Buy One ETF, get a few More With ETFs of ETFs

The hedge fund fund industry has funds of hedge funds, a vehicle that gives investors exposure to several managers across multiple strategies.

The exchange traded funds industry has followed suit with a growing number of so-called ETFs of ETFs, or an ETF that features other ETFs as its holdings. Though the rise of ETFs of ETFs appears new, it is not. Target-date funds have used the concept for a while and in 2008, one major ETF issuer introduced a broad lineup of ETFs of ETFs that would later be closed.

“But while many of the newest ETFs of ETFs claim to simplify investing, they employ Rube Goldberg-like mechanisms that make understanding what they own and why they own it exceedingly difficult to understand,” reports Chris Dieterich for Barron’s.

Barron’s highlights the First Trust Dorsey Wright Focus 5 ETF (NasdaqGM: FV) as one of the ETF of ETFs success stories. FV, which debuted just 13 months ago, already has $2.67 billion in assets under management, up from $1 billion in November.

FV makes a Dorsey Wright strategy used by advisors and institutional investors accessible to a broader audience. FV tracks the Dorsey Wright Focus Five Index which is comprised of “five First Trust sector and industry based ETFs identified by DWA’s index methodology to offer the greatest potential to outperform the other ETFs in the selection universe,” according to First Trust. [Focus 5 ET

FV currently holds the First Trust NYSE Arca Biotechnology Index Fund (NYSEArca: FBT), First Trust Health Care AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXH), First Trust Consumer Staples AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXG), First Trust Dow Jones Internet Index Fund (NYSEArca: FDN) and the First Trust Consumer Discretionary AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FXD).

FV’s success help fostered a rapid rise though quiet rise for its international equivalent, the First Trust Dorsey Wright International Focus 5 ETF (NasdaqGS: IFV). That ETF debuted in July 2014 and has $164.5 million in assets under management. [Focus 5 International Style]

With funds that invest in multiple asset classes becoming increasingly popular, it would not be surprising to see more ETFs of ETFs come to market.

“In the past year, $37 billion has gone into funds that invest in multiple asset classes, such as allocation and target-date funds, while $125 billion has fled U.S. equity funds, Barron’s reports, citing Morningstar.

The Tuttle Tactical Management U.S. Core Exchange-Traded-Fund (NasdaqGS: TUTT) debuted in late February and already has $25.2 million in assets. TUTT “seeks long-term capital appreciation while maintaining a secondary emphasis on capital preservation, primarily through investments in the U.S. equity market,” according to Tuttle Tactical Management.

TUTT’s current holdings include the ALPS Sector Dividend Dogs ETF (NYSEArca: SDOG), Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bull 3X Shares (NYSEArca: SPXL), First Trust US IPO Index Fund (NYSEArca: FPX) and the PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity ETF (NYSEArca: MINT).