Global X Drafts Social Media ETF

July 22, 2011

Is Global X’s plan to hatch a social media ETF shrewd, or just plain insane?

Global X, the New York-based fund provider focused largely on commodity and emerging markets, filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch the first-to-market ETF focused on social media, recalling ultra-specific smart phone and cloud computing ETF strategies rolled out by First Trust.

The Global X Social Media Index ETF will be based on the Solactive Social Media Index, created by Germany-based Structured Solutions AG. The ETF will invest in securities from companies involved with social networking, file sharing and other Web-based media applications, the filing said.

The new ETF would add another wrinkle to the growing world of finely themed ETFs linked to the Internet, which included First Trust’s Dow Jones Internet Fund (NYSEArca: FDN), which has gathered nearly $725 million in assets and is now the firm’s biggest fund.

More recently, First Trust has rolled out a smart phone fund (NasdaqGM: FONE), as well as the First Trust Cloud Computing ETF (Nasdaq: SKYY), which has already gathered more than $48 million in assets. UBS also rolled out two ETNs this week that focus on Internet IPOs.

The Inner Workings

Global X said in the filing that social media companies are highly dependent on Internet companies, and are closely related to the technology sector. They also are often smaller, less experienced and are doing business in a rapidly changing environment, the filing said.

“Social media companies face risks related to the technology industry,” the company said in the filing about some of the fund’s main risks. “Technology company stocks, particularly those involved with the Internet, have experienced extreme price and volume fluctuations that often have been unrelated to their operating performance.”

The Solactive index underlying the ETF is a free-float market-capitalization-weighted index that screens for liquidity. While much of the ETF’s portfolio will consist of ADRs and GDRs, as much as 20 percent of the pie could be allocated to derivative instruments such as futures, options and swap contracts, the filing said.

Global X is behind other one-of-a-kind niche funds that include a farming ETF, a fishing ETF and a waste management ETF, to name a few. The company had $1.73 billion of assets across its various ETFs as of July 21, according to data compiled by IndexUniverse.

Global X didn’t name the proposed fund’s trading symbol or its annual expense ratio.


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