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Leveraged ETF Ban Spreading Like a Virus


It's nothing but investor losses, frustration motivating this pandemic.

It's official: Leveraged ETFs have been targeted for termination... or at least their usage and availability to clients has been sharply curtailed.

UBS (UBS), Ameriprise (AMP), Raymond James (RJF), Edward Jones, and LPL Financial are either getting out of leveraged ETFs altogether or curtailing client activity in them. Some market pundits claim that these wealth-management-oriented firms are merely focusing on long-term instruments for their clients, because as we all know, Wall Street never chases short-term profits at the expense of the world around it. It has absolutely nothing to do with compliance officers and lawyers freaking out about the inevitable wave of lawsuits that are on the way.

It's all really too bad, because the growing anti-leveraged ETF movement is all just a way of absolving investors and their advisors of personal responsibility.

Let me make something clear: I really don't give a damn about leveraged ETFs. I've never owned one, traded one, or recommended one. At one point, I was tempted to play with the Direxion Daily Financial Bear 3X Shares (FAZ), but decided I didn't want to live with the volatility. I also didn't like all the gobbledygook in the prospectus about potential tracking errors versus the underlying.

What I do give a damn about is investors who may find these instruments useful, losing access to and liquidity in them, as fewer brokers deal in ETFs.

But Mike, you say, "People don't really understand these leveraged ETFs. You can't possibly expect them to pick up a prospectus and get just how dangerous these instruments are!"

Now that's fair enough. Maybe the regulators really do need to protect people from themselves.


How many people read the Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options document issued by the CBOE? You know -- the one that "must be read by an investor prior to buying or selling options contracts." So why don't we just ban people from trading options? Like leveraged ETFs, people might not understand them and therefore they must be protected.
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Position in RJF.
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