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ETF Report: What’s New Through 2012?

The first half of 2012 saw the debut of some interesting ETFs

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This next ETF is the first and only fund to date from ArrowShares, a small firm based in Olney, Maryland. The Arrow Dow Jones Global Yield ETF (NYSE:GYLD) seeks to replicate the performance of the Dow Jones Global Composite Yield Index. The index itself is equally weighted across five sub-indexes with a 20% allocation to global sovereign debt, global corporate debt, global alternative assets, global real estate and global equity.

Those five are then equally weighted with 30 holdings each for a total of 150. The index is rebalanced quarterly and is equally weighted to avoid over-exposure to individual securities. The index’s premise is to identify the 150 highest yielding investable securities in the world. Targeting a 7.43% yield, the portfolio managers have started the right type of fund in a yield-starved world.

Unfortunately, the fund is so small that its odds of survival are slim at best. It’s too bad because even though it charges 0.75%, it brings something new to the ETF table.

This next ETF is from the smallest company in the billion-dollar club — firms with assets of more than $1 billion as of the end of May. On June 4, Global X brought out the Global X Top Guru Holdings Index ETF (NYSE:GURU), which seeks to replicate the returns of the Top Guru Holdings Index.

The index was created by Frankfurt-based Structured Solutions AG. The company takes the highest conviction stock ideas of approximately 50 hedge fund managers in the U.S. and then invests an equal weight among all 50 stocks. It’s rebalanced quarterly to keep up with changes in the hedge fund manager’s holdings. Unlike the typical 2/20 hedge fund fee structure, Global X charges just 0.75%.

I’m surprised there aren’t more funds structured around the hedge fund business. It seems on a daily basis I’m reading about one or more guru’s and their holdings. It’s about time somebody did something about the investor fascination with hedge funds.

Lastly, I’m interested in a fund brought out on June 29 by ALPS Holdings, a Denver-based company that caters to the advisor community. Using a hybrid of third-party and internal investment solutions, it’s able to provide advisers and their investors with funds that stand out from the rest of the advisor community. ALPS’ most recent ETF is the ALPS Sector Dividend Dogs ETF (NYSE:SDOG), which applies the “Dogs of the Dow Theory” on a sector-by-sector basis to the S&P 500.

The underlying index — the S-Network Sector Dividend Dogs Index — invests an equal amount in the five highest yielding stocks from all 10 sectors of the S&P 500 using the data from the last business day in November. The ETF will be reconstituted annually and rebalanced quarterly. The current yield of the underlying index is 4.97%, more than double the S&P 500. At an expense ratio of 0.4%, it’s a very tempting investment.

Overall, the first half of 2012 has been an interesting six months. It started out fast and furious but by March had lost all momentum until June when things picked up again. I expect product introductions to be steady in the second half with some consolidation of the firms outside the billion-dollar club. My hunch is that Northern Trust (NASDAQ:NTRS) will be a buyer sometime in the near future, and it wouldn’t surprise me if Global X was the target.

Don’t quote me on that — it’s just a hunch.

As of this writing, Will Ashworth did not own a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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