Displaying items by tag: ETFs

Friday, 12 April 2024 04:58

BMO Bullish on Structured Outcome ETFs

The ETF market continues to grow and mature by providing new funds for investors to reach their financial goals. BMO Global Asset Management sees more growth in the coming year, driven by more targeted funds that appeal to more sophisticated investors.

It sees the ETF market continuing to evolve and innovate in order to meet the growing demand for more sophisticated products in an ETF wrapper. It sees ETFs becoming the primary way for investors to get exposure to themes, trends, and investment opportunities. Further, there is intense competition among issuers to continue bringing new products onto the market, especially given first-mover advantages.

BMO is particularly bullish on structured outcome ETFs, which were created to help investors manage risk. It believes that investors in equity funds and short-term bond funds are exposed to volatility given the outperformance of megacap, technology stocks over the past year and uncertainty around the Fed’s rate cuts.

Structured outcome ETFs are one way that clients can remain invested while capping downside risk. Among these, buffer ETFs, which use options that protect against downside risk and cap upside potential, are becoming increasingly popular among advisors and investors. Notably, this type of protection was at one time only available to high net worth investors.

Finsum: BMO Asset Management conducted an overview of the ETF industry. It notes the constant innovation in the space, with the latest growth area being structured outcome ETFs, which are particularly useful in terms of reducing portfolio risk.   


Published in Alternatives
Thursday, 04 April 2024 13:11

Active ETF Inflows Reach New Heights in March

In March, inflows into active ETFs reached a new monthly record of $26 billion. It’s somewhat counterintuitive given the strong performance of global equity markets, which tend to favor flows into passive funds. 

For the first quarter, total inflows into active ETFs reached $64 billion, a new quarterly record. YTD, 32% of ETF inflows have been into active ETFs, despite accounting for only 7% of total ETF assets. Based on the current pace, active ETF inflows should exceed $200 billion this year, a more than 50% increase from last year’s record of $130 billion.

A key factor behind the growth of active ETFs is a desire to reduce exposure to mega cap tech stocks, which account for an increasingly large share of popular market-cap, weighted indices. And this has only been exacerbated in Q1, with these stocks tacking on double-digit gains. 

Additionally, there are concerns that financial markets could get choppier given uncertainty around monetary policy and the economy. This is leading many market watchers to believe that we are shifting to a new market environment, which should favor lagging stocks and stock-picking strategies over passively holding indices. According to Noah Damsky of Marina Wealth Advisors, “We think a more active approach is appropriate as we anticipate more choppy markets with upcoming rate cuts by the Fed. We’re making active tilts in our portfolio to laggards such as health care, and over time we anticipate increasing exposure to utilities as rate cuts draw nearer.”

Finsum: Inflows into active ETFs reached new records in March and the first quarter. Active ETFs account for only 7% of total assets. So, it’s impressive and telling that 32% of ETF inflows were into active ETFs in Q1.  

Published in Wealth Management

Broadridge Financial Solutions, a financial technology infrastructure provider, expects total assets in model portfolios to exceed $11 trillion by the end of 2028. This would represent more than a doubling of assets over the next 5 years from $5.1 trillion at the end of last year. This forecast is slightly more optimistic than Blackrock’s prediction that model portfolio assets will reach $10 trillion over the next 5 years.

Model portfolios are increasingly being utilized by financial advisors as the industry shifts to a greater focus on planning and client service vs. investment management. In addition to freeing up valuable time and resources for advisors, research has also shown that they tend to outperform, especially during volatile markets, and lead to greater client satisfaction.

For asset managers, model portfolios are a source of growth for ETFs. Currently, 63% of model portfolio assets are in equities, with 32% in fixed income. ETFs comprised 51% of assets in model portfolios, compared to 26% for mutual funds. According to Andrew Guillette, Broadridge’s VP of Global Insights, “We expect ETFs to continue to take share from mutual funds inside model portfolios, driven primarily by their attributes as low-cost and tax-efficient portfolio-building blocks.”

Finsum: Broadridge Financial is forecasting that model portfolio assets will more than double over the next 5 years. It’s expected to drive growth for various asset managers’ ETFs and help advisors focus on client service and building their practices. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market

Morgan Stanley expanded its ETF lineup with the introduction of the Eaton Vance Total Return Bond ETF (EVTR) and the Eaton Vance Short Duration Municipal Income ETF (EVSM). The bank is joining many of its peers in converting fixed income mutual funds into active fixed income ETFs. 

EVTR focuses on seeking total return through diversified investments in fixed-income securities, including corporate, municipal, U.S. government, and asset-backed securities. EVTR is actively managed and has an expense ratio of 0.32%. Its holdings have an average duration of 6.5 years and an average yield of 4.4%. 

EVSM aims to provide investors with tax-exempt current income by predominantly investing in municipal securities with a short-term focus. The fund has a net expense ratio of 0.19%. The average duration of its holdings is 1.75 years, with an average yield of 4.7%.  

Both funds were originally highly ranked mutual funds, with EVTR's predecessor, MSIFT Core Plus Fixed Income Portfolio, achieving a ten-year track record in the top decile, and EVSM's precursor, the MSIFT Short Duration Municipal Income Portfolio, ranking in the top third of its category over five years.

With these additions, Morgan Stanley now offers 14 ETFs in the U.S. and has more than $1 billion in total assets, despite introducing its first ETF early last year. Like many other asset managers, Morgan Stanley is looking to capitalize on increased demand for ETFs and active fixed-income strategies. 

Finsum: Morgan Stanley is joining many of its peers in converting mutual funds into active ETFs with the launch of the Eaton Vance Total Return Bond ETF and the Eaton Vance Short Duration Municipal Income ETF.

Published in Bonds: Total Market

According to Bloomberg senior ETF analyst Eric Balchunas, there is only a 25% chance that the SEC approves a spot ethereum ETF. He points to the lack of SEC engagement on the topic and the absence of any positive signs or chatter on the subject, which is a departure from the lead-up to bitcoin’s approval. Balchunas believes this lack of engagement is ‘tactical’ rather than ‘procrastination’. 

The crux of the issue is how ethereum should be classified. There are indications that the SEC is leaning towards treating it like a security based on subpoenas to crypto companies that have interacted with the Ethereum Foundation. 

However, there are some dissenting voices who are more optimistic about approval. Craig Salm, Grayscale’s Chief Legal Officer, says the SEC’s reticence is due to most issues already being cleared up during the bitcoin ETF approval process. He believes both ETFs are nearly identical, except for the underlying asset. He also pointed to the approval of an ethereum futures ETF and its classification as a commodity future as a favorable sign. 

Currently, several asset managers have filed for approval for an ethereum ETF, including Blackrock, VanEck, ARK 21Shares, Fidelity, Invesco Galaxy, Grayscale, Franklin Templeton, and Hashdex. The most immediate deadline is May 23 for VanEck.

Finsum: Over the next couple of months, the SEC will decide on an ethereum ETF. Reading the tea leaves, Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas is not optimistic that it will be approved. 

Published in Alternatives
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