Some EFTs are deliberately filled with toxic slop

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Photo by The Library of Congress

Some EFTs apparently are little more than sewer catchments for Wall Street to sell risky junk to then foist upon an unsuspecting public as solid investments. Astonishingly, many of them have no physical assets but instead own risky and deliberately opaque financial instruments like swaps which a retail investor has little hope of understanding. This of course is quite deliberate.

The vast majority of ETPs {Eletronically Traded Products] have very low levels of assets under management and illiquid trading volumes. Many of these have illiquid underlying assets and a large group of ETPs are based on derivatives that are not backed by physical assets such as stocks, bonds or commodities, but rather swaps or other types of complex contracts. Many of these products may have been designed to take what were originally illiquid assets from the books of operators, bundle them into an ETP to make them appear liquid and sell them off to unsuspecting investors. The data suggests this is evidenced by ETPs that are formed, have enough volume in the early stage of their existence to sell shares, but then barely trade again while still remaining listed for sale. This is reminiscent of the mortgage-backed securities bundles sold previous to the last financial crisis in 2008.”

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