ETF Trends
ETF Trends

With over 1,300 exchange traded fund products on the market, fund providers are always looking for that extra edge to up their competition, from fund engineering to wordsmithing.

Companies have been crafting attention-grabbing ticker symbols that are literal, figurative or enticing, writes Rachel Louise Ensign for The Wall Street Journal. As most three-letter symbols have been spoken for, providers have been permutating four-letters into something vaguely reminiscent of the actual fund’s directive.

“It’s kind of like when you have vanity plates on your car,” Laura Morrison, senior vice president of global index and exchange-traded products at the New York Stock Exchange, said in the article.

With the number of fund products up 108% over the last five years, providers are finding a harder time thinking up sly symbol tickers, Morrison added. Fund providers have also reserved 2,446 symbols for future ETFs, eschewing failed ETFs tickers, and at this rate, six new ones are being picked each day.

While a catchy ticker may make an impression on the minds of investors, the funds themselves don’t always survive the cut. Global X was the first fund provider to announce fund closures this year, including such nifty but not so successful tickers as EMGX, EMVX, MEXS, XOIL, BARN, FISN, EATX and WSTE.

“All things being equal, if you’ve got a more memorable ticker symbol, then people will be remembering you more,” Ryan Issakainen, ETF strategist at First Trust, said. The problem is that “all things are never equal.”

For more information on ETFs, visit our ETF 101 category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

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.