Displaying items by tag: ETFs
It has taken a long time for bond ETFs to begin getting even a tiny bit of the attention stock ETFs have gotten, but the trend has finally taken hold in earnest, and that s good news for investors. While active bond funds have done well in recent years (perhaps due to it being considered easier to outperform a bond index than a stock index), bond ETFs have now started to surpass them in growth. This is adding much more liquidity to bond funds, which benefits investors substantially. Both active and passive bond funds have taken in over $200 bn each in 2019.
FINSUM: While “liquidity mismatch” worries will continue to linger, the fact is that bond ETFs make a lot of sense (perhaps even more than stock ETFs?) because they circumvent minimum-buy and illiquidity issues, allowing many more people to access hard-to-reach corners of the bond market.
The Charles Schwab-TDA acquisition will likely have a host of implications for advisors. While it will take time to figure out and explore all of those, one of the immediately negative effects will likely be less funds available on the platform. As advisors will know, TDA did not have its own suite of ETFs, while Schwab does. This meant that TDA did not favor its own funds on its platforms and there was plenty of room for everyone. Schwab openly favors its funds. With the platforms now combining, smaller funds of all varieties are going to be more challenged to find buyers and survive. Even large fund houses like BlackRock might be at a disadvantage because of how the deal will help Schwab grow its ETF offerings.
FINSUM: this is going to lead to further consolidation in the fund business and will likely allow Schwab’s ETFs to grab even more market share. They are currently in 5th place.
After what was a great run for much of this year, ETFs investors are fleeing bonds. After yields fell sharply for most of 2019, investors have been stung this month as yields have shot higher. Ten-year Treasuries have gone from 1.7% to 1.9% yields, causing over half of all bonds to lose value. Investors have been pulling billions out of funds as a result. The iShares 20-year Treasury ETF has lost 7.8% since August 28th. One of the areas that has been more durable is high yield, where average prices have risen a little over 1% in the same time frame.
FINSUM: Bonds losing is a sign that investors are getting less worried about a recession, which in our view is an optimistic sign.
The ETF industry has been undermining the mutual fund business for years, but it is now set to undergo a transformation itself. In particular, as many as half of the 2,000+ ETFs currently listed are likely to close in the next few years as they die off from a lack of assets. Most ETFs need to reach somewhere between $50m and $100m to break even, but currently more than half of the 2,100 or so ETFs have less than $100m. The problem is that the market has become so inundated with new concepts—and so top heavy from broad index funds—that attracting assets is very difficult. Accordingly, many ETFs, including from large providers, are likely to close over the next couple years.
FINSUM: Big names have already started shuttering funds that were underperforming in terms of assets. Expect more of the same.
One of the biggest changes in the advisor-oriented ETF market in recent years has been the sharp rise in broker-owned ETFs, such as those from Schwab and Fidelity. Both have jumped to be major players in the ETF market thanks to their ability to sell these funds on their own platforms. One of the important things advisors need to understand is that a lot of new funds are seeded by the provider itself. Some ETFs have hundreds of millions put into them by their sponsors, which means they are not as liquid, or in-demand as they appear. Hartford and John Hancock are examples of this approach.
FINSUM: Brokers deposit huge sums in new ETFs to make them look established and in-demand. The best way to actually double-check that AUM figures are representative of reality is to look at the volume of shares traded, which is much less likely to be misleading and gives a true picture of liquidity.