Leveraged Exchange Traded Funds

By October 21, 2015 October 15th, 2017 Glossary

Leveraged Exchange Traded Funds (“ETFs”) are investments that seek to deliver multiples of the performance of the index or benchmark they track.  Examples are ProShares’ Ultra S&P500, which aims to produce 200% of the return of the S&P, or the Ultra Dow30, which aims to produce 200% of the return of the Dow Jones Industrial Average Index.  Typically the funds achieve these results with a range of investment strategies, which may include swaps, futures contracts and other derivative instruments.  FINRA has warned that because most leveraged ETFs strive to achieve their stated objectives on a daily basis, over longer periods of time their performance can differ significantly from their benchmarks due to the effects of compounding.  Because of the complexity of these leveraged ETFs, it is important that firms selling these funds present a fair and balanced picture of both the risks and benefits of an investment in leveraged ETFs.