Back in 2015, the folks at Aberdeen Asset Management were getting a little frustrated. People kept thinking its Emerging Markets Smaller Companies Opportunities Fund was an exchange-traded fund. “Actually, no,” they kept hearing themselves say. “It’s a closed-end fund.” Usually, they would refrain from adding, “Don’t you know the difference, stupid? An ETF is an open-end fund! I mean, sure, unlike regular open-end funds—and rather like closed-end funds—you can trade them throughout the day, but where are the premiums and discounts that make closed-end funds so maddening? I mean, come on! What would ever make you think…. Oh, I see. I was saying all of that out loud. I’m sorry. What did you say our ticker symbol was again?”
For those keeping score, the ticker symbol “ETF” is available. It belonged to closed-end fund operated by Aberdeen Asset Management until the middle of 2015. Aberdeen changed the ticker symbol to “to avoid confusion with exchange-traded funds.”
ETF, of course, is too good a ticker symbol to just leave out there. And we can’t have it going to a non-ETF, right? Like Dutch amusement park ride maker ETF Ride Systems. But which of the 2,000 or so ETFs should get it? There was paralysis. Until the inevitable idea arose.
The ETF Industry Exposure & Financial Services ETF, or TETF, tracks an 37-stock index that includes the usual suspects, big providers such as BlackRock and State Street Inc. Also included are index companies, including MSCI and S&P Global, as well as brokerages and trading firms such as Charles Schwab and Virtu Financial.
“Up until now, investors have had limited access to invest in this high growth industry in a holistic manner,” said Mike Venuto, chief investment officer of Toroso Investments and a creator of the ETF’s index.
Thank God those dark days are over, and that ticker symbol ETF has found an appropriate home.