Here’s a different way to diversify your portfolio.
Looking at the 10 biggest exchange-traded fund launches of 2016, nine are focused on “smart beta” strategies that are so in vogue with portfolio managers. But coming in second was a fund of a completely different flavor: State Street Corp.’s SPDR Gender Diversity ETF. Its ticker symbol? SHE.
With $284 million in assets since its February creation, the fund tracks companies with greater levels of gender diversity in senior leadership roles. It’s second only to the Wisdom Dynamic Currency Hedged International Equity Fund, which investors have poured $292 million into since its inception in January.
There’s a catch in the numbers. All but 3 percent of the inflows came from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System, the second-largest pension fund in the U.S. That’s not unheard of in ETF land. Fund providers often line up a large investor to insure a successful launch, especially with off-beat products, said Eric Balchunas, an ETF analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.
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“If you line up an institution beforehand, you get a better chance to be at the top list,” Balchunas said. “This is in-line with institutions being more socially conscious and into things like gender diversity and low-carbon stocks.”