The iShares exchange traded fund (ETF) family is now tied to Lehman Brothers indexes, but this could be both a boon and a headache.

Fourteen iShares funds track Lehman indexes and these are some of the most well-known indexes in the market, particularly with fixed-income.

Eric Rosenbaum for Index Universe reports that Barclays is requesting that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) provide what’s referred to as “exemptive relief” from rules that seek to create clear lines of demarcation between ETF managers and owners of benchmarks. In the meantime, they’ve received temporary relief while a decision is made.

Potential for conflicts of interest may entail the direct stakes in both ETF assets and the benchmarks, and affiliated managers may steer their indexes to compensate for poor market returns. BGI is not in control of this and exemptive relief is the only answer.

WisdomTree is the first major test case for the affiliated index approach. They were able to satisfy the SEC by outsourcing the calculation and dissemination of the index, as well as the portfolio management to a subadvisor.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.