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A Look at Tactical ETFs


El Segundo CA based Cambria Investment Management first entered the ETF space back in 2010 with GTAA (Cambria Global Tactical ETF, Expense Ratio 1.41%) and the fund has raised about $48 million since inception.

Classified as an actively managed ETF and within a broader category of “Diversified Portfolio”, the portfolio managers utilize all asset classes in a tactical approach aimed at “controlling downside losses and protecting capital” according to fund literature.

ETFs are purchased within the GTAA wrapper to employ the investment methodology, and as such the fund currently has exposure to the Commodity Futures markets via WDTI (WisdomTree Managed Futures Strategy, Expense Ratio 0.95%), European Equities via EIRL (iShares MSCI Ireland Capped ETF, Expense Ratio 0.52%) and EWP (iShares MSCI Spain Capped ETF, Expense Ratio 0.52%), the Mortgage Backed bond market via MBB (iShares MBS, Expense Ratio 0.31%), and intermediate term U.S. Treasury bonds via IEF (iShares 7-10 Year Treasury Bond, Expense Ratio 0.15%) for example.

The global tactical approach gives the portfolio managers the facility to access asset classes including “equities, bonds, real estate, commodities, and currency”, also according to fund literature.

Cambria recently made news in the ETF space once more with the launch of SYLD (Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF, Expense Ratio 0.59%) which is categorized as a “Large Cap Value Equity” ETF, so quite different than GTAA.

Again actively managed, but only costing 0.59% which is very “low-end” in terms of pricing in the actively managed ETF space, SYLD “employs the manager’s quantitative algorithm to select U.S. listed companies that show strong characteristics in returning free cash flow to their shareholders.

Specifically, SYLD invests in 100 stocks with market caps greater than $200 million that rank among the highest in a) paying cash dividends, b) engaging in net share repurchases, and c) paying down debt on their balance sheets.

Debuting in May of this year, the fund is clearly still very young, and unlike GTAA investing in individual stock names as opposed to asset class specific ETFs. Top holdings are currently USNA (1.27%), BSX (1.20%), GCI (1.19%), MDP (1.18%), and QUAD (1.16%). In a clearly limited amount of live trading history, SYLD has already raised an impressive $118 million in assets under management while averaging a healthy 75,000 shares traded on an average daily basis.

For more information on Street One ETF research and ETF trade execution/liquidity services, contact Paul Weisbruch at pweisbruch@streetonefinancial.com.

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