LGBT-Friendly ETF To Close

April 26, 2019

Today is the last day of trading for the Workplace Equality Portfolio ETF (EQLT), a high-concept environmental, social and governance (ESG) fund from ALPS (now owned by SS&C) that tracked global companies according to their support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees.

The fund's benchmark evaluated and selected companies for inclusion based on how LGBT friendly their workplace was, including whether they had published nondiscrimination policies in place, full benefits for same-sex spouses and partners, and health coverage for trans workers. Companies were equal-weighted within the index, which was dominated 91% by U.S. firms.

Though EQLT's recent performance was mixed, over longer time frames, EQLT outperformed our segment benchmark, the MSCI ACWI + Frontier Markets IMI Index. Over a five-year period, the ETF had returned 9.50%, compared with the benchmark's return of 6.84%.

Still, EQLT never quite took off with investors. After more than five years of trading, the ETF closes with only $16.7 million in assets under management.

That's likely due to the fact that EQLT was fairly expensive to own and hard to trade: Its expense ratio was 0.75%, well above the average for ESG ETFs, while its average spread was 0.17%. On average, the fund traded just $343,000 in volume daily.

Contact Lara Crigger at [email protected]

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