Community Banks ETF Set To Launch July 1
June 26, 2009
First Trust Advisors on Friday announced plans to launch its new exchange-traded fund focused on community banks on July 1.
The firm had previously filed for Securities and Exchange Commission approval to offer the fund. (See related story here.)
But the press splash is the company's first comments after completing the required regulatory process. It also provided full details of the ticker and made official the new ETF's name: The First Trust Nasdaq ABA Community Bank Fund (NASDAQ: QABA).
First Trust will serve as the investment adviser for the fund. It will come with an expense ratio of 0.60%, according to the ETF's prospectus.
Community banks follow a different economic paradigm than the New York-centered financial giants; they’re even quite different from the regional banking companies captured by ETFs such as the SPDR KBW Regional Banking ETF (NYSE Arca: KRE). When well-run, they tend to be steady, low-risk performers, with limited upside but similarly limited volatility.
"There has been little distinction made between the stress-tested megabanks and the nearly 8,000 community banks throughout the country," said Robert Carey, First Trust's chief investment officer, in a statement.
"Because these banks tend to practice more conservative banking strategies and have tended to stay away from subprime lending and exotic financial instruments, they have recently shown higher capital levels and healthier balances sheets as compared to larger financial institutions."
As reported previously by IU.com, the ETF's underlying index has a variety of exclusion criteria designed to maintain a pure-play focus on the community banking sector. Companies entering the index, for example, cannot be among the 50 largest banks or thrifts based on asset size; cannot focus on international servicing; cannot specialize in credit cards; etc. In other words, they are supposed to be local banks.