ETF Week: Vanguard’s ESG Debut; IBUY Sequel Filed

Vanguard entered new territory; Amplify planned international version of its blockbuster fund.
Reviewed by: Staff
Edited by: Staff

Vanguard rolling out two socially responsible ETFs this week may have been the biggest news in the ETF space, but that wasn’t the only important development: Amplify has planned a non-U.S. version of its online retail ETF.

Meanwhile, State Street revamped its remaining multifactor country funds as plain-vanilla vehicles, while launching a new addition to that lineup, and a brand-new issuer rolled out a first-to-market short-term reversal strategy in an ETF wrapper. Anfield debuted an unconstrained bond fund, and iShares added another fund to its iBonds family of target-maturity fixed-income ETFs.

Below is a roundup of the key events in the ETF space during the week beginning Sept. 17, 2018:

Vanguard Makes ESG Debut
Earlier in the week, Vanguard entered the socially responsible space for the first time. The Vanguard ESG U.S. Stock ETF (ESGV) and the Vanguard ESG International Stock ETF (VSGX) track domestic and international companies, respectively, that meet certain environmental, social and governance criteria, and true to Vanguard’s track record, their expense ratios are among the lowest relative to their peers. In fact, ESGV is the cheapest in its class, while VSGX is the first global ex-U.S. ESG fund.

Amplify Plans Sequel To IBUY
A recent filing from Amplify ETFs outlines plans for a non-U.S. version of the $560 million first-to-market Amplify Online Retail ETF (IBUY), which is globally oriented. The Amplify International Online Retail ETF (XBUY) will target foreign companies that generate 90% or more of their revenue from online sales.

State Street Recycles Country ETFs
State Street rolled out its multifactor family of country ETFs under the “StrategicFactors” banner in 2014, but the funds never gathered much in the way of assets. After closing several of them, the issuer recently opted to transform the remaining products into plain-vanilla funds targeting the same countries.

The ETFs that once offered multifactor exposure to the United Kingdom, Japan, Canada and Germany now track traditional cap-weighted indexes provided by Solactive as well as having new names, new tickers and expense ratios of 0.14%—less than half of what they were. State Street also opted to roll out a brand-new addition to the family in the form of the SPDR Solactive Hong Kong ETF (ZHOK).

Newcomer Vesper Unveils Short-Term Reversal ETF
Vesper Capital Management launched the first-ever short-term reversal ETF as the week drew to a close. The Vesper U.S. Large Cap Short-Term Reversal Strategy ETF (UTRN) tracks an index that is reconstituted weekly and includes 25 equally weighted securities selected from the components of the S&P 500 Index. The strategy looks to target stocks that may have been overly punished by investors due to bad news or a downturn and that have a high likelihood of rebounding.

Anfield Launches Unconstrained Bond Fund
Anfield Capital launched an actively managed “go anywhere” bond fund earlier in the week. The Anfield Universal Fixed Income ETF (AFIF) is a sister fund to a mutual fund offered by Anfield for the past five years. The two products will be managed as similarly as possible given their differing wrappers, according to Anfield. The issuer says their approach is marked by lower volatility and a bottom-up selection process that relies on fundamentals and favors actual bonds over derivatives.

iShares Adds Target-Maturity ETF
BlackRock’s iShares unit launched another member of its iBonds target-maturity fixed-income lineup. The iShares iBonds Dec 2028 Term Corporate ETF (IBDT) is expected to mature (and cease to trade) on or about Dec. 15, 2028, according to its prospectus.

It tracks a Bloomberg index that covers investment-grade corporate bonds denominated in U.S. dollars. The iBonds family includes 20 ETFs, six that cover municipal bonds and 14 that cover corporate debt. The entire target-maturity lineup has nearly $6 billion in assets under management.

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