Back in April, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international super-regulator, wrote a prescient if less than catchily-titled paper "Potential financial stability issues arising from recent trends in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs)".
Its central warning – that ETFs are not the cheap and transparent vehicles the marketers would have us believe – was spot on. When UBS’s $2bn black hole hit the screens on Thursday, no one who read the FSB report was surprised to see the words ETF and rogue trader in the same sentence.
The past ten years have seen an explosion in the popularity of ETFs. In part this reflects some of their acknowledged benefits – relatively low costs and the ability for investors to trade them throughout the day. A third claim, that ETFs are simple products, may once have been true but it no longer holds water. Many of these funds are now fiendishly complicated and way beyond the comprehension of the individual investors and professionals alike who are buying them.
Here are just a few of the reasons why ETFs are not all they are cracked up to be. LINK...