ProShares Files For 3X Leverage On 94 New ETFs
April 22, 2009
Despite warnings that speed can kill, another leading alternative exchange-traded funds sponsor is preparing to jump into the super-leveraged exchange-traded funds race.
ProShares is requesting that the Securities and Exchange Commission allow it to provide up to 300% leverage and 300% inverse exposure to 37 different indexes.
Although it's seeking so-called 3x approval for a list of some 94 new ETFs, it's highly unlikely the leading leveraged and inverse provider will launch all in the near future.
But even if only a handful on the new list are brought to market, the filing opens the door for ProShares to at least enter the most juiced-up leverage game in ETFs at the moment.
And that has proved to be quite a lucrative undertaking for the lone sponsor to make the leap from 200% coverage—the previous high among leveraged ETFs.
Rival Direxion upped the ante late last year by becoming the first to offer ETFs that aim at taking 300% leverage and inverse positions. (See story here.)
The other major player in the leverage ETF field, Rydex, also is awaiting government approval for its 3X proposals.
Meanwhile, as ProShares and Rydex sit on the sidelines, Direxion is gaining significant first-mover status in the field.
Since opening the space last November, Direxion has become one of the fastest-growing ETF companies. Entering Wednesday, it had roughly $3.4 billion in assets in 16 different 3x ETFs. In fact, through March, Direxion was running neck and neck with Vanguard Group for No. 2 among ETF providers this year in terms of net inflows.
But it was still trailing No. 1 ProShares by a wide margin, according to data compiled by the National Stock Exchange. And that's in terms of both asset levels and money flows. (See full story and tables here.)
The filing is clearly setting in motion the move for ProShares to increase its leadership position gained by a popular line of ETFs providing 200% inverse and leveraged exposure to a wide variety of underlying benchmarks.
No portfolio details were provided by ProShares about the focus of any future 3X leveraged or inverse fund.
But if approved, the request would provide a green light for 3X leverage and 3X inverse exposure through:
The filing, dated April 14, actually is an amendment to previous requests to list new funds. In this document, however, additional benchmarks with corresponding ETFs are listed in Appendix A, item five.
These represent funds and indexes ProShares is asking the SEC to let it launch with as much as 3X leverage—although its wording is vague enough to allow the sponsor to adapt specific leverage and inverse multiples to the timing of any ETF's possible launch.
The listings also include the Credit Suisse 130/30 Large Cap Index. ProShares actually filed in late 2007 to offer a 130/30 ETF. But at the time, the exact index it would use wasn't made public.You can read the latest amended ProShares filing here.
The list of potential 3X benchmarks ProShares is seeking regulatory approval to consider includes:
1. DJ Wilshire Total Market Index