Northern Trust’s (NasdaqGS: NTRS) FlexShares added on to its line of smart-beta index-based exchange traded funds, launching a fund that tracks large-cap U.S. equity with a focus on quality and another that tries to optimize credit risk.
The FlexShares US Quality Large Cap Index Fund (NasdaqGM: QLC) began trading Thursday, September 21. QLC will cover a basket of large-cap equities based on quality, value and momentum factors to generate long-term growth potential. The ETF has a 0.32% expense ratio.
“The FlexShares Quality Large Cap Index fund also offers targeted exposure to value and momentum factors providing investors with an efficient multi-factor core equity portfolio holding,” Shundrawn A. Thomas, head of Northern Trust’s Funds and Managed Accounts Group, said in a press release.
Specifically, the ETF will select and weight companies based on management efficiency, profitability and cash flow to determine quality, according to FlexShares. Management efficiency is a quantitative evaluation of a firm’s deployment of capital and its financing decision. Profitability scores help weed out firms with wider margins, which may be better positioned to grow. Lastly, cash flow signals the liquidity level of a company, so those with higher cash flows may be better situated to take advantage of potential opportunities or enjoy a financial cushion in down turns.
QLC will also have a value focus, which is calculated through various valuations metrics, such as recent earnings report to calculate price-to-earnings, the Shiller’s CAPE or cyclically adjusted P/E, and analysts estimated futures earnings.
Lastly, the ETF will try to avoid value traps by including momentum characteristics, which will be determined through a stock’s price history to capture a picture of the recent performance and by using analysts analyst outlooks to get a sense of future sentiment regarding a company.
Sector allocations include information technology 21.2%, financials 15.8%, healthcare 12.9%, consumer discretionary 11.9%, industrials 10.6%, consumer staples 10.4%, energy 7.0%, utilities 4.7%, materials 4.4% and telecommunication services 1.1%.