NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The ETF business is a cutthroat Darwinian one in which only the strongest products survive. Therefore, it is not unusual to see providers announcing the closing of funds which fail to generate an adequate amount of investor interest.While this is natural trimming expected and makes for a stronger ETF industry as a whole, sometimes it is unfortunate to see a fund disappear. In coming weeks, two ETF providers will shutter a number of funds. Claymore Securities, the ETF provider responsible for the popular Claymore/NYSE Arca Airline ETF ( FAA) and Claymore Shipping ETF ( SEA) is preparing to close four members of its ETF lineup. The four Claymore funds slated for execution are Claymore /Zacks Dividend Rotation ( IRO), Claymore/Zacks Country Rotation ( CRO), Claymore/Beacon Global Exchanges, Brokers & Asset Managers Index ( EXB) , and the Claymore/Robb Report Global Luxury Index ( ROB). Grail Advisors, hailed as a leading name in the active ETF space, is preparing to close two of its own ETFs as well: the RP Technology ETF ( RPQ) and the RP Financial ETF ( RFF) . While I have highlighted time and again the importance of constructing an ETF portfolio comprised of large, liquid funds which boast strong average volumes, sometimes it is hard not to root for an illiquid ETF with an interesting investing strategy. ROB has been one illiquid fund always had a soft spot in my heart for. Designed as a pure play for investors seeking exposure to the luxury industry, I have highlighted this ETF on a number of occasions as a unique and interesting way to play the spending habits of affluent consumers with a taste for Hennessey ( LVMHF) and an eye for Tiffany ( TIF). In the absence of ROB, investors looking for exposure to retailers in the 1% will have to settle elsewhere to get their fix. The best option will likely be a broader consumer focused ETFs such as SPDR S&P Retail ETF ( XRT). While XRT boasts exposure to some of the companies represented in ROB and, with an average volume over 16 million, is a strong, stable way to play the broad consumer picture and even, it is hard to say that the SPDR ETF is designed with luxury in mind. I still believe that high-end retail is a neat market niche and with any luck Claymore or some other fund provider will revisit the idea of launching a similar ETF to ROB in the near future. However, in the mean time it is more important for investors holding ROB or any of the other funds highlighted for closure in coming weeks to maintain a level head and prepare for the their final days.
The Claymore products will conclude trading on Sept. 10 while Grail's funds will see their last day of trading on Aug. 30. Up until these dates, investors are free to buy and sell shares of these products as they please. Although trading will essentially go on as usual, during this time investors may start shedding shares in droves. This can cause ROB, RPQ and others to trade at a steep discount. Therefore, it will be crucial to use extreme caution. If by Sept. 10 you still have exposure to any of the Claymore products slated for extinction, funds will be locked up until Sept. 17. This is not a reason to worry unless shares take a heavy knock. Rather, on the 17th, shareholders will be issued a cash payout representative of the position's value as of that date. This will include any dividends and capital gains. Shares of RPQ and RFF will be redeemed for cash on Aug. 31. -- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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