If investing in master limited partnerships was getting confusing already, now investors have a new investment vehicle that allows them to invest in the smaller or “junior” MLPs without taking on the risks of just one of the more speculative players out there. Global X Funds is launching the Junior MLP ETF (NYSEMKT: MLPJ) for investors. The Junior MLP ETF is the first and only ETF that targets only the small-cap segment of the MLP market.
The company’s release shows that small-cap MLPs often control increasingly important energy assets and are active in the exploration, transportation and storage of domestic energy resources. The problem is that they are often overlooked because they are not included in major MLP indices. That also means that they are not typically in the other MLP ETF and ETN products.
Global X also said that these smaller MLPs have in some cases not experienced the same sort of price growth as their larger counterparts and may offer value at current levels.
The Global X Junior MLP ETF tracks exposure to the Solactive Junior MLP Index as the MLP benchmark index for small-cap energy and resource master limited partnerships. The index currently consists of 25 MLPs. Its three largest components of the index were Suburban Propane Partners L.P. (NYSE: SPH), Northern Tier Energy L.P. (NYSE: NTI) and Alliance Resource Partners L.P. (NASDAQ: ARLP).
According to a 2012 report from the International Energy Association, the United States will become the world’s largest oil producer by 2017 and a net exporter of natural gas by 2020. Junior MLPs are poised to benefit from the U.S. energy renaissance, providing critical infrastructure for the exploration and production, transportation and storage of this increase in domestic energy and offering investors a means to access this growth. Despite a difficult IPO market, four energy-related MLPs have made their IPO debuts in 2012 alone, as the smaller-cap segment of the industry continues to expand.