11 HOLDRs To Be Closed

Last week, we learned that Van Eck was acquiring six of the 17 outstanding HOLDRs:ETF-like products that provide exposure to various sectors and subsectors of the U.S. equity market.

Today, we learn that the remaining 11 funds will likely be shut down.

A prospectus supplement filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this morning for each of the 11 HOLDRs states that “the Initial Depositor believes it is likely that the [remaining HOLDRs] will be terminated during the fourth quarter of 2011 and subsequently liquidated.”

HOLDRS are narrowly focused portfolios created by Merrill Lynch in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They are ETF-like in that they trade on an exchange, but they have a few drawbacks compared with traditional ETFs. For one, their portfolios are static:Once they were created, they could never be changed. If companies merged or firms went bankrupt, the portfolios would simply become more and more concentrated. As a result, products like the Internet Infrastructure HOLDRs (NYSEArca:IIH) narrowed so much that today it holds just seven securities (including a 62 percent weight in one stock, VeriSign). In addition, HOLDRs could only be traded in round lots of 100 shares.

Despite the drawbacks, the products became quite popular, and today have more than $4 billion in assets under management.

On Aug. 12, however, Van Eck Global, the New York-based money management firm, announced a deal whereby it will effectively take over six of the most popular HOLDRs products. Under an agreement between Van Eck and Merrill, the products will transition into true ETFs, but will retain the corresponding HOLDRs’ tickers in an effort to give investors “the opportunity for uninterrupted exposure to target industries,” Van Eck said on its website. The six HOLDRs have a combined $3.65 billion in assets, or almost 90 percent of all assets in Merrill’s 17 existing HOLDRS.

The combined suite of HOLDRs products make up almost $4.2 billion in assets under management, according to IndexUniverse data. The most popular product being closed is the Telecom HOLDRS (NYSEArca:TTH), which has $124 million in assets under management.



Don't forget to check IndexUniverse.com's ETF Data section.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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