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by Finage at February 27, 2023 6 MIN READ


What Makes Smart ETFs Smart


The world of investments is full of tonnes of people who are successful and even more who aren't quite there yet. A lot of factors can be pointed to as primary reasons for success or failure and one of these is the strategy used by an investor. Many angles are present for investors to look at and one such tool is the smart ETF. The idea of exchange-traded funds is already prevalent in this field, but anything that adds something to it should pique your interest. Fortunately, that's exactly what you will find as you read further and hopefully, the titular question will be answered.


- Unlocking the potential of ETF
- How they work
- Common tactics used
- The equally-weighted tactic
- The factor-based tactic
- The low volatility tactic
- The major pros
- The major cons
- Final thoughts


Unlocking the potential of ETF

Getting straight to the heart of the matter, what distinguishes smart ETFs from their traditional counterparts is their usage of cutting-edge technologies and data-driven investment strategies that help users to optimize performance and provide investors with better returns. But before answering all of the questions, let’s figure out exactly what a smart ETF is.


ETFs on their own allow multiple investments to be placed under one umbrella while being traded like typical stocks. This allows for better diversification opportunities as well as flexibility in the stock market. This is something that distinguishes them from mutual funds, which are mostly based on the dollar.


The idea of a smart ETF is mainly that it does the same thing, through the use of technology to see whether or not something is worth adding to a portfolio. It shouldn’t be looked at as any sort of prediction method and in fact, focuses on the analysis of current market events. Among the general things that are looked at in this automatic sense are things such as:

- market volatility
- current and potential risk
- market state (bull and bear markets)


This is all done to make as much profit as there can be, which is an obvious objective. What’s even more important is for the amount of risk to be reduced. It is worth mentioning that smart ETFs are distinguished by their use of advanced data analytics and investment strategies, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, to track and analyze global ETF data and mutual fund prices in real-time and make informed investment decisions on behalf of investors. If you are looking for real-time, delayed, end-of-day and historical pricing data for exchange traded funds (ETFs) and mutual funds data, you can turn to an expert data provider that offers tools for analysis and portfolio management.


How they work

Upon a fund’s creation, the incorporation of the “smart” aspect of it is in full effect. With the idea of tracking a specific index in mind, certain things are considered to better assist the automated process. This is known as weighting, and it sifts through the market to find what best suits an investor's needs.


Several things are kept in mind to better allow the process to take its course. Interestingly enough, based on whatever the investor has in mind, not everything is common on every list of requirements. For example, the market cap strategy allows one to look at a company based on that alone. However, that is quite the rarity, as it varies between companies as well as the industry that certain shares are found. What is used often is different metrics that base themselves somewhat on the following:

- profitability
- upward or downward swings
- potential growth and
- future earnings


It is also worth noting that you have to understand the advanced technologies and data-driven investment strategies that set Smart ETFs apart from traditional ETFs. First of all, it provides valuable insights into accessing real-time global data feeds for optimal investment decisions. As the key difference between traditional ETFs and smart ETFs is the usage of advanced tech, you can apply and use these sophisticated algorithms and real-time data feeds to actively manage the underlying assets. Smart ETFs could also incorporate AI and machine learning, advanced analytics tools to gain a competitive edge, increasing profit.


Common tactics used

Though it’s fair to look at smart ETFs as strategies in their own right, they are more of an umbrella for more specific uses of the tech. Some of the most effective include:


The equally-weighted tactic

This tactic steers away from dependence on market cap and stock price. Instead, the factors determining the profitability of each holding are weighted.


The factor-based tactic

This strategy weights stocks by looking at certain factors that gauge a company's state. This is the tactic that monitors things such as balance sheets and general valuations.


The low volatility tactic

This zeroed in on the indexes and singular stocks and their performances over a long period. What is generally looked for and desired is anything that has minimal fluctuations in that time.


The major pros

Experts on the matter will always maintain that smart EFTs are the best way to maximize profits and minimize risks and this can be seen by looking at the strategies employed to achieve this. For starters, it takes the main benefits of using exchange-traded funds, which are the diversification of portfolios and the maximization of dividends.


The equally-weighted way of doing things also contributes immensely in that it doesn’t follow the largest market caps closely. This is rather advantageous because it doesn’t incur the major risk of such a company failing, which is that they affect the index a lot more than smaller ones.


These ETFs are akin to actively managed funds, which means that they are more expensive than passive varieties. However, their tech-based nature makes them less expensive than actively managed funds.


The major cons

The truth is that this path of attaining profits is fairly new. As such, it can only work on lower trading volumes, which is a problem because investors can’t sell as quickly. In short, smart ETFs have a liquidity issue.


The costs related to using this tool to trade on the market are rather high. Though not as high as those that come with an active approach, re-establishing original index weighting isn’t helpful. This is true especially when you consider purchasing stocks from an index that is to be included in the fund. Underperforming against an index is also a common occurrence because of constant readjustments against them. The many variables involved are the cause of this, which makes them more difficult to handle.


Final thoughts

Based on the above information, you can see why this path to making profits on the market is appealing to investors. The balancing act of lower risks and higher rewards is something that investors look for, hence the many companies trying to reach out to them. Additionally, smart ETF differentiate from other ETFs, for example, backward-looking funds. Smart ones incorporate a wide range of data inputs from social media sentiment to alternative data sources. It identifies hidden patterns and insights that may not be captured by traditional investment models. Also, backward-looking ETFs tend to have a more generalized approach. Smart ETF could be compared to forward-looking funds, as it is also known as an actively managed fund that seeks to outperform the market.


You can also see that there is enough cause for concern, particularly as it pertains to the aspect of liquidity, which can be a major turn-off. All this appears to make smart ETFs look like a mixed bag. That said, things may look up as the technology is used more. All that is required is an investor’s caution.

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