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3 Surprising A+ ETFs

by on August 16, 2012 | Updated August 27, 2012

Cost-efficiency  and ease-of-use remain dominant themes in the ETF industry as investors of all walks have found themselves using this product wrapper. Everyone from active traders to buy-and-hold investors has embraced the exchange-traded product structure as the preferred vehicle when it comes to tapping into virtually any asset class. As with any financial instrument, however, with innovation also comes complexity; as a result, sorting through the growing lineup of over 1,400 ETPs can be an intimidating task for novice and seasoned investors alike [see also How To Pick The Right ETF Every Time].

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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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Van Eck introduced the Market Vectors CEF Municipal Income ETF (XMPT) on Wednesday, giving investors another option for accessing a corner of the U.S. bond market that has been the subject of heated debate in recent weeks. The new ETF will seek to replicate the S-Network Municipal Bond Closed End Fund Index, a benchmark that […]

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As investors have become more comfortable with the idea of achieving fixed income exposure through the exchange-traded structure, bond ETF assets have skyrocketed and the number of funds has increased rapidly. For those in higher tax brackets, municipal bonds have always been a popular option, as the tax-exempt feature of the interest payment boosts the […]

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Tuesday marks the first day of trading for the PIMCO Short Term Municipal Bond Strategy Fund (SMMU), the third actively-managed ETF from the Newport Beach, California-based bond fund giant. 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 […]

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The reasons for the rise of the ETF industry are numerous: intraday liquidity, (potentially) superior tax efficiency, and enhanced transparency relative to traditional actively-managed mutual funds have all contributed to the billions of dollars of inflows that these funds have seen in recent years. But the real attraction for most ETF investors is the reduced […]

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Allstate Corp., the largest publicly-traded insurer of homes and automobiles in the U.S., announced this week that it is making some major shifts in its investment portfolio that now exceeds $100 billion. The Northbrook, Illinois-based company announced that it is reducing its exposure to commercial real estate and municipal bonds in favor of corporate debt.

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