The regulatory uncertainty facing the
United States Natural Gas ETF
continues to present a compelling reason why investors looking to gain exposure to natural gas should choose the
First Trust ISE-Revere Natural Gas Index Fund
For more information on this subject, check on my article on "A Natural-Gas ETF With Fewer Headaches" in
For the month ending July 17, FCG rose 0.12% while UNG fell 12.60%. More recently, UNG rose 10.14% for the week ending July 17 while FCG rose 12.57%.
FCG tracks a basket of exchange-listed companies that derive a substantial portion of their revenues from the exploration and production of natural gas. FCG ranks natural gas companies according to P/E ratio, Price/Book ratio, Return on Equity and the correlation to gas futures prices. The fund's methodology is also designed to ward off illiquid companies with market caps that do not meet the standard.
UNG is a complex, non-traditional ETF that is designed for sophisticated investors. There are three compelling reasons why "regular" investors should consider FCG instead of UNG:
UNG tracks a basket of natural gas futures contracts and swaps. Each month current underlying futures expire and the fund must "roll" the contracts into the next month. This process can cause the fund to deviate from its net asset value (NAV). See my
FCG, on the other hand, is a traditional ETF that tracks a basket of stocks. FCG can be easily hedged, and is more likely to reflect what it's worth. See my article on
Current Regulatory Problems:
UNG issuers were forced to stop creating new shares of the ETF on July 7 when the fund had reached its regulatory limit. Since then, UNG has been stuck in ETF purgatory as the fund awaits approval from the SEC. The halt of the creation/redemption process jars the fund away from its underlying value while breaking one of the fundamental promises of ETFs. See my article,
FCG, which has a different, more traditional, design, is not registered in the same manner as UNG.
Future Regulatory Problems:
Gary Gensler, chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced that the regulatory group will hold a hearing to discuss possible position limits on commodities. The CFTC is currently concerned that commodity prices are overly influenced by speculators. Any changes in these regulations could affect UNG's shareholders.
FCG shareholders do not have to worry about the upcoming regulatory hearings.
At the time of publication, Dion did not own any of the funds mentioned.
Don Dion is the publisher of the Fidelity Independent Adviser family of newsletters, which provides to a broad range of investors his commentary on the financial markets, with a specific emphasis on mutual funds and exchange-traded funds. With more than 100,000 subscribers in the U.S. and 29 other countries, Fidelity Independent Adviser publishes six monthly newsletters and three weekly newsletters. Its flagship publication, Fidelity Independent Adviser, has been published monthly for 11 years and reaches 40,000 subscribers.
Dion is also president and founder of Dion Money Management, a fee-based investment advisory firm to affluent individuals, families and nonprofit organizations, where he is responsible for setting investment policy, creating custom portfolios and overseeing the performance of client accounts. Founded in 1996 and based in Williamstown, Mass., Dion Money Management manages assets for clients in 49 states and 11 countries. Dion is a licensed attorney in Massachusetts and Maine and has more than 25 years' experience working in the financial markets, having founded and run two publicly traded companies before establishing Dion Money Management.