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Leveraged ETFs Could ‘Blow Up’ Whole Industry, Says BlackRock CEO

May 30th, 2014 by James

Leveraged exchange-traded funds contain structural problems that may “blow up” the whole industry one day, BlackRock Inc (BLK.N) Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink said.

blackRock Inc Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink

“We’d never do one (a leveraged ETF),” Fink said at a Deutsche Bank investment conference in New York. “They have a structural problem that could blow up the whole industry one day.”

“If you want to create a safer and sounder marketplace, it has to be at the product level,” Fink said. He added regulators should focus on the structure of financial products.

ProShares, a leading leveraged ETF firm, disagreed with the remarks of Fink. “Leveraged ETFs are well regulated, transparent products and there is no credible evidence that they have any harmful effect on the markets or our industry,” said Tucker Hewes, a spokesman for ProShares.

Deborah Fuhr, managing partner of ETF research firm ETFGI LLP, said there were nearly 270 leveraged ETF funds with $30.3 billion in assets at the end of April. Fuhr added leveraged ETFs have attracted $1.8 billion in net new assets during the first four months of 2014.

The industry’s largest leveraged ETF is the ProShares UltraShort 20+ Year Treasury (TBT.P), which has about $4 billion in assets.

Leveraged ETFs account for 1.2 percent of the $2.5 trillion in global ETF assets under management.

In the past, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission staffers have issued warnings about leveraged ETFs but no action has been taken till date to curb their availability.

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