FlexShares Files To Self-Index ETFs
August 20, 2012
FlexShares, the ETF arm of the Chicago-based bank Northern Trust, filed paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to self-index its own ETFs, joining the likes of Guggenheim and BlackRock that have similar plans in the works.
Self-indexing of funds is a growing trend in the ETF industry, and as precedent, the paperwork singled out firms that already have permission do so from the SEC, including WisdomTree, Van Eck Global’s ETF brand Market Vectors as well as IndexIQ.
The paperwork describes a broad range of funds for which FlexShares might create in-house indexes. The company plans to possibly create indexes for equity and/or fixed-income securities issued by U.S. and/or non-U.S. issuers, and it added that those indexes could include depositary receipts.
BlackRock and Guggenheim filed last year to begin offering funds with so-called affiliated indexes, adding steam to the movement. Industry sources say that ETF sponsors are likely to be able to save money by forgoing licensing payments to index companies. Many of those agreements were originally struck on a percentage-of-assets basis, which has led those costs to balloon as the size of funds has grown.