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10 Most Successful New ETFs of 2010

3. iShares MSCI Poland Index Fund (EPOL)

When iShares launched EPOL, many in the industry were eager to see how the new fund would perform in a space already covered by Van Eck's PLND. This ETF, which tracks the MSCI Poland Investable Market Index, has been a big hit; between the launch in late May and the end of the following month, EPOL's inflows were an eye-popping $57 million.

2. ETFS Palladium Shares (PALL)

The launch of the first U.S.-listed physically backed palladium ETF seems like ages ago. After clearing some major regulatory hurdles, PALL debuted early in January amidst great hype from investors looking to expand their precious metals portfolio beyond gold and silver. PALL helped to put ETF Securities on the map in the U.S.; this fund saw inflows of $355 million in the first half of the year, or more than $2 million per day.

1. ETFS Platinum Shares (PPLT)

The impressive interest in platinum has been exceeded only by demand for another PGM. PPLT burst on to the ETF scene as the first physically backed fund offering exposure to platinum (PGM and PTM had previously offered exposure to the metal through a futures-based strategy). That distinction was an important one to investors, as PPLT has been the most successful new ETF launch of 2010. Since debuting in January, cash flows totaled almost $450 million, or more than $2.5 million for each day.

Drawing Conclusions

The composition of the foregoing list sheds some light on the current state of the ETF industry. With the exception of SCHE, the most successful new ETFs have not been broad-based "plain vanilla" products, but rather funds offering more targeted and unique exposure. Despite reports of a "saturation point" in the industry, it's clear that there is significant demand for new products that cater to corners of the investable market not readily accessible for most investors. That should be an encouraging sign to any ETF issuer with new funds in the pipeline. It's also interesting to note that interest in leveraged ETFs remains high, as funds from both Direxion and ProShares made the list here.

The pace of new fund launches has slowed a bit in recent months, but the pipeline has continued to fill with intriguing ideas

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.
Michael Johnston is the senior analyst and founder of ETF Database, a Web-based investment resource providing actionable ETF investment ideas and an ETF Screener for investors analyzing potential ETF investments. Johnston oversees ETF Database's free ETF Newsletter, one of the most popular sources for news and commentary focusing exclusively on the exchange-traded fund industry. Johnston also maintains and develops content for ETFdb Pro, a line of analyst reports and model portfolios designed to help investors utilize ETFs to meet their investment goals.

Johnston has completed the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program, and obtained his bachelor's degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame. Prior to founding ETF Database, Michael worked in a private client service group performing valuations of companies operating in a wide range of industries.
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