FlexShares, the ETF unit of Chicago-based bank Northern Trust, updated its paperwork for six dividend-focused equities funds it originally put into registration in August, serving up tickers and fees for the proposed ETFs, all of which would be based on in-house indexes designed by Northern Trust itself.
Including tickers and fees in a registration statement often suggest a given fund’s launch could be imminent, and IndexUniverse learned from FlexShares officials that regulators have approved the self-indexing petition the company filed last summer, meaning one meaningful barrier to the fund launches is off the table.
In an immediate sense, having six dividend-focused ETFs in its product lineup will put FlexShares in the middle of one the most popular pockets of the exchange-traded fund industry. Income investors are fretting about the ultra-low bond yields that have prevailed since the crash, and are seeking alternatives, like portfolios chock full of stocks paying healthy dividends.
The launch of these self-indexed dividend ETFs would put FlexShares among a small but growing group of ETF providers that have turned to self-indexing as a way to either offer highly customized strategies or to reduce overall costs.
WisdomTree, IndexIQ and Van Eck are some of the fund issuers that already navigate in that turf, and FlexShares and BlackRock’s iShares, have been trying to get regulatory approval to market funds with so-called affiliated indexes.
The ETFs, as well as their respective tickers and fees, are as follows:
- FlexShares Quality Dividend Index Fund (NYSEArca: QDF), 0.37 percent in annual fees after reimbursement of 0.01 percent
- FlexShares Quality Dividend Dynamic Index Fund (NYSEArca: QDYN), 0.37 percent
- FlexShares Quality Dividend Defensive Index Fund (NYSEArca: QDEF), 0.37 percent.
- FlexShares International Quality Dividend Index Fund (NYSEArca: IQDF), 0.47 percent after reimbursement of 0.01 percent
- FlexShares International Quality Dividend Dynamic Index Fund (NYSEArca: IQDY), 0.47 percent
- FlexShares International Quality Dividend Defensive Index Fund (NYSEArca: IQDE), 0.47 percent.
Dividend-focused equities ETFs have grown in popularity with investors in recent months as a source of income at a time when yields on bonds have been under significant pressure due to the near-zero official rates in place since the market collapse of 2008.
Companies included in the various underlying indexes will be selected based on expected dividend payments as well as fundamental factors such as profitability, solid management and reliable cash flow.
Each fund will target volatility, with the “Quality Dividend” name indicating that volatility of the funds’ holdings will be in line with the index. “Dynamic” and “Defensive” suggest that volatility will be above and below each respective index, the filing said.
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