Last year, Barclays launched its iPath brand of exchange traded notes. On the surface, they resemble exchange-traded funds. But ETNs and ETFs are in fact quite different, even though the both look like exchange-listed index funds, as your editor observed in the February issue of Wealth Manager. At the moment, there are four ETNs:
iPath GSCI Total Return Index (GSP)
iPath Dow Jones-AIG Commodity Index Total Return (DJP)
iPath Goldman Sachs Crude Oil Total Return Index (OIL)
iPath MSCI India Index (INP)
More are coming. In fact, there’s talk that ETNs may eventually track indices and asset classes that aren’t viable for the ETF structure. Maybe. Meanwhile, the burning questions include: Are ETNs superior to ETFs? Are they riskier? Are they a worthwhile alternative to ETFs? In short, What’s the deal with ETNs? In search of some answers, here’s my report from the latest issue of WM….