And The 2016 Awards Winners Are …

March 30, 2017

Best New International/Global Fixed-Income ETF: Deutsche X-trackers Barclays International Corporate Bond Hedged ETF (IFIX)

Awarded to the most important international or global fixed-income ETF launched in 2016.

Deutsche Asset Management took the ETF fee war to the international bond space in 2016 when the Deutsche X-trackers Barclays International Corporate Bond Hedged ETF (IFIX) came to market in October 2016, with an expense ratio of only 0.30%. That's a cheap price for a portfolio consisting of investment-grade corporate bonds from around the world, denominated in 18 nondollar currencies. The inclusion of a currency hedge—hard to find in international fixed-income ETFs, but absolutely necessary, according to some market participants—was the icing on the cake.

Finalists included:

  • Cambria Sovereign High Yield Bond ETF (SOVB)
  • Janus Short Duration Income ETF (VNLA)
  • RiverFront Dynamic Unconstrained Income ETF (RFUN)
  • SPDR DoubleLine Short Duration Total Return Tactical (STOT)

Best New Commodity ETF: Elkhorn Fundamental Commodity Strategy ETF (RCOM)

Awarded to the most important commodity ETF launched in 2016.

RCOM tracks the 2 1/2-year-old Dow Jones RAFI Commodity Index, a factor-based, broad commodity index, bringing a “smart beta” sensibility to the commodity space. The ETF holds roughly equal weightings in the three main commodity sectors: energy, agriculture and metals. It also considers liquidity, momentum and roll yields to weight individual commodities. RCOM further distinguishes itself by actively managing the fund's collateral via "a short duration portfolio of highly liquid, high quality bonds." As rates increase, that active component could make a notable difference in returns.

Finalists included:

  • Elkhorn Commodity Rotation Strategy ETF (DWAC)
  • iPath Series B S&P GSCI Crude Oil ETF (OILB)
  • ProShares K-1 Free Crude Oil Strategy ETF (OILK)
  • VelocityShares 3x Inverse Crude Oil ETN (DWT)

Best New Alternatives ETF: JPMorgan Diversified Alternatives ETF (JPHF)

Awarded to the most important alternatives ETF launched in 2015.

JPHF is an absolute-return strategy that tactically allocates across any and all asset types to pursue various hedge-fundlike strategies. This actively managed ETF can own anything—such as equity, fixed income, currencies, commodities and derivatives—and do anything from long/short to global macro to mergers arbitrage and the like. The strategy has even been dubbed “the hedge fund killer” in this awards nomination process. There are only 40 alternatives ETFs in the market today designed for absolute returns, but JPHF, which launched last September, is already the eighth-largest fund in this segment. It’s 2016’s most popular new alternatives launch, and it’s also among the cheapest.

Finalists included:

  • First Trust Alternative Absolute Return Strategy (FAAR)
  • ProShares Managed Futures Strategy ETF (FUT)
  • REX VolMAXX Long VIX Weekly Futures Strategy ETF (VMAX)
  • VelocityShares VIX Tail Risk ETN (BSWN)


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