Given the recent volatility largely tied to global market “big picture” concerns, active “Long/Short” type strategies often take a front seat to such action as straight index managers are simply along for the ride sometimes in the short term.
The “Long/Short” Category is still a relative fledging in terms of asset growth compared to other segments of the ETF marketplace, as the third largest fund in the category for instance, RALS (ProShares RAFI Long/Short, Expense Ratio 0.95%) only has $53.6 million in assets under management, and averages a rather low 14,600 shares traded daily.
This particular fund follows the RAFI U.S. Equity Long/Short Index, which is a proprietarily designed index that, according to fund literature, “compares RAFI constituent weightings for a selection of U.S. domiciled, publicly traded companies listed on major exchanges.
The index takes long positions in securities with larger RAFI weights relative to their market cap weights. The index is rebalanced monthly such that it has equal dollar investments in both long and short positions and is reconstituted annually at which time new long and short positions are selected and weighted. Sector neutrality is achieved during the annual reconstitution.”
The RAFI model apparently currently suggests a bullish bias in BAC, COP, C, T, and CVX, as they make up the top five holdings in the fund, while the top short positions are in CSCO, V, SLB, AAPL, and BRK.B. The fund is currently trading at its lowest levels since the late spring of 2013 although volume has been rather muted.
Other notables in this category, but with different strategies in how they achieve their long/short returns, include CSM (ProShares Credit Suisse 130/30, Expense Ratio 0.45%), PBP (PowerShares S&P 500 BuyWrite Portfolio, Expense Ratio 0.75%), both of which are substantially larger than RALS, with $235 million and $214 million in assets under management respectively.