ETF Trends
ETF Trends

First Trust, the sixth-largest U.S. issuer of exchange traded funds, has filed plans for a cyber security ETF, the First Trust NASDAQ CEA Cybersecurity ETF.

According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the First Trust NASDAQ CEA Cybersecurity ETF will trade on the NASDAQ Stock Market under the ticker “CIBR.” Inclusion of the ticker in the filing could be a sign that the First Trust NASDAQ CEA Cybersecurity ETF is close to launching, though the filing does not include an expense ratio for the new fund.

It is easy to see why First Trust, or any ETF issuer for that matter, would like to try its hand at a cyber security fund. Amid a spate of public and private sector data breaches, the most recent afflicting personal data of federal employees, cyber security stocks are getting increased attention and, more importantly, are surging.

However, new entrants to the cyber security ETF have an existing juggernaut with which to contend: The PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF (NYSEArca: HACK). In the world of ETFs, first mover advantage is significant and since November, HACK has been the lone cyber security ETF on the market. [New Highs for Cyber Security ETF]

Since debuting in November, HACK has surged almost 27%, delivering better than triple the returns of the Nasdaq Composite over the same period on its way to amassing $928.1 million in assets under management. That sum is staggering for any ETF, regardless of asset class tracked, of comparable age to HACK.

Said another way, HACK’s first mover advantage is cemented. As a result, the fund has superior brand recognition in the cyber security fund space. Put simply, HACK is the Apple or Coca-Cola of cyber security funds, an advantage that will be difficult to assail for any issuer. Here’s how much investors love HACK: The ETF had $774.7 million in assets at the close of trading June 1, meaning the ETF need just six trading days to top $928 million. [Volume Soars in Cyber Security ETF]

To be fair, First Trust is a prolific asset gatherer in its own right and the firm has had success with niche ETFs with narrow industry focuses comparable to a cyber security fund. For example, the First Trust ISE Cloud Computing Index Fund (NasdaqGM: SKYY) has over $473 million in assets while the First Trust ISE Water ETF (NYSEArca: FIW) has $190.1 million in assets.