Van Eck, the fund provider behind the Market Vectors ETFs, is
replacing two third-party indexes used to benchmark its coal and
gaming ETFs with proprietary indexes effective Sept. 24.
The $194 million Market Vectors Coal ETF (NYSEArca:KOL) and the
$58 million Market Vectors Gaming ETF (NYSEArca:BJK) will track
Market Vectors global-in-scope indexes created specifically for the
strategies. The ETFs currently track the Stowe Global Coal Index
and the S-Network Global Gaming Index, respectively.
Van Eck's Germany-based indexing unit launched the benchmarks in
May. Its coal strategy tracks companies that derive revenue from
coal production, mining, storage and transportation-names like
Peabody Energy and China Shenhua Energy-while its in-house gaming
index zooms in on companies linked to casinos and casino hotels,
sports betting, lottery services as well as gaming services and
Many Market Vectors ETFs are already tied to in-house indexes,
and KOL and BJK now fit that bill. New York-based Van Eck, which
has long been known as a fund manager, has also been slowly
expanding its Market Vectors indexing unit and becoming a big
player in the self-indexing ETF provider space.
Apart from Van Eck, ETF firms already involved in self-indexing
include WisdomTree and IndexIQ. Also, a number of firms are seeking
regulatory permission to self-index, perhaps most notably
BlackRock, the parent of the world's biggest ETF firm iShares.
One of the main motivations for self-indexing appears to be
cost-cutting by steering clear of indexing licensing fees, though
some indexing industry sources, such as Steffen Scheuble, head of
Germany-based indexer Structured Solutions AG, question whether it
really is cheaper and more effective than using external
A Growing Trend
Many indexing agreements dating from the earliest days of the
almost-20-year-old ETF industry were based on a
percentage-of-assets basis, which has led those costs to balloon as
the size of funds has grown. But people like Scheuble stress that
index agreements come in all kinds of forms these days, including
Some also worry about the possible ramifications of this trend;
namely, conflicts of interest, index manipulation and lack of
brand-name recognition the large independent index providers, such
as that S&P Dow Jones Indices, MSCI and FTSE bring to the
Still, self-indexing is a trend in the ETF market that is
gaining momentum even if it's raising eyebrows as it gathers steam.
Apart from iShares, other ETF firms looking to enter the world of
self-indexing include Guggenheim Partners as well as FlexShares,
the ETF arm of Midwestern banking powerhouse Northern Trust.
To capture this growing trend, IndexUniverse has run a series of
interviews with some of the key figures in the world of indexing,
including S&P Dow Jones Indices Chief Executive Officer Alex
Maturri and WisdomTree's head Jonathan Steinberg, who take opposing
sides of the argument.
KOL's and BJK's new indexes will not affect ticker or expense
ratios for the funds.
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