Nasdaq Gives Small ETFs a Helping Hand

Nasdaq Inc. (NasdaqGS: NDAQ) announced plans to raise the amount paid to trading firms in an attempt to bolster activity in thinly traded exchange traded funds, helping investors find tighter spreads when executing orders.

The majority of ETF assets under management are concentrated among the largest and most popular ETFs. However, smaller and lesser-known ETFs may have low trading activity, which may contribute to wide bid-asks spreads on orders.

In an attempt to ameliorate the situation and bolster trading in lower-volume ETFs, Nasdaq plans to pay more to firms that support ETF trades while diminishing rebates for higher volume ETFs, Reuters reports. Moreover, Nasdaqg will add rebates on new ETFs listed with the exchange, which may explain why more fund providers are looking to list on the Nasdaq exchange, and provide further incentives on the amount of ETFs a firm supports.

“We want to try to offer programs that help less-liquid products improve their trading quality,” Jeff McCarthy, Nasdaq’s head of ETP Listings, told Reuters.

SEE MORE: SEC Streamlines ETF Listing Process on Bats, NYSE

According to Morningstar data, about 264 exchange traded products have launched over the last year, compared to 241 in the year prior. However, the number of non-leveraged funds trading with less than 5,000 shares per day has increased almost 10 percentage points to 31% in two years.