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Investment Trust. Unit Trust. Public listed companies that raise money by selling a fixed number of shares to investors. This money is pooled to make investments. The trust is managed by a professional fund manager. Since they are listed on a stock exchange, they can be traded throughout the day, just like an ETP or listed company. Investment trusts are closed-ended: they have a fixed number of shares. The value of each share will change depending on supply and demand, as well as the underlying NAV.
Therefore, the price of an investment trust can trade away from its NAV. Like an investment trust, OEICs issue shares, but they differ in one important way. An OEIC is open-ended shares can be created or redeemed according to demand. Very similar to an OEIC, a collective investment vehicle that pools money to make investments.
A unit trust is also open-ended, and as such the value of each unit will be directly related to the NAV of the trust. The main difference between unit trusts and OEICs is that a unit trust is constituted as a trust and not as a company. Thus, instead of issuing shares, the trust issues units instead. A product's structure impacts its risks, its costs and how accurately it tracks its underlying. As a passive investment, ETPs replicate the return of an underlying benchmark or asset.
ETPs can be structured in two ways to achieve this:. Physical replication differs slightly between products that track a benchmark usually ETFs or a commodity usually ETCs. Instead, the ETP issuer enters into a swap agreement with a counterparty that contracts to provide the return of the underlying assets.
Replication methods - overview.
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Physical replication is where the ETP buys the underlying assets it is designed to track. These types of ETF are known as, respectively, 'full replication' and 'sampling replication'. This method is employed if the underlying assets are readily available, reasonably small in number and do not significantly alter e. This approach might be used if the benchmark contains a large number of assets which change frequently e. A key benefit of full replication is that, since the product holds the same assets as the index, it should track the index very accurately.
However, the disadvantage is the potential for high transaction costs if the index changes a large number of its constituents frequently. With sampling replication, transaction costs are kept lower. However, because the ETP's holdings are not the same as those that comprise the index, the product's return may not correspond exactly to the index's return. With physical replication, counterparty risk can be introduced if the product engages in securities lending. The borrower may also be required to post collateral to protect its obligations under the loan. While the fee from securities lending can reduce the cost of an ETP, it creates counterparty risk.
That is, the loaned securities may be lost if the borrower defaults. In such an event, the product could be left holding assets unrelated to those on the index it is meant to track. The value of a physical ETC comprises: Physical ETCs are backed by the corresponding amount of bullion deposited in a vault precious metals or warehouse industrial metals. This bullion is reserved for the product and segregated from the general stock of metal stored in that vault or warehouse.
These bodies ensure a standardised market for trading metals by ensuring metal quality and inspecting storage. Precious metals are stored in vaults located in London, Zurich or Singapore; industrial metals are stored in warehouses inspected by the London Metal Exchange. The most significant benefit for investors of physically backed ETCs is that they provide exposure to commodity price movements, safe in the knowledge that each ETC is backed by an entitlement to high quality, securely stored, physical metal.
Unlike physical replication, a synthetic ETP does not hold the underlying assets the product is designed to track. An ETP provider might choose to use a swap structure for a number of reasons: Accuracy: Because the return of a synthetic ETP is guaranteed by a counterparty, it can match the underlying asset return accurately. Cost-effective: A synthetic ETP has limited transaction costs relating to buying and selling the underlying assets.
Commodities: Non-metal commodities can only be accessed synthetically because of the difficulties associated with storage. Variety: Synthetic ETP structures can offer products which could not be offered physically, including short and leveraged products, volatility indices and emerging market securities. Swap An agreement where the parties swap the return of one investment for another; or, alternatively, one party pays a fee for the return of a particular investment. Collateral Generally, the asset s that a borrower offers as security for a debt. In the context of ETPs, it usually refers to assets provided by swap providers to secure their payment obligations under a swap agreement.
Haircuts are imposed to provide a cushion to protect the ETP issuer in case the market value of the collateral falls. In a fully funded swap, the money investors have paid to buy the ETP is transferred to the swap counterparty hence, fully funded. In exchange, the counterparty will provide that amount of exposure to the underlying asset and deposit collateral equal to, or greater than, that amount with a third-party custodian.
Under a fully funded swap, the title to the collateral may be owned by the counterparty or the ETP depending on how the ETP has been structured. Where the counterparty defaults in both cases, the ETP will have title to the collateral as well as be able to sell the collateral and return the proceeds to the investors. UCITS require the collateral deposited by the swap counterparty to meet certain requirements in terms of asset type, liquidity and diversification for ETFs.
Appropriate haircuts must also be applied to protect against the risk of price fluctuations. The level of haircut depends on the asset type, and laws of the jurisdiction in which the product is domiciled. The collateral is marked-to-market daily. Example of how a fully funded swap operates:. The index rises by 5. To maintain sufficient collateral after the haircut, the counterparty must deposit more collateral.
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Although the index value is unchanged, the value of the collateral has fallen. The counterparty must, again, deposit additional collateral. In an unfunded swap, the money investors have paid to buy the ETP is not directly transferred to the swap counterparty. Instead, a proportion of the money is used to pay the swap fee.
The rest of the money is managed by the ETP provider. How the money is managed differs between providers: Reference basket: Some providers use the money to buy a basket of assets, usually from the swap counterparty, unrelated to the assets being tracked. The basket's return is then exchanged for the return of the assets the ETP is designed to track. Repurchase agreement: Some providers invest the money with the swap counterparty in a reverse repo to generate a return.
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Repurchase Agreement Repo An agreement where one party agrees to sell an asset temporarily and repurchase it in the future. Reverse Repo The same agreement, but from the perspective of the party purchasing the asset and selling it in the future. UCITS, the 'Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities', are a set of European directives that impose a common framework for regulating collective investment schemes throughout the European Union. Segregated assets. If an investor purchased the shares via a broker, they will need to request that the broker redeems directly on behalf of the investor.
The assets of a UCITS fund must be entrusted to an independent custodian for safekeeping, segregated from the assets of that custodian and the company that issued the ETF. These assets cannot be used to discharge the liabilities of either the custodian or the fund issuer. Furthermore, the UCITS regulations oblige the fund to reduce its exposure to any counterparties in case such counterparties default on their obligations under the derivative contracts.
One way of doing this is to post collateral. This collateral should meet minimum criteria. For example, the collateral must be valued on at least a daily basis and assets that exhibit high price volatility should not be accepted unless suitably conservative haircuts have been applied. The amount of information required in the prospectus will vary according to the type of ETF. Since prospectuses can be extremely long and dense documents, the KIID is a plain and concise summary of the important facts about the ETF.
Usually, it is limited to two A4 pages in length. However, it should be noted that the KIID will inevitably omit certain information and investors should always read the full prospectus.. Finally, the annual and semi-annual reports will provide details of the investments and performance. It will include commentary from the fund issuer about developments over the financial year.
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