NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Over the last few months Northern Trust has launched a suite of exchange-traded funds under the FlexShares brand name. The funds launched so far seek to offer slight tweaks on broad-based indices attempting to deliver a superior result. Very recently the firm listed three domestic dividend ETFs as follows:
The three funds all have eight of their respective top 10 stocks in common albeit in slightly different weightings; the top 10 holdings comprise 27% to 29% of each fund. The eight common holdings include a lot of mega caps that typically show up in broad-based funds including Exxon Mobil ( XOM), Altria ( MO) and Microsoft ( MSFT). The FlexShares Web site did not provide results from any backtesting of these funds but it is reasonable to conclude they did test the funds and found enough of a difference in the results to conclude the fund suite would be useful to investors. That seems very unlikely though, given the extreme overlapping of the three funds. This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.