Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Debts of the Spenders: Massachusetts Investigates Levered ETFs

Galvin Investigating Leveraged ETFs

By Money Management Executive
July 16, 2009

Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin is investigating the sales materials of fund companies that sell leveraged exchange-traded funds, The Boston Globe reports.

The state has sent letters to three of the leaders in the space, Direxion Funds, Rydex Investments and ProShares.

“These are highly volatile instruments,” Galvin said. “We want to make sure that if they are sold to average investors, they are told there is risk here. This is not a save-and-hold investment.”

Specifically, Galvin is investigating whether leveraged ETFs should be sold with detailed warnings about the funds’ ability to double or triple losses. He is also concerned that there are 140 leveraged ETFs on the market with $33 billion in assets.

Late last month, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority asked brokers and registered investment advisers to provide it withinformation on the sale of leveraged and inverse exchange-traded funds between Oct. 1, 2008 and March 30 to investors who held them for 10 business days or longer. The authority is looking for all sales and marketing materials, customer communications and complaints, arbitration claims and written supervisory procedures regarding the sale of such funds.

But the companies at the heart of the probes defend both their approach and marketing strategies, saying they are complying with current regulations.

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