ROBO ETF Taps Into Robotics And Automation | ETF Trends

Listed on the NYSE, ROBO was the first robotics and automation ETF to market, providing investors with a liquid, cost-effective and diversified way to gain access to rapidly evolving robotics technology and AI. The ROBO Global Indices are licensed by a variety of investment vehicles and trade on multiple exchanges around the world.

Year-to-date, the ROBO ETF is up 14.78% as of June 6, 2019.

Since they can be programmed to perform dangerous, unseemly and/or repetitive tasks with consistent precision and accuracy, industrial robots are increasingly being utilized in a variety of industries and applications. They are available in a wide range of models with the reach distance, payload capacity and the number of axes of travel (up to six) of their jointed arm being the most common distinguishing characteristics.

Typically a robot’s actions are determined by a combination of programming software and controls. Their automated functionality enables them to operate without breaks, including on weekends, as well as with hazardous materials and in challenging environments, freeing human personnel to perform other tasks. Robotic technology also increases productivity and profitability while eliminating labor-intensive activities that might result in physical strain or potential injury to human workers.

“We are an index company and we created the first the robots and automation index with the hope and anticipation that robotics and AI were going to be transformational technologies that would change the world. At the time a lot of these companies weren’t very well-recognized by Wall Street. In fact, a lot of these companies were small parts of some companies’ businesses, and really weren’t identified. And so we actually created sort of proprietary classification system to define them,” explained Bill Studebaker, the ROBO Global CIO on CNBC.

ROBO ETF Almost Six Years Old

ROBO is approaching their 6th year since being established this October. They were one of the leaders in the robotics ETF revolution and now have over $1.53 billion in assets. The fund is invested in over 80 different robotics companies with some of their biggest names being YASKAWA Electric Corp, Zebra Technologies Corp (ZBRA), Mazor Robotics Ltd (MZOR), and Omron Corp. Listed below are some of the top holdings.

YASKAWA Electric Corp 6506 1.93%
Zebra Technologies Corp ZBRA 1.92%
Mazor Robotics Ltd MZOR 1.90%
OMRON Corp 6645 1.90%
Intuitive Surgical Inc ISRG 1.88%
Fanuc Corp 6954 1.81%
Daifuku Co Ltd 6383 1.79%
AeroVironment Inc AVAV 1.74%
Keyence Corp 6861 1.74%
Rockwell Automation Inc ROK 1.74%


Since the robotic technology industry is in constant flux, Studebaker explained that ROBO’s approach is to be broadly invested, so they can diversify holdings and capitalize on overall market growth, rather than constantly try to pivot with the market at each turn.

“We think the best approach to this is the index approach and looking out the next 3-4 years it’s very hard to pick out obvious winners and losers. A lot of these technologies are I think hard to identify, and we are really in the early days of this growth opportunity and we think the best approach is to be invested across the entire ecosystem of a value chain of companies that supports this,” Studebaker said.

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