Nathan Slaughter’s May ETF Informer

The exchange-traded fund (ETF) world remains abuzz with activity on the new launch and product development fronts.

Money managers like Pimco that have recently dipped their toes into the ETF waters with bond ETFs are signaling intent to branch out further. They will soon be joined by newcomers like Legg Mason, T Rowe Price, Putnam and Eaton Vance, which have already filed the appropriate SEC paperwork.

I expect these established fund families to leverage their analytical resources by rolling out more actively-managed ETFs. Already, there are around 20 of these next-generation ETFs — attracting more than $340 million in assets. That’s just a tiny sliver of the industry’s $800 billion, but I think we’ll see more of these funds grabbing a larger piece of the pie going forward.

#-ad_banner-#The transition will likely be evolutionary rather than revolutionary, but wrapping professional day-to-day management inside the low costs and tax efficiency of an ETF could be a game-changer that marks the beginning of the end for traditional mutual funds as the world’s most popular investment vehicle. (I’ve already heard of at least one mutual fund that’s exploring ways to convert to an ETF).

It will be exciting to see how this unfolds. If nothing else, more players means an expanded menu of investment options and downward pressure on costs — good news for investors like you and me.

In the meantime, issuers unveiled a number of promising new funds last month. I’ve included several of the more intriguing ones in the table below.

New Funds Released This Month

Fund Name

IQ Canada Small-Cap (Nasdaq: CNDA) Candian small-cap stocks
IQ Australia Small-Cap (Nasdaq: KROO) Australian small-cap stocks
FT ISE Global Copper (NYSE: CU) Copper mining stocks
FT ISE Global Platinum (Nasdaq: PLTM) Platinum mining stocks
State Street S&P Russia (NYSE: RBL) Russian stocks
Claymore/Wilshire US REIT
(Nasdaq: WREI)
Short FTSE/Xinhua China (NYSE: YXI) Inverse China

The funds in this table should not be considered buy recommendations, but I do profile one candidate that is particularly interesting in the April issue of The ETF Authority.

To read my analysis and gain access to my model portfolios (where 27 out of 29 of my recommendations are positive), click here.

I’ll be following the actively-managed ETF story closely. Like I said, it could be a game-changer and potentially spell the dethronement of mutual funds. I’ll keep tabs on this story, and others, in the ETF world in the months ahead and will bring you any new developments.