Nasdaq OMX Group, the parent company behind the first electronic stock market and a well-established index provider, is about to become one of the largest dividend-focused index providers in the market, with an agreement to acquire Mergent Inc.’s index business, including Indxis.
Mergent is the firm behind the Dividend Achievers Indexes, the same roster of dividend-focused benchmarks underlying ETFs such as the $14 billion Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (NYSEArca: VIG), as well as a number of Invesco PowerShares funds including the $285 million PowerShares Dividend Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PFM) and the $722.7 million PowerShares International Dividend Achievers Portfolio (NYSEArca: PID).
Terms weren’t disclosed, but Nasdaq noted in a press release that the transaction will be a nonmaterial event. The deal is likely to be closed sometime during the fourth quarter.
All in all, some 19 strategies with more than $16 billion are currently tied to Mergent ‘s dividend-focused indexes, a Nasdaq representative told IndexUniverse. The deal would boost Nasdaq index-linked ETF assets under management by 30 percent, according to exchange estimates.
Nasdaq’s move will make it one of the largest dividend-themed index providers in the market, at a time when the pursuit of yield is getting a lot of attention. Many fund providers have rushed to design exchange-traded products that cater to growing investor appetite for income-generating strategies at a time of compressed yields in more traditional fixed-income products.
The Federal Reserve’s recent decision to pump more money into the economy and keep interest rates near zero at least through 2015 ensured that demand for alternative sources of income—such as dividend-paying stocks—will likely remain high.
“As the investment landscape continues to evolve, we see the increased need for indexes to provide rules-based and transparent benchmarks for dividend- and income-themed investments,” Nasdaq’s Executive Vice President John Jacobs said in a press release.
Mergent has been following companies with solid dividend track records since the late 1970s.
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