ETF Launches Kick Off 2018 Strong

Forty new funds launched last month, portending a healthy year for new products.
Reviewed by: Staff
Edited by: Staff

January was an unusually active month for ETF launches, with 40 new products hitting U.S. exchanges. That’s not by any means an all-time record, or even a recent record, given that November 2017 saw 45 launches.

However, it is a pretty stunning start to a year that comes on the heels of year with an exceptional (but again, not record-breaking) number of launches (275, to be exact).

For comparison, consider that 17 funds launched in January 2017, and just 13 during the same month in both 2016 and 2015.

Given that January normally sees nowhere near this level of activity, the results suggest 2018 might be another record-breaking year for ETFs in terms of launches, beating the more than 300 launches that occurred in 2011.

Commodities Binge

The large number of launches was boosted by 17 ETN launches from Barclays, as the issuer introduced its “Series B” products. The rollout included 15 commodity ETNs and two VIX ETNs.

Including the launch of the GraniteShares Platinum Trust (PLTM), the 16 new commodity products in the first month of 2018 outnumbered the total commodity ETF launches (10) in 2018.

There were no closures that completed during the month, which isn’t terribly surprising, given it’s early days for the year. January has featured a handful of fund closures in prior years, but they mostly took place late in the month.

However, there were several announced that will finalize later in the year, including Barclays’ rather earth-shattering disclosure that it would be delisting or closing 50—well over half—of its iPath ETNs.

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