Exchange traded funds offering investors exposure to previously hard-to-access alternative investment strategies are a new frontier of growth for ETF issuers, but one fund has already asserted its dominance in the hedge fund replication space.
The IQ Hedge Multi-Strategy ETF (NYSEArca: QAI), which is nearly six years old, cemented its status as the largest hedge fund strategy ETF by recently topping $1 billion in assets undermanagement. QAI employs various hedge fund investment styles, such as long/short equity, global macro, market neutral, event driven, fixed-income arbitrage and emerging markets. [Early Innings of Growth for Alternative ETFs]
QAI seeks to track, before fees and expenses, the performance of the IQ Hedge Multi-Strategy Index. The ETF has returned 12.1% over the past five years. QAI returned nearly 3% last year, slightly above the average performance for hedge funds. Last year was the worst year since 2011 for hedge fund performance, on average.
“QAI offers investors a way to carve off exposure to their traditional fixed income investments, yet be in a product that is designed to potentially experience price appreciation in a rising rate environment.” QAI, which was the first and remains the largest liquid alternative ETF, grew its assets by approximately 57% in 2014,” said IndexIQ CEO Adam Patti in a statement.
QAI charges 0.75% per year, which is somewhat high by the standards of ETFs but downright cheap when weighing the ETF against the typical 2% of investment and 20% of profits many hedge funds subject investors to.
As of Jan. 26, QAI’s top holdings were comprised of other ETFs, including the Vanguard Total Bond Market ETF (NYSEArca: BND), PowerShares Senior Loan Portfolio (NYSEArca: BKLN) and theiShares Russell 2000 Growth ETF (NYSEArca: IWO).