Standard & Poor’s says 2011 is shaping up to be the year of the exchange traded fund with more new ETFs launched in the first seven months of this year than in 2008 and 2009, combined.
Through early August, 191 new exchange traded products were launched in 2011, with more waiting in the wings, according to S&P. In 2010, 181 new products were listed.
Among the new offerings in 2011, S&P’s two favorites track international equities and low-volatility stocks. Many financial advisors, however, prefer to see a three-year track record before committing capital.
“While many equity ETFs have begun to establish a record in 2011, we do not believe you need to wait until 2014 to consider them. That said, just because an ETF has gained a following does not mean it has above-average fundamental characteristics,” said Todd Rosenbluth, S&P equity analyst.
The two new ETFs launched this year that earn an overweight ranking by S&P are Vanguard Total International Stock Index Fund (NYSEArca: VXUS) and PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility Portfolio (NYSEArca: SPLV).
The Vanguard fund is “helped by its low 0.20% expense ratio and ownership of numerous stocks viewed as undervalued,” Rosenbluth said. Meanwhile, the PowerShares ETF focuses on less risky stocks within a broader index. [ETF Spotlight: PowerShares S&P 500 Low Volatility]
S&P notes that successful product launches this year in terms of gathering assets include WisdomTree Asia Local Debt Fund (NYSEArca: ALD), PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (NYSEArca: BKLN), Schwab U.S. REIT ETF (NYSEArca: SCHH), iShares High Dividend Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HDV) and Schwab U.S. Mid-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: SCHM).
Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.