Another Group of ETF’s Bite The Dust (NTRS, AUS, BRU, SNO, FRC, DAX, HKG, IQE, TAV, ITL, TYI, AEX, LIS, SGT, JNB, LDN, MYG, JRE)

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Northern Trust Corp. (NASDAQ: NTRS) has announced today that the group plans to close the Northern Exchange Traded Shares (NETS) used to track single country investments on February 20, 2009.  These funds were launched just last year and the press release said that these had only approximately $33 million in assets.  You can imagine the reasoning.  Market conditions, inability to raise funds or significant interest….

The following NETS trade on NYSE Arca, and February 9, 2009 will be the last trading day of these funds:

Operational Funds                                                  Symbol
NETS(TM) S&P/ASX 200 Index Fund (Australia)          AUS
NETS(TM) BEL 20(R) Index Fund (Belgium)                BRU
NETS(TM) Hang Seng China Enterprises Index Fund   SNO
NETS(TM) CAC40(R) Index Fund (France)                   FRC
NETS(TM) DAX(R) Index Fund (Germany)                    DAX
NETS(TM) Hang Seng Index Fund (Hong Kong)            HKG
NETS(TM) ISEQ 20(TM) Index Fund (Ireland)                IQE
NETS(TM) TA-25 Index Fund (Israel)                            TAV
NETS(TM) S&P/MIB Index Fund (Italy)                         ITL
NETS(TM) TOPIX(R) Index Fund (Japan)                      TYI
NETS(TM) AEX-index(R) Fund (The Netherlands)          AEX
NETS(TM) PSI 20(R) Index Fund (Portugal)                  LIS
NETS(TM) FTSE Singapore Straits Times Index Fund   SGT
NETS(TM) FTSE/JSE Top 40 Index Fund (South Africa) JNB
NETS(TM) FTSE 100 Index Fund (United Kingdom)       LDN
NETS(TM) FTSE CNBC Global 300 Index Fund             MYG
NETS(TM) Tokyo Stock Exchange REIT Index Fund      JRE

This decision was made after consulting with the internal investmentadvisory group Northern Trust Investments, N.A., which is theinvestment advisor to the 17 funds. 

Any shareholders who still hold shares after the delisting date will beentitled to receive cash in a distribution amount that is the same asthe determined net asset value determined on February 20.

This is the beginning of the end for Northern trust in the ETFbusiness.  It’s press release is even titled "NORTHERN TRUST TO EXITETF BUSINESS."  ETF’s are a great tool when they are liquid and whenthey are well known or offer a specific goal.  But there are many ETF’son the market which have no business being listed as tradinginstruments because they are too complex, too illiquid, or toodifficult to understand.

As small as the ETF’s are, this is a non-event for Northern Trust stock.  But it will be a black eye against it if it wants to go back into exchange traded vehicles.   It also serves as a warning to other ETF or ETN launches if the vehicles are going to be too complicated or if they will have a hard time raising ample capital.

Jon C. Ogg
January 27, 2009