WisdomTree’s Mysterious And Opaque ETF Filing

By Mani
Updated on

Occasionally a fund filing would stick out for all the wrong reasons. A recent SEC filing from WisdomTree indicating Vident International Equity Fund was quite interesting.

WisdomTree Investments Logo

WisdomTree Trust filed Form N-1 A with SEC highlighting its intention to launch Vident International Equity Fund that would seek to track the price and total return performance of the Vident International Equity Index. The finding was first made by Olly Ludwig of Indexuniverse.

Vident Financial will be developing the Vident International Equity Index underlying the fund.

In the SEC filing, it was indicated that Vident International Equity Fund would focus on developing-world and emerging-market equities.

This recent filing throws some interesting questions.

First, the SEC filing under the heading ‘Portfolio Holding Information’ highlights that the Fund’s daily portfolio holdings would be available at www.videntfinancial.com.

However, a curious click to this website lands you to an ‘under construction’ page. Thus the website turned out to be mostly an empty shell instead of providing any information.

In his interesting note titled ‘Mysterious & Opaque Wisdom Tree ETF Filing, Olly Ludwig feels Wisdom Tree possibly could have waited until more pieces of the puzzle were clear.

On Olly Ludwig seeking more information through the email address provided in the ‘under construction’ page, he got an email response stating:  “Vident Financial is the creator of the Vident International Equity Index (VIE), and is a separate company from Wisdom Tree.”

The major odd factor about the Vident Fund is that it won’t have Wisdom Tree’s name on it when it goes live.

It is quite perplexing why WisdomTree Investments, Inc. (NASDAQ:WETF) is tying up with an external provider when WisdomTree itself has made its own name in the world of ETF’s.

Recently WisdomTree shot up in its ETF rankings to the fifth position in terms of assets, thanks to the success of its blockbuster $8.5 billion WisdomTree Japan Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEARCA:DXJ). Wisdom Tree is the sponsor behind this current best-selling ETF in the world.

Besides WisdomTree Investments, Inc. (NASDAQ:WETF) is the only publicly traded asset manager focused solely on ETF’s.

Olly Ludwig is not sure why Wisdom Tree is looking to an outside index provider viz.: Vident Financial, for its recent fund just coming into registration.

WisdomTree is currently in the regulatory ‘quite-period’ till the fund’s registration statement becomes effective.

Interestingly during last fall, LocalShares, a Nashville, Tenn.-based money management firm, hoped to make its maiden ETF appearance with a Nashville-focused ETF that would track an index of companies headquartered in the firm’s own home city.

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