Reports Friday that Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) expects to get subpoenas related to its mortgage businesses are a reminder that underperforming financial exchange traded funds continue to face regulatory uncertainty.

Goldman Sachs is feeling heat for its conduct during the financial crisis following a scalding Senate panel report. A recent Matt Taibbi article in Rolling Stone lambasting Goldman has also stirred the pot.

“It now appears that the pressure on the Justice Department to bring a criminal lawsuit against Goldman is building to a high pitch,” Rochdale Securities said in a recent note on Goldman. [Goldman Sachs Downgrades Claw Financial ETFs]

Earlier this week, reports swirled that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was probing mortgage securities packaged by big banks such as Bank of America (NYSE: BAC), Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) and Goldman. [Bank ETFs Shake Off Report of Mortgage-Securities Probe]

Financial ETFs have trailed the market badly in 2011 and Goldman shares recently registered a negative technical signal. [Financial ETFs Dive as Goldman, Bank of America See ‘Death Cross’]

Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund (NYSEArca: XLF)

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of John Spence, 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.