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ETF News And Commentary

The ETF industry continues to expand at a rapid pace with the introduction of new products. Yet, we have seen a number of closures in the past few months as well, suggesting it hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing for the ETF industry. Among the large fund providers, PowerShares abandoned 13 products and Guggenheim closed nine this year (read: Guggenheim Closing Down Nine ETFs).

Most recently, iShares, the leader in terms of market share, dropped the Diversified Alternatives Trust Fund (ALT), breaking its streak of no closures for over a decade.

. The number of closures increased from 30 in 2011 to nearly 100 at year-end 2012. Meanwhile this year, in total, over 30 funds have failed to attract investor interest so far this year, and thus, closed their doors

This trend is apparently continuing this summer with E-TRACS Investments and a big chunk of their ETN lineup now facing the chopping block. The Swiss investment bank, UBS, announced that it would shutter seven products this week, bringing its total offering down to 28. The seven ETNs are as follows:

  • E-TRACS  Monthly 2x Leveraged ISE Cloud Computing TR Index ETN
  • E-TRACS  Next Generation Internet ETN
  • E-TRACS  Monthly 2x Leveraged Next Generation Internet ETN
  • E-TRACS  ISE Solid State Drive Index ETN
  • E-TRACS  Monthly 2x Leveraged ISE Solid State Drive Index ETN
  • E-TRACS  DJ-UBS Commodity 2-4-6 Blended Futures ETN
  • E-TRACS CMCI Short Platinum Excess Return ETN

All these notes combine to have $63.19 million in assets and account for just 3% of the issuer’s total AUM. The products were probably losing money, and none showed any indication of drawing investor interest over the near term, even with some decent performances in the bunch. So, UBS considered it best to close down these unpopular products in order to focus its energies elsewhere.

A few on the list, such as EIPO, EIPL, PTD and BLND had less than $10 million in assets each and were generating meager revenues for the firm. Still, some were relatively unique, the cheaper option in the space, or were doing well compared to their peers. Overall, it is somewhat disappointing as products like EIPO and SSDD did track relatively novel—but obviously underappreciated—market segments (read: 5 Worst Performing ETFs So Far in 2013).

While these closures are discouraging, investors should note that there are other options in the space that offer similar exposure (see more ETFs in the Zacks ETF Center).

It should also be noted that the shares have stopped trading on the NYSE Arca at the close of business on June 5th. Additionally, open orders will be cancelled for those who haven’t had positions filled by the end of the products’ last trading day.

At the close of business on June 6th, UBS will pay investors holding these securities the applicable call settlement amount, ending the run for these seven ETNs forever.

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