Last month, ALPS rolled out the Workplace Equality Portfolio (NYSEArca: EQLT), a socially responsible spin on companies that support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality in the workplace.
On the surface, EQLT sounds like a hyper-focused niche ETF, but upon closer examination investors will see the rookie fund shares some things in common with more established ETFs that do not subscribe to traditional index methodology. For example, EQLT’s 162 holdings are equal-weighted.
“By going the equal route, products like EQLT give smaller stocks a louder voice in performance. That can increase returns in a broad market rally, when small-caps tend to outperform, but also brings added risk and can create the illusion that a theme is working when it’s actually the small-cap bent that’s providing the edge,” reports Eric Balchunas for Bloomberg.
Buoyed by the success of the Guggenheim S&P Equal Weight ETF (NYSEArca: RSP), as just one example, more equal weight ETFs have come to market in recent and investors have become increasingly comfortable with the concept. [Equal Weight ETFs for All Investors]
EQLT’s “screening criteria generally include mandatory language in a company’s equal employment opportunity (EEO) statement prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, offering health benefits to same-sex partners or spouses of employees, along with other corporate benefits and privileges. Other screens are performed with the goal of eliminating companies that would detract from the Index such as companies in bankruptcy or reorganization,” according to ALPS.
No holding account for more than 0.91% of EQLT’s weight and top-10 holdings include Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), Electronic Arts (NasdaqGS: EA), Wynn Resorts (NasdaqGS: WYNN) and Biogen (NasdaqGS: BIIB).