Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"13F & Listed Hedge Funds ETFs On The Way"

Freude, schoener Goetterfunken
Tochter aus Elysium
Wir betreten feuertrunken
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum.

From World Beta:
Way back in the fall of 2008 we had two funds that were to going to launch as ETFs.  One was an endowment style global tactical ETF (ticker symbol IVY) and the other was a global listed hedge fund ETN.  We were partnering with Claymore (now Guggenheim) as the sub-advisor, as well as one of the world’s most famous financial brands that was moving into the ETF space.

Fast forward to the fall of ’08 and both filings got pulled due to the market gyrations.  This of course was both good and bad for my firm.  It was good since we would have recieved a pretty tiny index fee for designing the methodology, but it was bad since our strategies would have held up nicely since 2008.  (The story is actually much longer and interesting but not really something I want to publish on the blog.  So if you grab me over a beer sometime I’ll tell you the details.)

The global listed hedge fund ETN was going to invest in the listed hedge funds in Europe, and really the only structure that can do that without screwing the end investor due to PFIC taxes is the ETN.  The listed hedge funds trade like closed-end funds do here with discounts and premiums to NAV and we had a strategy to bias the index to the funds trading at the biggest discounts. I haven’t seen any content on listed hedge funds in the US (other than a chapter on them in our book), but the ETN structure should have died alongside Lehman, although oddly it is still around today.  I think investing in the foreign listed funds was really interesting five or so years ago, but with more and more active ETFs and alternative funds listing publicly, and the huge tax benefit to running active strategies in an ETF structure, they slowly became less and less interesting.

Anyways, it looks like Global X, which has been pretty creative and aggressive in launching funds, is going to do a global listed hedge fund ETF.  I doubt they can get around the PFIC rules but will update this post if I chat with the folks there anytime soon and they provide more clarity.  I’m pretty sure this is what killed the foreign listed private equity ETF a few years ago after I wrote about it a bunch on the blog....MORE