a college savings plan for children, through an ETF-focused 529 plan. [click to continue…]

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The year-end periods provides the ETF industry with a couple of opportunities to flex its collective muscle; performance comparisons generally tend to favor those products with lower expense ratios–a defining feature of exchange-traded funds. But early January also puts another benefit of exchange-traded products into focus: enhanced tax efficiency relative to traditional mutual funds. The nuances of the exchange-traded structure have the potential to bring additional tax efficiencies to investors thanks to the availability of an “in kind redemption” that ultimately gives investors more control over the timing of tax obligations. Mutual funds, on the other hand, have a nasty tendency to stick remaining shareholders with tax liabilities incurred as a result of redemptions by others–a development that can obviously be undesirable [see Tax Loss Harvesting With ETFs: 6 Ideas To Lower Client Liabilities].

ETFs won’t allow investors to skip out on their taxes, but this product structure can deliver more control and greater efficiency in this regard. It is important to note, however, that not all ETFs are created equal when it comes to tax efficiency. Certain asset classes are less efficient than others; bond ETFs, for example, should be expected to incur capital gains taxes with some regularity.

Below, we run through the capital gains results for several of the largest ETF issuers, beginning with the market leader: [click to continue…]

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Most investors constructing an equity portfolio using ETFs would segment the asset class into three distinct sections: U.S. equities, emerging markets, and ex-U.S. developed markets. The least exciting of those three is probably the last one, given the dismal performances turned in by Europe and Japan in recent years, as well as the significant obstacles […]

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Last year was a good year for most asset classes, as investor portfolios continued to recover from the recent recession. The difference in performance between many comparable funds was significant, and many of the best performers of 2010 are relatively small funds that maintain considerably smaller asset bases than their more popular competitors. Below, we […]

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Earlier this year, best-selling author Harry Dent , Jr. ventured into the ETF industry, launching the Dent Tactical ETF (DENT) in a move that further blurred the lines between active and passive management. DENT is actively managed by a team of analysts using primarily economic and demographic analysis to determine the overall trend of U.S. […]

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Claymore Securities, the Lisle, Illinois-based financial services firm that offers 35 ETFs covering a variety of sectors and asset classes, announced the effectiveness of changes to its Great Companies Large-Cap Growth Index (XGC). The fund will now be known as the Claymore/BNY Mellon International Small Cap LDRs ETF, and it will track the Bank of […]

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