Lessons Learned From Closed ETFs

The exchange traded fund universe continues to expand as institutions, advisors and retail investors utilize the nifty investment vehicle. Nevertheless, the industry has gotten to where it is at now after some growing pains and lessons learned along the way.

Since ETFs began to come to market two decades ago, 337 ETFs have delisted, with over 40% of the closures occurring over the past 18 months, reports Eric Balchunas for Bloomberg.

To put this in perspective, there are currently 1,512 U.S.-listed ETFs on the market.

ETF closures occur for a number of reasons, but in the long run, they are healthy for a growing and competitive industry. As ETFs shutdown, the industry weeds out weaker investment ideas and help generate higher-quality products.

Balchunas points out some of the more infamous ETFs that shuttered and helped steer the industry’s investment objective.

The now defunct XShares HealthShares Emerging Cancer (HHJ) traded between 2007 and 2008. The company said that the ETF did not attract enough assets because their “timing was bad.”

The PowerShares DB Crude Oil 2X (DXO) traded between 2008 and 2009, closing with $425 million in assets under management, the largest ETN or ETF to ever close, due to “limitations imposed by the exchange.” The CFTC was woried that the ETF had too much influence on the futures market, revealing the influence of regulators on the fund industry.

The DENT Tactical (DENT) traded between 2009 and 2012. The actively managed ETF had poor performance, a confusing objective and high costs.