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How Goldman Sachs Is Opening Up Its Expertise to the Average Investor

February 19, 2016, 8:27 PM UTC
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Goldman Sachs Group Inc. signage is displayed on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, U.S., on Thursday, June 2, 2011.
Photograph by Bloomberg via Getty Images

Goldman Sachs is adapting one of its most popular research reports into an exchange-traded fund, which could become a cheaper alternative for investors who want the bank’s expertise.

The investment banking giant is creating an ETF based off of “Hedge Fund Trend Monitor,” Goldman Sachs’ report that tracks its namesake—hedge funds managing at least $100 million—and the 50 stocks in which they collectively have the largest position, Bloomberg reported. The bank has filed a registration for the ETF with the securities and exchange commission.

It’s not the first ETF to track stocks based on hedge fund positions—but it is the first time a Wall Street bank has used an in-house research report as the root of an ETF. Roughly defined, ETFs are indexes that track a basket of securities, commodities, or assets, and trade like securities.

This soon-to-be ETF, named Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund VIP ETF according to a regulatory filing, may have the potential to outstrip existing hedge fund-tracking ETFs. Bloomberg pointed toward one of the most popular hedge fund-tracking ETFs currently on the market, Global X Guru Index, which has posted a total return of 39.60% between June 4, 2012 and Feb. 12, 2016.

In the same period, Goldman Sachs’ VIP Hedge Fund Index posted a total return of 79.43%.

It is also likely to be relatively cheap, based on the cost of Goldman’s current line of smart-beta ETFs. ETFs are also generally cheaper than mutual funds.

Goldman Sachs analysts Ben Snider and David Kostin along with their team compile the report based on 13F reports that hedge funds with over $100 million under management are required to file quarterly.

The most recent iteration of the trend monitor report tracked 836 hedge funds in the third quarter, accounting for $2.1 trillion worth in equity positions.

Goldman Sachs’ decision to file a registration for the ETF also comes on the heels of an underwhelming 2015, when hedge funds as a whole underperformed—raising the question as to whether offering an ETF based off of hedge fund positions in the near future is good timing. Goldman Sachs’ hedge fund VIP basket lagged behind the S&P 500 by 537 basis points in from January to Nov. 20, 2015.