The ETF industry is growing by leaps and bounds irrespective of whether the markets are on a bull or bear run. Thanks go largely to unique strategies, creativity, transparency, diversification benefits, enhanced tax competences, low turnover and low cost. In fact, ETFs are now considered as a preferred investment vehicle across the globe over mutual funds and hedge funds.
U.S. ETFs have gathered about $2.2 billion of capital so far in 2016, as per etf.com . Though it is much lower than $59 billion inflows seen in the year-ago period, both existing and new issuers remain active in binging innovative products to the market. About 37 ETFs have been launched in the first quarter, taking the total number of ETFs to 1,863 and total assets to over $2.1 billion.
Below, we highlight four ETFs that have gathered maximum attention from investors and have a huge potential to dominate the market in the coming months.
SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF ( SHE )
Several researches found that companies that have female employees in the top brass have a tendency to outperform the market. As per the latest study from market index provider MSCI , companies with boardrooms featuring "strong female leadership" have generated 36.4% greater return on equity since 2009 than male-dominated companies. A new study by Quantopian, a Boston-based trading platform, has revealed that companies with female CEOs in the Fortune 1000 generated 226% better returns than the S&P 500 over the past 12 years (read: Women Leaders ETFs Head to Head: WIL vs. SHE ).
Given the long history of outperformance, investors have shown their eagerness to add female-centric companies to their portfolio. This is easily depicted by the successful debut of SHE, which has attracted nearly $265 million in assets since its inception on International Women's Day. It is the most popular ETF launch of Q1.
The fund offers exposure to the companies that have managed to recruit and retain women in leadership positions by tracking the SSGA Gender Diversity Index. Holding 140 stocks in its basket, it is moderately concentrated in the top firms with each holding less than 6.6% share. In terms of sector, financials, healthcare, information technology, consumer discretionary, and industrials occupy the top five positions with double-digit exposure each. The fund charges 20 bps in annual fees and trades in solid volume of 310,000 shares a day on average.
PowerShares DWA Tactical Multi-Asset Income Portfolio ( DWIN )
Amid heightened uncertainty and volatility, investors are seeking to employ strategies that could fetch higher returns with lower risk to their portfolio. This has raised the appeal for multi-asset ETFs, which offer huge diversification benefits by investing across different asset classes having low correlations with each other. These products aim to provide a high level of current income with stability and potential for long-term appreciation while they simultaneously avoid the downside risk of specific asset classes (read: Multi-Asset ETFs to Counter Volatility ).
As a result, DWIN has become extremely popular among investors in its first month of debut having amassed $35.5 million in AUM. It is a fund of five funds and tracks the Dorsey Wright Multi-Asset Income Index, which seeks to capitalize on seven different income-producing market segments including corporate bonds, emerging market debt, dividend stocks , MLPs, REITs, and preferred shares based on relative strength and current yield criteria. Currently, each of the five ETFs in the basket accounts for around 20% of the assets, making the portfolio highly diversified. The fund is quite expensive, charging 69 bps in fees and expenses while volume is light at around 40,000 shares (read: Inside PowerShares' New Multi-Asset ETF ).
ETRACS 2xMonthly Leveraged S&P MLP Index ETN Series B ( MLPZ )
This is a leveraged ETN targeting the MLP corner of the broad energy segment. It delivers twice (2x or 200%) the returns of the monthly performance of the S&P MLP Index. Launched on February 8, the note is catching investors' eye amid wild swings in oil prices . This is because most MLPs, which are engaged in the processing and transportation of energy commodities such as natural gas, crude oil, and refined products, are best positioned to withstand the decline in oil prices and be the major beneficiaries of an oil boom in the long term. These have relatively consistent and predictable cash flows, making them safer and less risky than other plays in the broader energy space.
Additionally, the leveraged factor tacked on it is encouraging investors to make big gains on quick turns in oil prices. MLPZ has gathered about $34.9 million in its asset base since its inception but trades in light volume of about 30,000 shares. Expense ratio comes in at 0.95% (read: 16 Highly Traded Leveraged/Inverse ETFs of 2016 ).
ETRACS 2xMonthly Leveraged Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index ETN Series B ( MLPQ )
MLPQ is also a leveraged MLP ETN launching on February 8 and providing two times exposure but tracks the Alerian MLP Infrastructure Index. It saw slightly lower inflows of $34.7 million and even lower average daily volumes than MLPZ. However, it charges lower fees by 10 bps.