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Thursday, September 28, 2006

ETFs Could See Streamlined Approval Process

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

The SEC is eyeing a more friendly regime for exchange-traded funds, according to a published report. In the meantime, ETF advisors may want to look to Europe for opportunities in active management, capital protection and basic commidities such as aluminum and wheat, if they accept a thesis in the Wall Street Journal. The paper points out that looser regulations are helping make Europe the trial ground for new ETF concepts. Some of those concepts, like leveraged funds and oil and gold funds, have made the leap to Wall Street.

The WSJ adds that an SEC official has hinted that the Commission may steamline the process it uses to approve ETFs. One possible way would be to eliminate the current requirement that each ETF receive its own exemption.

The new concepts are debuting in Europe because of "friendlier regulators" there, according to the paper. The Forthy Act also discourages innovation by funds in the U.S., according to the paper's sources.

"It is a much less stringent registration process," Dodd Kittsley, head of ETF research at State Street Global Advisors, is quoted as saying. "It's led to new concepts coming out first in Europe and Asia, as opposed to over here, but it is a relatively small market."  

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