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Goldman files for ETF that will keep holdings secret

In applying for exemption to the requirement to disclose an ETF’s portfolio, Goldman Sachs joins a small group of firms testing a new approach.


Goldman Sachs has filed for a new exchange-traded fund (ETF) that it is asking the SEC to exempt from the usual requirement to publish a daily breakdown of its underlying holdings.

In doing so, it becomes the latest of a small band of issuers to have sought the exemption, which was first granted to Precidian Investments in April when it created the ActiveShares ETF model that Goldman will use.

It also adds to the push of the ETF sector into areas of active management, a trend that might help mitigate signs in 2019 that passive investment fatigue might be setting in.

In its marketing materials, Goldman will tell investors that “this ETF is different from traditional ETFs”.

Typically, the SEC requires disclosure of an ETF’s portfolio every day to facilitate the arbitrage mechanism that enables ETF shares to trade close to the net asset value (NAV) of the underlying holdings.

However, Goldman noted that the SEC had recently allowed other actively managed ETFs, such as Precidian, to avoid such disclosures and instead find other ways of enabling the arbitrage process to take place.

Verified intraday indicative value

The new ETF will use a similar mechanism to that at Precidian, with the funds calculating a verified intraday indicative value (VIIV), which will be disclosed every second of a trading day.

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