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How To Fix the Leveraged ETF Mess

by on June 26, 2009 | Updated August 12, 2009

Leveraged ETFs have quickly become the hot-button issue in the ETF industry, dividing investors and observers into two distinct camps. On the one side are sophisticated day traders who believe these funds, which use derivatives and other complex financial instruments to provide amplified daily returns on a target index, are the greatest thing since sliced bread. And on the other are those who accuse these ETFs of being fundamentally dishonest in nature – products that, in the words of legendary investor Jack Bogle, “verge on insanity.” Personally, I fall somewhere in between, believing that leveraged ETFs can be an incredibly powerful tool for sophisticated investors, but acknowledging that there exists the potential for these funds to be used in a detrimental manner by investors unaware of exactly how they function. And while I’m generally inclined to let things be, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this issue will not be going away any time soon unless we address a few key issues. [click to continue…]

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In the week during which the Obama administration will unveil details surrounding its plan to revamp the regulation of the U.S. financial sector, calls for increased oversight of the ETF industry are picking up steam as well. Scott Burns, director of ETF Analysis at Morningstar, recently laid out a case for increased regulatory requirements for ETFs that use derivatives to achieve their objectives. But I’m not quite convinced that more regulation is the answer. [click to continue…]

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Leveraged ETFs are among the most actively-traded securities on any market in the world today, with some turning over several times daily and maintaining average investor holding periods of less than an hour. And their popularity appears to be on the rise, as these funds regularly top the list of monthly ETF inflows released by […]

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