As ETFs Multiply, Companies Scramble To Concoct Memorable Ticker Symbols (GGGG, SOIL, DUST, BARN, FISN)

“In a crowded market for exchange-traded funds, some industry heavyweights employ clever marketing to make their products stand out. BlackRock Inc.’s iShares is a Cirque du Soleil sponsor, while State Street Global Advisors uses a professional golfer known as Spiderman as a pitchman for its SPDR funds.”

“But for most companies, the way to make an impression is to come up with attention-grabbing ticker symbols. A symbol can stand out for being literal (SOIL, Global X Fertilizers/Potash), figurative (DUST, Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X) or just plain alluring (GGGG, Global X Pure Gold Miners).”

“But finding a catchy symbol can be tough these days. Many have already been taken: 1,350 symbols are in use on the NYSE Arca alone, the biggest U.S. market for exchange-traded products. That’s up 108% over the past five years, says Ms. Morrison. In addition, fund firms have reserved 2,446 symbols for future products, with about six new ones being reserved each day, she says. Then there are the tickers of bygone ETFs, whose association with failure means many firms won’t use them.”

“When fund companies are preparing to launch a new ETF, they generally come up with a long list of potential ticker symbols that is often the product of a cross-departmental brainstorm. With many three-letter symbols used up, they’re focusing on four-letter ones—and considering words only elliptically related to the actual fund.”

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Related Tickers: Global X Pure Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca:GGGG), Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X ETF (NYSEArca:DUST), Global X Fertilizers/Potash ETF (NYSEArca:SOIL), Global X Farming ETF (NYSEArca:BARN), Global X Fishing Industry ETF (NYSEArca:FISN).

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