Ok, let’s revisit the “FAANG” ETF.
You remember that, right?
I’m talking about the AdvisorShares “New Tech and Media ETF”, which trades under the ticker “FNG.”
We profiled that “miracle” of market innovation the day it started trading in a post called “AdvisorShares ‘Hopes’ They Didn’t Call The Top With ‘FANG’ ETF, But If They Did, You Can Always Short It.”
That post is hilarious and you really should read it in full for a good, hearty laugh, but suffice to say AdvisorShares was trying to take advantage of the “FAANG”/”FAAMG” euphoria by creating an ETF with a ticker symbol that sounded like the acronym for the market’s hottest stocks.
Obviously, that’s a cheap ploy to lure gullible retail investors who are desperate to get in on a rally they might have missed.
But actually, the ploy wasn’t “cheap” at all.
In fact, this particular ploy is expensive as hell. The expense ratio for FNG is a whopping 0.85%.
Why wouldn’t you just buy QQQ, you ask?
Well, that’s a good fucking question. And the answer, according to the ETF’s official website, is that “the actively managed aspect of FNG allows for evolution and relevance, as opposed to the constraints and staleness that can follow index-based ETFs”
But it gets funnier – infinitely funnier.
Asked by CNBC if he had effectively rung a bell at the top by launching FNG, AdvisorShares boss Noah Hamman offered this reassuring assessment:
I hope not.
That said, Hamman explained that even if he did just ring a bell at the top, there’s a silver lining:
Because we launched it as an ETF, you get all the benefits of the ETF by its exposure, but because it’s diversified in the ETF, it’s a great way to hedge. Obviously, you’d need to short the ETF to do that, but it’s an option.
We summed up our feeling on that as follows:
Ok, so we thought given last week’s market turmoil we’d check in on Noah’s ETF to see if “the actively managed aspect of FNG” had indeed allowed the vehicle to “evolve” with the rapidly shifting investment landscape.
Unsurprisingly, the answer is definitively “no.”
Here’s how FNG has performed relative to QQQ since it was launched last month (do note the difference in the scales in the bottom panes):
So for only four times the cost, you too could be underperforming QQQ!
Do note that FNG did not hold up very well under pressure last week.
So in answer to the question implicit in Noah’s tweet to us:
It’s not so much that investors shouldn’t buy any ETF, it’s that they shouldn’t buy this ETF.
But like Hamman said when FNG debuted, you can always short it.
And happily, you can buy puts now too.