The ETFMG Prime Cyber Security ETF was the first ETF to focus on the cyber security industry. It tracks an index of companies involved in hardware, software and services, classifying the underlying stocks as either infrastructure or service providers. Top holdings include Cisco Systems, Akamai and Qualys,
HACK management fee matches its main competitor, the First Trust NASDAQ CEA Cybersecurity ETF (CIBR), but until recently HACK was the largest player of the two. However, since late 2020, investors have been pulling money out of HACK while CIBR has been picking up assets, in part because of concerns about the reputation of ETF Managers Group, the firm that runs HACK’s day-to-day operations.
ETFMG is facing lawsuits from former business partners alleging theft of management fees from a handful of ETFs, of which HACK is by far the largest. In December 2019, a federal judge ordered ETFMG to pay $80 million to Nasdaq, a former business partner in HACK. So far there’s little indication that the firm’s legal woes have hurt investors in the disputed funds but investors and advisers should be aware of the controversy.
One peculiarity of HACK is that, at times, an unusually large slice of HACK’s assets are invested in cash-like instruments, including VALT, ETFMG’s own short-term debt ETF. In March 2020, VALT was HACK’s biggest holding, accounting for almost 5% of the portfolio, an unusually high (and expensive) cash-like allocation for an equity index fund.