Think driverless cars are the future? A new ETF lets you invest in them now
By Ryan Vlastelica
The fund, set to launch on Friday, is the latest example of a 'thematic' ETF
Exposure to one of the most highly anticipated technological trends of recent years will soon be available to investors in one of the most popular investment wrappers on the market.
Evolve Funds, an investment fund based in Toronto, is launching an exchange-traded fund dedicated to innovation in automobiles. The fund will hold companies "that are directly or indirectly involved in developing electric drivetrains, autonomous driving or network connected services for automobiles," per its prospectus.
It will begin trading on Friday, according to a Reuters report (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autonomous-etf/upstart-fund-to-launch-future-car-etf-in-canada-idUSKCN1C31FW). Evolve Funds didn't immediately return a request for comment or confirmation.
The Evolve Automobile Innovation Index ETF will trade under the symbol "CARS" and charge an annual expense ratio of 0.4%.
The fund is part of a suite of ETFs that Evolve is launching "that will provide exposure to new emerging trends and industries," according to the firm's website. Also included in the family is an ETF dedicated to cyber security firms (CYBR.T) and one that pertains to gender diversity (HERS.T). Earlier this month, it filed a preliminary prospectus for an ETF that tracks the digital currency bitcoin.
Related:This ETF bets that companies with female leadership will outperform (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/this-etf-bets-that-companies-with-female-leadership-will-outperform-2016-09-19)
Don't miss:Vanguard calls for more diverse corporate boards, better climate-change disclosures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/vanguard-calls-for-more-diverse-corporate-boards-better-climate-change-disclosures-2017-08-31)
Electric-car maker Tesla Inc. (TSLA) will be among the fund's components, as will fuel-cell company Plug Power Inc. (PLUG) and Delphi Automotive Plc. (DLPH), per the Reuters report, which quoted Evolve Chief Operating Officer Elliot Johnson as saying, "We wanted to make sure we're making a bet that's broad, but also specific to the activities that are going on."
A fund with a somewhat similar focus, the Global X Lithium & Battery Tech ETF (LIT) has been a big trading favorite thus far this year. The fund has surged more than 50% in 2017, and it has seen inflows of $451.5 million, bringing its assets to $676.8 million.
Read:A Model 3 fail could lead to 'moment of panic' for Tesla: Bernstein (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-model-3-fail-could-lead-to-moment-of-panic-for-tesla-bernstein-2017-09-27)
The Automobile Innovation ETF will be the market's latest "thematic" fund, a category that tracks sub-sectors of major industries. Other such funds include ones related to whiskey (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/bottoms-up-new-etf-tracks-the-global-growing-whiskey-market-2016-10-12), 3-D printing (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/ges-14-billion-push-into-3-d-printing-sends-sole-etf-to-record-high-2016-09-06), and drones (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/drone-etf-takes-off-after-court-decides-users-dont-have-to-register-under-faa-rule-2017-05-19). While some of these funds have seen extraordinary gains by tapping into parts of the market that are seeing faster growth than broader sectors, critics have also charged that some of the industries being tracked are too niche or underdeveloped, meaning the funds hold few "pure plays," and as a result move on factors that are unrelated to their stated theme.
Learn more:Are thematic ETFs gimmicks or smart strategic plays? (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/are-thematic-etfs-gimmicks-or-smart-strategic-plays-2017-04-18)
-Ryan Vlastelica; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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