The market for exchange-traded funds has gotten so large that investors can use them to express their views on essentially any region, asset class, strategy or sector. Increasingly, however, fund providers are trying to offer ways for investors to express their thoughts on politics through where they put their money.
One proposed fund, the Point Bridge GOP Stock Tracker ETF holds companies that are seen as sympathetic to the Republican Party. The ticker, MAGA, is a reference to “make America great again,” the slogan that President Donald Trump used in his successful White House run.
It wasn’t clear when the fund might begin trading.
According to a June filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the fund will track an index of companies “whose employees and political action committees are highly supportive of Republican candidates for election to the United States Congress, the Vice Presidency, or the Presidency and related Republican Party committees,” including the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, as well as Republican leadership PACs.
The index the fund tracks will look at the components of the S&P 500
and then eliminate the names “whose employee households and PAC have made aggregate reported political contributions of less than $25,000 across the two most recent election cycles.” The remaining stocks will be ranked in a process “based primarily on the total net dollars and the net percentage of dollars given by a company’s employees and/or PAC to Republican candidates and Republican committees versus Democratic candidates and Democratic committees.”
It didn’t appear that Point Bridge filed for a second fund with a Democratic Party slant. Currently, the Republican Party controls both the White House and both houses of Congress, along with a majority of governorships and state legislatures.
In an updated filing on Wednesday, Point Bridge wrote that the fund would charge an annual expense ratio of 0.72%, or $72 for every $10,000 invested. That is significantly higher than what is charged for other funds with a large-cap U.S. stock focus, which with it will likely have a large overlap in the names held, though the proportions will be different. A fund that tracks the S&P 500, like the iShares Core S&P 500
can be had for as little as 0.04%.
The filing didn’t say what securities would be held in the fund, instead directing individuals to the website “www.investpolitically.com”, where it said daily portfolio holdings would be available. That link, as of Thursday, simply features a place for users to log in, as well as a tagline, “Shhhh… We must be very very quiet.”
Point Bridge was listed as the fund’s adviser, with Vident Investment Advisory listed as the sub-advisor. Denise Krisko, Vident’s president, was named as the portfolio manager. She did not immediately return a request for a comment.
This is not the first time a politically themed ETF has been suggested. In April, Event Shares, a new ETF issuer, filed for a Republican Policies Fund, a Democratic Policies Fund, a U.S. Tax Reform Fund and a fund that is designed to rise if the European Union breaks up. All four are actively managed, which means their holdings will be handpicked by a manager, as opposed to tracking an index.
The Point Bridge ETF appears to differ from the proposed Event Shares product by focusing on companies that donate to Republican parties, as opposed to ones that a portfolio manager — the Event Shares funds were designed to be actively managed, as opposed to tracking an index — would outperform because Republican politicians were in office.