Guggenheim Lands ETF Pioneer

NEW YORK (TheStreet) --In the latter half of 2011, investors have watched the consolidation in the ETF realm. As I noted a few weeks ago, fund provider Van Eck is currently in the process of taking over a portion of Merrill Lynch's line of HOLDRs exchange traded products.

This week, it was announced that Guggenheim Partners was planning to expand its own family of ETFs by taking over control of RydexSGI. This move marks the second notable ETF-related acquisition from Guggenheim. Around this time a year ago, the firm took over Claymore. As a result of this deal, Guggenheim acquired ETFs including the Guggenheim Solar ETF ( TAN), Guggenheim Canadian Energy Income ETF ( ENY) and the Guggenheim Airline ETF ( FAA).

The Rydex acquisition is an important and exciting move for Guggenheim. According to InvestmentNews, the acquisition of acquiring Rydex's line of ETFs will allow Guggenheim's ETF business to expand to nearly $19 billion, making it the tenth largest fund provider in the ETF universe.

The growth that comes with this deal is impressive. However, it is important to note that Guggenheim's newest acquisition brings with it a great deal of historical value as well.

As an independent ETF provider, Rydex has played an instrumental role in transforming the ETF industry into what it is today.

The company initially ventured into the ETF industry in 2003, launching the Rydex S&P Equal Weight ETF ( RSP), the first exchange-traded product to use an alternative weighting methodology.

Since the launch of RSP, Rydex has dramatically expanded its suite of equal-weight ETFs to 18. Using these funds, investors can tap into various styles, sectors and international markets.

This firm was also responsible for the launch of the first ever currency ETF: the CurrencyShares Euro Trust ( FXE). In response to the wild popularity of FXE, Rydex has since gone on to become a leader in the currency realm, creating products under its CurrencyShares brand that allow investors to target foreign currencies ranging from the Australian dollar to the Russian Ruble.

Rydex has a long history in the leveraged ETF industry. Once considered a pioneer in this corner of the ETF industry, in 2010, the company announced that it was pulling the plug on 12 of the 14 leveraged and inverse funds under its watch. Currently, only the Rydex 2x S&P 500 ETF ( RSU) and the Rydex Inverse 2x S&P 500 ETF ( RSW) remain.

Rydex continues to rely on unique products to carve out a name for itself within in the ETF universe. Aside from its family of equal-weighted funds, its CurrencyShares ETFs and its small line of leveraged funds, the firm also boasts a unique collection of pure style products.

Investors should continue to keep a close watch on Guggenheim in the weeks ahead as we learn more as to what the firm has planned for Rydex's historic and storied line of funds. In a fashion similar to when the firm acquired Claymore, we can likely expect widespread rebranding to take place across the Rydex line.

Guggenheim appears to be taking the correct steps as it works to solidify its place within the Darwinian ETF universe. It will also be exciting to see where it intends to turn next.

-- Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.

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At the time of publication, Dion Money Management did not own any funds mentioned.

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