Master limited partnerships (MLPs) and some of the relevant exchange traded funds are proving somewhat steady this year in the face of falling oil prices. For example, the Tortoise North American Pipeline Fund (NYSEArca: TPYP) is down just 1% year-to-date.
Passively managed, the Tortoise North American Pipeline Fund tracks the Tortoise North American Pipeline Index. The Tortoise North American Pipeline Index is a float-adjusted, cap-weighted index comprised of U.S. and Canadian pipeline firms. The ETF debuted nearly two years ago. TPYP has hauled in about $72 million in assets since coming to market.
To qualify as an MLP, the companies pass through at least 90% of their income to investors, making the assets an attractive yield-generating investment.
MLPs don’t make their money based on oil or gas prices. Unlike other energy sector stocks, MLPs primarily deal with the distribution and storage of energy products, so their business model is less reliant on the commodities market since MLPs profit off the quantity of oil and natural gas they are able to move around.