While outstanding earnings from large banks like Goldman Sachs (GS) and Wells Fargo (WFC) have helped big banks to make positive headlines, many investors are still justifiably wary of the financial sector. FBR Capital Markets (FBCM) and First Trust offer funds that help give exposure to smaller, and often healthier, banks.
The new fund, First Trust NASDAQ ABA Community Bank Index Fund (QABA) exposes investors to smaller, less-risky banks. Though the fund was only released July 1, it already faces competition from mutual funds such as FBR Small Cap Financial (FBRSX) that invest in similar banks but have an established track record.
In the past 24 months, investing in banks has been a risky endeavor. Although a lot of news reports are saying that the worst of the ordeal may be behind us, many investors are still hesitant to hold the same institutions that just six months ago were at the verge of breaking down.
QABA is the latest instrument by First Trust, the same institution that boasts more than 30 ETFs including First Trust ISE Global Wind Energy Index Fund (FAN) and First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund (FCG). FBRSX, as I reported on in our article on regional banks and ETFs, is managed by David Ellison, the fund manager for a number of FBR Capital Markets mutual and hedge funds.Because the aim of both funds is to follow the small-cap banking sector, their holdings consist of a number of similarly run banks and financial institutions. However, QABA with its 96 holdings may be more broadly spread across the sector than FBRSX with only 67 holdings. Investors may benefit from analyzing other aspects of the two funds before making a decision as to which one they would like to place their money in.
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