This week we have seen notable asset inflows in two large cap equity based ETFs, iShares S&P 500 (NYSEArca: IVV) and SPDR S&P 500 (NYSEArca: SPY).
The two funds both track, as their names suggest, the S&P 500 Index which tends to be the most common equity market proxy for portfolio managers looking to benchmark against a broad based index.
IVV has reeled in an impressive $1.4 billion in new assets while SPY has attracted more than $1 billion, all within the past few days in what appears to be large “beginning of the month” positioning from a notable ETF model tactical manager.
Both IVV and SPY charge 9 basis points as an expense ratio, but being a newer fund (having launched in 2000 while SPY was conceived in 1993), IVV is structured so that the fund reinvests dividends whereas SPY has to distribute dividends periodically to shareholders based on the way these ETFs were originally structured and filed.
Thus, over time, IVV boasts higher returns, even though the two products track the same S&P 500 Index. YTD, IVV has risen 15.22% versus SPY’s increase of 15.14%, and since IVV’s inception in 2000, it has rallied 3.16% versus SPY’s gain of 2.39%. It is true that from a trading volume standpoint, IVV only trades a fraction of SPY’s daily turnover (3.7 million shares daily versus 121 million shares daily on average), but as we stress to trading clients on a regular basis, published trading volume does not necessarily equate to real, true, underlying liquidity.