Nearly 250 ETFs Launched In 2016

There were fewer launches as well as different kinds of launches than were seen in 2015.

Reviewed by: Heather Bell
Edited by: Heather Bell

Although it wasn’t a record-breaking year like it was for ETF closures, the nearly 250 launches taking place in 2016 was a perfectly respectable amount. Including the 11 launches occurring on the last trading day of the year, 249 ETFs made their debut in 2016. By contrast, there were 284 launches in 2015.

The dominant category among launches this year was U.S. equities, which represented 36% of the new funds. That’s in contrast to last year when the largest category was international equities at 43%, followed by U.S. equities at 25%. International equities were the second-largest group in 2016 at 29% of launches.

U.S. fixed income was the third-largest group of launches, at 12%, up from 7% last year, and international fixed income was up to 5% from 3% of launches in the prior year. Commodities also saw a large jump in terms of percentage, essentially tripling their representation in the total to 3% from 1% in 2015.

Fifty percent of the launches fall under the designation of smart beta. That’s a smaller percentage from last year, when 54% of all launches were identified as smart-beta products.

When it comes to currency-hedged ETFs, there was a steep drop-off in launches in 2016. Only 6% of the launches in 2016 were currency-hedged, but in 2015, nearly 37% were currency-hedged.

Biggest New Launches

Of 2016’s launches, 13 have more than $100 million in assets under management already, led by the two UBS ETNs that were created for Fisher Investments. The UBS AG FI Enhanced Global High Yield ETN (FIHD) and UBS AG FI Enhanced Europe 50 ETN (FIEE), both leveraged, have $526 million and $420 million, respectively, as 2016 draws to a close; however, those assets are mainly through Fisher Investments.

The WisdomTree Dynamic Currency Hedged International Equity Fund (DDWM) is in third place, with $300 million in AUM, followed by the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE), with $275 million and the First Trust Dorsey Wright Dynamic Focus 5 ETF (FVC), with $258 million.


Heather Bell is a former managing editor of She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.