Even after a couple of years of dramatic development in the thematic ETF space, issuers are still battling to bring ‘firsts’ to market, this time in the metaverse space.

ETC Group announced on 10 March it would be partnering with white-label ETF issuer HANetf to launch a metaverse ETF.

Just four days later, the issuer of the world’s first and largest metaverse ETF, Roundhill investments, announced it would launch a European version of its $710m Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF (METV).

Only three days after that, ETC Group answered the question of which metaverse ETF would come to market first listing the ETC Group Global Metaverse UCITS ETF (METR) on the London Stock Exchange with a total expense ratio (TER) of 0.65%.

Roundhill plans to launch its European METV product as soon as next week on the Deutsche Boerse with a fee of 0.59%. It added it is considering a listing on the London Stock Exchange in due course.

While METR is first to market, it will be interesting to see if METV’s lower fee, recognised name and subsequent listings will allow it to claw back ground over the coming months.

SFDR is key tool for evaluating ESG

Earlier this week, Brown Brothers Harriman published its annual survey of investor views on the ETF landscape including how they apply ESG metrics in their allocations.

Interestingly, the survey found 28% of European investors rely of the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) article classifications when evaluating which ESG ETFs, more than any other tool.

Additionally, 47% of investors in Europe said they select ETFs classified under the ‘lighter green’ Article 8 of SFDR while 27% select products under the ‘darker green’ Article 9. 

The influence SFDR has had in its first year since coming into effect highlights how much investors value having a recognised authority when gauging the ESG credentials of a fund. How SFDR is used will also change as phase two of the regulation is implemented next year.

Holdings in gold ETFs at one-year high

After facing difficulty during the pandemic recovery phase of 2021, gold exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) have staged a heroic comeback amid 2022’s inflationary and geopolitics-based market volatility.

Highlighting this, four gold ETCs collectively saw in excess of $3.2bn inflows in the week to 14 March alone, taking holdings in gold ETFs to a one-year high, according to Saxo Bank.

Despite a correction in oil causing a 7% decline in the price of gold in one week, investors continue to rotate into the precious metal as the Russia-Ukraine situation remains uncertain, Chinese equities continue to display volatility and some anticipate as many as seven rates hikes by the Federal Reserve this year.

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