There are more than 2000 ETFs listed in the US, including plenty of niche or just weird ones.
Not all ETFs are good investments and investors should do their due diligence or rely on an investment advisor before picking. And while these three funds are certainly not the most well-known ETFs from retail investors, despite tackling social issues and technologic innovation, what makes them interesting is that they can allow investors to take a view on issues they’re currently facing in society in addition to providing returns.
SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF
State Street Global Advisors is well known for managing the largest and most traded ETF in the market, SPDR S&P 500 ETF, which tracks the S&P 500. Among its vast offering of ETFs, there’s also an ETF that seeks to provide exposure to US companies that demonstrate greater gender diversity within senior leadership than other firms in their sector.
It tracks State Street’s gender diversity index and follows the belief that corporate board diversity enhances board quality and effectiveness.
Although the public might not be familiar with that ETF, it might know much better the bronze statue of a fearless girl facing Wall Street’s bull, which State Street placed there as part of a communication campaign when the ETF launched in March 2017.
Janus Obesity ETF
Obesity is obviously a huge issue in society today. In the US, more than one third of adults have obesity, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
One ETF firm, Janus Henderson Investors, thought it could capitalized on the phenomenon and launched the Obesity ETF in June 2016. It’s not a fund investing in snack manufacturing companies. Instead, it invests in the battle against obesity, targeting stocks of companies that could benefit as they fight the global obesity epidemic.
These companies are in sectors including biotechnology, pharmaceutical, healthcare, and medical device companies. They often focus on obesity-related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, stroke and sleep apnea.
Bitcoin Investment Trust (GBTC)
Not really an ETF– the Securities and Exchange Commission is still reluctant to approve a Bitcoin ETF although some ETFs can invest in GBTC– the Bitcoin Investment Trust, which is technically a grantor trust, is the first US-based investment vehicle that provides a way to get exposure to the cryptocurrency. It differs from an ETF in that it is traded on the over-the- counter market and charges a higher annual fee of 2% of assets.
It is managed by Grayscale, which has launched other cryptocurrency-focused investment trusts including on Ethereum and Litecoin in the past year or so.