Displaying items by tag: buffer ETFs

Thursday, 30 May 2024 11:36

Buffer ETFs Surging in 2024

In the past two years, retirement investors have funneled over $20 billion into US exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that limit both gains and losses, challenging traditional insurance products. These "buffered" ETFs capitalize on derivatives to cushion the effects of extreme market swings and have grown popular since their 2018 debut, especially after the market turbulence of 2020 and 2022.


The draw of buffered ETFs lies in their downside protection, which has become increasingly attractive to investors seeking to safeguard their retirement savings. Financial advisers in the US have embraced these ETFs, driving $10 billion in net inflows in both 2022 and 2023, while taking market share from the $3.3 trillion annuities market and costly structured notes.


This has grown not only the size but the scope of the market with 200+ defined outcome ETFs in the US, totally a staggering $37bn. In turn new competitors like BlackRock and AllianceBernstein are joining the competition to try and capitalize on the gains from First Trust and Allianz. 

Finsum: The uniqueness of buffer ETFs really is in how they integrate derivatives to drive performance and outcomes and can present nearly all in one solutions. 

Published in Bonds: Total Market
Sunday, 28 April 2024 11:40

Innovators Big Innovations in Buffer ETFs

Innovator Capital Management, a pioneer in defined outcome ETFs, announced the launch of a groundbreaking ETF designed to provide investors with exposure to the equity market while ensuring a complete buffer against losses. The Innovator Equity Defined Protection ETF aims to match the upside return of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, symbolized by SPY, with a cap of 16.62%, while safeguarding against losses from SPY over a two-year outcome period.


Graham Day, the Chief Investment Officer, emphasized the surge in investor interest towards safer options like bank deposits and Treasuries amidst market concerns, hence the necessity for a low-risk market reentry strategy. Innovator's objective with the new fund is to offer clients a means to remain invested in the market with robust risk management, extending their buffer ETF range, which previously spanned buffer levels from 9% to 30%.


Since introducing the world's first buffer ETFs in August 2018, Innovator has witnessed competitors such as First Trust and, more recently, BlackRock, entering the fray with their versions. While the new strategy may not immediately entice investors due to its slightly higher risk and cost, Innovator anticipates competition with traditional cash-like instruments, highlighting the potential tax advantages alongside increased upside potential and complete downside protection.

Finsum: A full 100% buffer could be a major innovation in the risk mitigation space for ETFs.

Published in Wealth Management
Thursday, 18 April 2024 14:28

Buffered ETFs Upside and Downsides

Buffered ETFs are seeing explosive growth. The category had less than $200 million in assets and now has $36.7 billion. The major appeal is that they allow investors to remain fully invested while offering downside protection. 

However, they do tend to have higher costs and may not be appropriate for many investors. Buffered ETFs follow a benchmark while also using stock options to limit downside risk and capping gains on the upside. 

These products are modeled after structured notes, which have proven to be popular among high net worth and institutional investors. Like structured notes, buffered ETFs follow some sort of lifecycle, which means that advisors and investors have to consider market conditions when making a decision. This means they are not appropriate for rebalancing or dollar cost averaging strategies. An important consideration is the start date of the buffer ETF and the performance of the underlying index since the start date, as this could affect the value and desirability of the buffer.

According to Jeff Schwartz, president at the investment analytics firm Markov Processes International, “There is a lot to understand with buffer ETFs, and the history of structured products shows that both advisors and investors often do not fully understand the nuance of these vehicles." 

Finsum: Buffered ETFs are experiencing a surge in growth. The upside is that they allow investors to remain fully invested while capping the downside. However, there are also some downsides to consider.   

Published in Alternatives


Buffered ETFs are a relatively new type of fund that offers a unique risk-management approach. These funds track an underlying index to replicate its performance while providing a "buffer" against significant losses. However, this protection comes at a cost, as the fund's upside is capped at a predetermined level.


As investor interest in buffered ETFs has grown, fund providers have diversified their offerings by tracking various indices and offering a range of buffer and cap levels. Several applications for these funds have also emerged, such as the ability to put cash to use that might otherwise be held out of the market.


Investors in or nearing retirement are particularly susceptible to market volatility, often resorting to holding cash to protect against short-term market fluctuations. While providing protection, this strategy also prevents them from participating in potential market growth.


Buffered ETFs bridge this gap, allowing investors to enjoy market gains up to the defined cap while safeguarding against substantial losses. With this level of protection built into the fund, investors may have more confidence to transition a portion of their portfolio out of cash and back into the market.

Finsum: Investors in or near retirement who fear market downside now have a place to invest that cash they have been holding on the sidelines: buffered ETFS.


Published in Bonds: Total Market

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