Non-traditional ETPs employ sophisticated financial strategies and instruments, such as leverage, futures, and derivatives, in pursuit of their investment objectives. Leveraged and inverse ETPs are considered risky. The use of leverage and inverse strategies by a fund increases the risk to the fund and magnifies gains or losses on the investment. You could incur significant losses even if the long-term performance of the underlying index showed a gain. Typically, these products have one-day investment objectives, and investors should monitor such funds on a daily basis. Non-traditional ETPs are generally categorized as leveraged, inverse, or leveraged-inverse:
- Leveraged– Uses financial derivatives and debt to multiply the returns of an underlying index, commodity, currency, or basket of assets. Leveraged ETPs may include the terms “double,” “ultra,” “triple,” or similar language in their security name/description.
- Inverse – Uses various derivatives to seek to profit from the decline in the value of an underlying index, commodity, currency, or basket of assets; used typically to hedge exposure to downward markets. Inverse ETPs may include the term “contra,” “short,” or similar language in their security name/description.
- Leveraged-Inverse – Uses swaps, futures contracts, options, and other derivative instruments to seek to achieve a return that is a multiple of the opposite performance of the underlying benchmark or index. Leveraged-inverse ETPs may include a combination of leveraged and inverse terms such as “ultra-short” in their security name/description.
- The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Securities and Exchange Commission seek to warn retail investors of the risks associated with investing in non-traditional ETFs and issued an Investor Alert entitled “Leveraged and Inverse ETFs: Specialized Products With Extra Risks for Buy-and-Hold Investors,” which is available on FINRA’s and the SEC’s websites.
INVESTORS WHO CHOOSE TO INVEST IN NON-TRADITIONAL ETPS SHOULD BE AWARE OF THE RISKS, SOME OF WHICH ARE OUTLINED BELOW:
- Non-traditional ETPs are complex products that have the potential for significant loss of principal and are not appropriate for all investors. Investors should consider their financial ability to afford the potential for a significant loss.
- Non-traditional ETPs seek investment results for a single day only. The effect of compounding and market volatility could have a significant impact upon the investment returns. Investors may lose a significant amount of principal rapidly in these securities.
- Non-traditional ETPs may be volatile under certain market conditions. Investors holding non-traditional ETPs over longer periods of time should monitor those positions closely due to the risk of volatility.
- Non-traditional ETPs are focused on daily investment returns, and their performance over longer periods of time can differ significantly from their stated daily objective. Investors may incur a significant loss even if the index shows a gain over the long term.
- Non-traditional ETPs use a variety of derivative products in order to seek their performance objectives. The use of leverage in ETPs can magnify any price movements, resulting in high volatility and potentially significant loss of principal.
- Non-traditional ETPs may suffer losses even though the benchmark currency, commodity, or index has increased in value. Investment returns of non-traditional ETPs may not correlate to price movements in the benchmark currency, commodity, or index the ETP seeks to track.
- Some non-traditional ETPs may have a low trading volume, which could impact an investor’s ability to sell shares quickly.
- Non-traditional ETPs may be less tax efficient than other ETPs. As with any potential investment, an investor should consult with his or her tax advisor and carefully read the prospectus to understand the tax consequences of non-traditional ETPs.
The specific risks associated with a particular ETP are detailed in the fund’s prospectus. Additional risks may include adverse market condition risks, investment strategy risk, aggressive investment techniques risk, concentration risk, correlation risk, counterparty risk, credit risk and lower-quality debt securities risk, energy securities risk, equity securities risk, financial services companies risks, interest rate risk, inverse correlation risk, leverage risk, market risk, non-diversification risk, shorting risk, small and mid-cap company risk, tracking error risk, and special risks of exchange traded funds, among others. Investors should refer to the ETP’s prospectus to obtain a complete discussion of the risks involved in that ETP before investing.