Daily ETF Watch: 14 Funds Set To Launch

ALPS to roll out sector-focused smart-beta funds; iShares to expand currency-hedged lineup.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

iShares and ALPS are in the process of making significant additions to their fund lineups, mainly by building out existing families.


iShares Refreshes Lineup
After announcing the closures of 18 funds last week, it looks like iShares will be using that extra bandwidth to roll out 10 more funds that will capitalize on the trend toward currency hedging. The new funds will cover three regions and seven individual countries. The ETF provider already has three currency-hedged regional ETFs and two currency-hedged country funds covering Japan and Germany.


The new funds, as in the case of iShares’ existing currency-hedged lineup, will be able to invest in their unhedged iShares counterparts and apply a currency hedge to achieve their target performance. The ETFs expected to launch, as well as their tickers and expense ratios, are as follows:


ALPS Adds Sector-Focused Smart-Beta Funds
ALPS has a number of sector-focused ETFs, which are among the firm’s most successful products and include funds like the $1.2 billion ALPS Sector Dividend Dogs ETF (SDOG | A-61) and the $144 million ALPS Equal Weight ETF (EQL | C-88). But on July 1, the ETF provider is expected to launch four more ETFs following similar strategies.


The ALPS MSCI EAFE Equal Sector Weighted ETF (IEQL) and the ALPS MSCI Emerging Markets Equal Sector Weighted ETF (EEQL) will both try to re-create the success of EQL, which invests in the nine Select Sector SPDR ETFs on an equal-weighted basis. However, instead of equal-weighting the sectors of the S&P 500, these funds will do the same with the MSCI EAFE and MSCI Emerging Markets indexes.


Interestingly, the most recent filing for the funds only lists 10 sectors, not the 11 sectors that the MSCI classification section includes as of this year. It remains to be seen whether the funds will equal-weight 11 or 10 sectors when they launch.


IEQL comes with an expense ratio of 0.30 percent, while EEQL charges 0.40 percent.


Meanwhile, the ALPS Sector Leaders ETF (SLDR) and the ALPS Sector Low Volatility ETF (SLOW) will provide other sector perspectives on the components of the S&P 500. Using nine GICS sectors, SLDR will target the five stocks with the best growth potential in each sector based on growth and quality screens. All components will be equally weighted.


SLOW will take a similar approach, selecting the five lowest-volatility stocks from each sector and equally weighting them. Both funds will use the same sector classification structure as used for the Select Sector SPDRs, combining the GICS telecom and technology sectors into one and excluding the real estate sector.


Tortoise Pipeline Fund Launches
Montage Managers Trust has rolled out the Tortoise North American Pipeline Fund (TPYP), the first fund to launch under the umbrella of its exemptive relief.


The new fund tracks an index from Tortoise of companies formally classified as energy pipeline firms or that derive more than half of their assets, cash flow or revenue from pipeline operations, according to the prospectus. The securities in the index include common stocks and MLPs as well as other investment vehicles associated with pipeline companies. In March 2015, there were 98 such components in the fund’s underlying index.


Tortoise Index Solutions is listed as TPYP’s adviser. The ETF comes with an expense ratio of 0.70 percent.


Heather Bell is a former managing editor of etf.com. She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.