But as mentioned above, the data are compelling. AlphaClone reports an average annualized return of 17% for its strategy when backtested from Jan. 1, 2000 through year-end 2011. That compared to slightly better than break-even for the S&P 500 (that comparison does include S&P 500 dividends).
AlphaClone believes that an important contributing factor to the published results is that the cloning strategy does not have to overcome the typical 2-and-20 pay structure (2% of assets and 20% of profits) that so many hedge funds impose.
To buy this fund would require a belief that the past results can be repeated under the hood of a new ETF, but one thing is clear: This is not the gimmick that it appears to be at first blush.
At the time of publication, Nusbaum had no positions in securities mentioned.This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.