WisdomTree Files For Two Hedged Foreign Funds

March 18, 2009

The new ETFs plan to hedge against the U.S. dollar's swings by investing in futures contracts of foreign currencies. 

 

WisdomTree Investments has filed requests to open two new international exchange-traded funds, both of which would use currency hedging strategies.

The WisdomTree DEFA Hedged Fund and the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Hedged Fund would invest in similar fashion as current index-based ETFs offered by the company.

But each adds a different twist. The proposed ETFs plan to hedge each portfolio's long-only exposure to equities by using different currencies. According to the filings, the process in each fund will be rules-based and tied to specially created benchmarks from WisdomTree.

Company officials declined on Wednesday to comment other than to verify the filing, which is dated March 16. According to the prospectuses of both, they'll each come with an expense ratio of 0.63%. 

Here's how it would work.

Much like the current WisdomTree DEFA (NYSE: DWM), the new WisdomTree DEFA Hedged version would invest in developed markets outside the U.S. and Canada. It would include companies that have paid at least $5 million in cash dividends on common stock shares annually. The underlying index, much like DWM's, would weight individual names by regular cash dividend rates. 

The WisdomTree Emerging Markets Hedged Fund would resemble the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund (NYSE: DEM). But the current ETF only includes the top 30% in terms of dividend-generating stocks. It would seem to include more of a high-yielding component in its screening processes than the proposed hedged version. 

Here's the extra wrinkle of the new ETFs. Included in their indexes are the published one-month currency forward rates to the total equity exposure of each country. The rates will be taken from data compiled by WM/Reuters and applied as a means to adjust the value of each currency against the U.S. dollar. 

The aim is to produce higher returns than noncurrency hedged funds when the greenback is on the rise. On the flip side, when the dollar is dropping relative to other currencies represented in each portfolio's mix of countries represented by different stocks, the fund probably won't do as well. 

You can read the prospectus for both funds here.

 

 

 

 

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