ETF Watch: Not Much Vanilla In May Launches

May 26, 2017

Perhaps after 24-plus years since the launch of the first ETF, the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY), and some 2,000 ETFs later, the traditional vanilla beta space is pretty well covered.

Now, entrants into the ETF market tend to be more novel, often more complex, and unique in exposure and methodologies. They are also, often, surprisingly cheap, as fee compression remains a strong theme in this industry.

We are living in the ETF era of smart-beta thinking, of some active management growth, and of innovation in segments such as commodities and fixed income.

Issuers bring to market every year anywhere from 200 to 300 ETFs. Below are May's launches:


Fund Ticker Exchange
Cambria Core Equity ETF CCOR NYSE Arca
ClearBridge Dividend Strategy ESG ETF  YLDE Nasdaq
ClearBridge Large Cap Growth ESG ETF LRGE Nasdaq
GraniteShares Bloomberg Commodity Broad Strategy No K-1 ETF  COMB NYSE Arca
GraniteShares S&P GSCI Commodity Broad Strategy No K-1 ETF  COMG  NYSE Arca
JPMorgan Ultra-Short Income ETF  JPST Bats
WisdomTree Barclays Yield Enhanced U.S. Short-Term Aggregate Bond Fund SHAG Bats
IQ Chaikin U.S. Small Cap ETF CSML Nasdaq
Hartford Multifactor Low Volatility US Equity ETF  LVUS Bats
Hartford Multifactor Low Volatility International Equity ETF  LVIN Bats
Principal Active Global Dividend Income ETF GDVD Bats
ClearBridge All Cap Growth ETF CACG Nasdaq
Direxion Daily MSCI Mexico Bull 3X Shares MEXX NYSE Arca
Direxion Daily Utilities Bull 3X Shares  UTSL NYSE Arca
Direxion Daily Industrials Bull 3X Shares  DUSL NYSE Arca
Direxion Daily Transportation Bull 3X Shares  TPOR NYSE Arca
Direxion Daily Aerospace & Defense Bull 3X Shares DFEN NYSE Arca
Alpha Architect Value Momentum Trend ETF  VMOT Bats
VelocityShares 1x Long VSTOXX Futures ETN  EVIX Bats
VelocityShares 1x Daily Inverse VSTOXX Futures ETN EXIV Bats


Competing With Active On Price

Among the newcomers is CCOR, the newest launch, which is a fund that sets out to compete not with other ETFs but with active mutual funds and hedge funds for a cheaper price tag.

CCOR offers exposure to high-quality equities with an options overlay that looks to manage downside protection. It’s actively managed, and it had one of the largest seeds this year, at about $90 million.

Active management has gained several ETFs this month. Beyond CCOR, GraniteShares’ commodity ETFs are also active, and they came to market with some of the lowest expense ratios in the commodities space—0.25%.

J.P. Morgan’s JPST is also active, and looks to go head-to-head with some strong competition in the short-term bond market in the PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active ETF (MINT) and the iShares Short Maturity Bond ETF (NEAR). ClearBridge’s CACG is an actively managed total market equity ETF that looks to capture growth names based on bottom-up research.


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