Amid this year’s tech rout, some technology-themed funds are seeing outflows and even closing, but fund manufacturers continue to launch products with a tech theme.
The Nasdaq 100 (whose top stocks by market cap include Apple Inc., Microsoft Corp., Alphabet Inc. and Amazon Inc.) is down by 31.6% for the year to June 13.
Just over $100 million had flowed out of technology-themed equity ETFs in Canada this year as of the end of May, according to National Bank Financial.
On May 13, Harvest Portfolios Group Inc. announced it plans to wind up a pair of innovation-themed products — the Harvest Space Innovation Index ETF and the Harvest Digital Sports & Entertainment Index ETF. Those ETFs started trading March 29, 2021 and Nov. 1, 2021, respectively.
“Our product development plans are unaffected by the closure of these two ETFs,” a Harvest spokesperson wrote in an e-mail to Advisor’s Edge. “We remain focused on growth industries, including tech.”
Every year, numerous funds are created and closed across the industry, said Chris Farkas, leader of KPMG Canada’s asset management practice.
“Any time there is any kind of market dislocation, you might get more closures than normal,” Farkas said, not speaking about any funds in particular.
The Harvest Space Innovation Index ETF — which focuses on satellites, space probes and launches — had assets under management of $3.9 million as of May 31, down from $4.69 million on Dec. 31, 2021. Its top holdings included Electro Optic Systems Holdings Limited, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. and Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc.
For its part, the Harvest Digital Sports & Entertainment Index ETF had AUM of $3.43 million as of April 30, up from $1.32 million on Dec 31. Its top holdings included GameStop Corp., CTS Eventim AG & Co. KGaA and Manchester United PLC.
Other manufacturers continue to launch tech products.
Fidelity Investment Canada ULC’s Total Metaverse Index ETF began trading May 18 (there’s also a mutual fund version). CI Global Asset Management launched both the Galaxy Metaverse ETF and Galaxy Blockchain ETF on May 3.
Fidelity and CI said the technology rout hasn’t changed how they approach other tech or growth product launches.
“We continue to evaluate investment opportunities over longer horizons,” a Fidelity spokesperson wrote in an e-mail. “As the [U.S.] Federal Reserve has moved into monetary tightening, higher growth names have come under pressure as future earnings and cash flows are now being discounted at higher rates affecting valuations. While the recent pullback may be giving investors indigestion, markets tend to follow earnings over time.”
The technology selloff “will have some impact on the performance” of the CI Galaxy Metaverse ETF, said Geraldo Ferreira, senior vice-president, head of investment products and manager oversight for CI Global Asset Management, in an e-mailed statement. But he added the CI Galaxy Metaverse ETF is “a diversified portfolio and this should help to mitigate short-term downturns in the performance of the tech sector.”
Fidelity said its metaverse ETF has “significant exposure to technology and digital payment companies” but had returned 3.7% from its inception to June 2.
“It has not participated in the selloff that many tech companies have seen year-to-date,” Fidelity stated. “We do not pay heavy attention to short-term performance as we believe this theme will play out over years and decades with the buildout of the metaverse and ‘Web 3.’”
Thematic funds focused on the metaverse and crypto are here to stay, Farkas said.
“Over time, if investors take a longer-term approach to these things, I think it is a reasonable place to allocate capital if you can withstand the volatility,” Farkas said. “What you decide to do after a rout like this is sort of highly dependent on what your strategy is, but many value investors would say that downturns like this are a great time to buy.”
While tech ETFs have seen outflows this year, more than $750 million had flowed into cryptoasset ETFs this year as of the end of May, according to National Bank Financial.