Jim Kaiser

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Tax Efficiency Challenges For Non-Transparent and Semi-Transparent Active ETFs: Are Custom Baskets on the Horizon?

Posted by Jim Kaiser on Sep 29, 2020 10:24:00 PM

Exchange traded funds (“ETFs”) have risen in popularity among asset managers and investors in recent years for several reasons, not the least of which is the tax efficient nature of the vehicles. Despite this benefit, many active managers have been reluctant to enter the ETF space. Of primary concern to active managers is the requirement for ETFs to publish their portfolios, or “baskets,” daily. This transparency effectively allows others a look under the hood, which could lead to front running, which is the practice where traders buy ahead of large orders from ETFs and short sell ahead of large sell orders. This could result in ETFs paying more to purchase securities in the market and receiving less to sell securities. Another potential negative result of this transparency is the possibility of another provider effectively cloning an existing transparent ETF and offering it with a lower expense ratio.

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