The Advantages Of ETF Trading: Basics

By: Patrick Deaton

Most people are just learning about ETF trading. Many have only heard bits and pieces about the Exchange-Traded Funds market and how it works. This is an incredibly complex market that a person will want to learn and get comfortable with before beginning trading in earnest. This is a brief overview of the benefits of ETF trading that may encourage a person to look into the market more closely.
Usually when someone talks about the "history" of a company, business, or market, people automatically think a long time. This is not the case with ETF. ETF became actively-managed in 2008. The "history" that ETF has is the relationship with the financial firms that are the major financial firms with a long history who are ETF leaders. By looking at these firms history with stocks, one can surmise that ETF will have a solid growth.
The next important item to know is that this industry is growing like crazy. In 2008 there were 628 ETFs with $562 billion, in August of 2009 there were 858 ETFs with $674 billion. With the growth has come many different types of ETFs that range from minimally risky to very risky.
ETFs are a lot like stocks in terms of ETF trading and have some distinct advantages. They are normally low cost and not actively-managed. There is no buying and selling of securities to accommodate shareholders. There are lower marketing, distribution and accounting expenses. And, most don't have 12b-1 fees.
There is a tremendous amount of buying and selling flexibility. ETFs can be bought and sold at any time during the trading day. A person can purchase shares on margin and sell short which allows hedging strategies to be used. Most of the benefits of stock trading are included in ETF trading. A person can use stop order, limit orders, use stop-loss orders, and buy on margin options (puts, calls, etc).
There is the same tax efficiency that is found with mutual funds. They generate relatively low capital gains because there is low turnover in portfolio securities. ETF trading provides market exposure and diversity that allows an investor an economical way to balance portfolio allocations. And, finally, whether the ETF is indexed or actively-managed there is transparency.
In order to be structured an ETF must get an exemption from the SEC. Most ETFs are structured as open-end management investment companies the same as mutual and money market funds so have greater flexibility in constructing a portfolio. They can participate in lending programs and can use futures and options to achieve investment objectives. The SEC has proposed a category for ETFs that will make them open-end management investment companies. When the proposal is approved ETFs will no longer have to get an exemption.
An individual considering ETF trading will want to become very knowledgeable in every aspect of trading. By contacting a professional who has expertise in the details and intricacies of ETF trading a person will be able to make the decisions and create a strategy that will help them to be successful in their trading endeavors.

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