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Can you tell a fake ETF from a real ETF? – Citywire USA

Not a week goes by without a weird or wacky ETF coming to market with a tortured ticker or idiosyncratic index. 
A flurry of such funds has launched in 2022 but how many have achieved their aim and caught your eye? And can you tell a real ETF from a made-up one, based only on their name, ticker, and literature that has been largely cut and pasted from their prospectus (or imagined prospectus)?
To test your ETF knowledge, and because, well, it’s still summer, the Alexes have devised a fiendish quiz to see if you can tell apart quirky funds that have actually been launched this year from those that are made up (at least for now). 
Answers at the bottom. No cheating! 
1. Corporate Culture Leaders ETF (HAPY): The ETF tracks an index of equity securities of U.S. companies that are corporate culture leaders based on scores produced by Irrational Capital LLC, which uses a rules-based methodology that seeks to identify companies that best manage their human capital, resulting in highly motivated and engaged employees.
2. KPOP and Korean Entertainment ETF (KPOP): This ETF aims to offer exposure to the Korea Exchange-listed companies that may potentially benefit from the growth of the K-pop industry. The Index Provider uses natural language artificial intelligence algorithms to review publicly available information about the companies in the initial universe to identify those that describe themselves as being engaged in Korean popular music, movies, drama, entertainment, and interactive media content.
3. Fake News ETF (FAKE): The ETF tracks the Solactive Disinformation & Dissemination Index, which is composed of securities issued by global media conglomerates and social media platforms. A stock’s position in the index is based on its Believability and Sensationality™ (BS) score, with corporations publishing and sharing the least accurate news, and thus getting the most eyeballs, weighted highest. 
4. Breakfast Commodities Strategy ETF (BRKY): The fund tracks the GSCI Dynamic Roll Breakfast (OJ 5% Capped) index, which contains a selection of food-based commodities related to a breakfast meal, such as corn, coffee, lean hogs, orange juice frozen concentrate, sugar, and wheat. Each category is weighted based on world production, except orange juice which is capped at 5%. 
5. 420 to 69 ETF (LULZ): This is the first ETF to be completely controlled by its potential shareholders. As the result of an open vote held on reddit.com, internet users instructed the Advisor to endeavor to purchase available publicly traded securities at $4.20, $42.00 or $420 and endeavor to sell them at $6.90, $69.00 or $690.00, respectively. 
6. ROC ETF (ROCI): ROC (Return on Character) Investments, the subadvisor for the ROC ETF (ROCI), believes the market consistently misprices the value of exceptional leadership over the long term. The ROC ETF purchases U.S. companies whose management’s behavior exemplifies what we believe to be the highest level of character. 
7. Hot Waitress ETF (TIPS): This actively managed ETF seeks to outperform its benchmark by utilizing proprietary data regarding the attractiveness of restaurant servers in cities around the United States. During times of Abnormal Server Attractiveness (ASA), the Advisor will seek to implement a leveraged long position on the S&P 500. During times of Abnormal Server Unattractiveness (ASU), the Advisor will seek to invest in money market funds.
8. Subversive Metaverse ETF (PUNK): An actively managed fund that invests in stocks that provide services and products that support the infrastructure and applications of the metaverse. Picked by a committee of metaverse experts, stocks are weighted on how subversive they are. The fund will never own but sometimes short Meta Platforms, which the manager deems to be ‘a direct assault on liberal democracy and the survival of our planet.’
9. AI Earnings Transcript ETF (JGON): The ETF tracks an index of equity securities of U.S-listed companies scored and weighted on the positivity of language used by executives on quarterly corporate earning calls. The Subadvisor uses a proprietary Machine Learning (ML) model to screen transcripts for signs of concern in CEO comments, like ‘going really well, as far as we know’ ‘definitely no need to panic’ and ‘it might be too early for you, but I need a drink.’ 
10. Anti-Capitalist ETF (MARX): Designed for investors with anti-capitalist values, this ETF serves to support not-for-profit organizations. More specifically, the Fund seeks to invest in companies that have not reported positive earnings in two consecutive quarters since inception.
11. Short CEO ETF (DWRF): The Advisor of this actively managed ETF believes that society’s bias against Short Individuals (SI’s) presents an opportunity for positive risk-adjusted returns. The DWRF ETF purchases shares of US companies run by SI’s, who have attained their CEO positions as a result of their inherent skills and work ethic, rather than simply because of their heights.
1. Real! Called the Harbor Corporate Culture Leaders ETF, the fund uses research from behavioral economist Dan Ariely, whose work looks at how ‘happy and motivated employees can generate better outcomes for companies and investors.’
2. Real! Is there anything AI can’t do?
3. Fake! Although… no less so than what you read in the papers. Amiright?!
4. This is a real fund from one of the kings of quirky ETFs, Direxion. The fund went live in June, just in time for commodities to sell off sharply.
5. While this ETF isn’t real, it’s our understanding that similar strategies are currently being utilized by quantitative hedge funds and other institutional players.
6. Real, and run by a newly formed company called ROC Investments. In case you’re wondering how they measure character, they apparently use ‘proprietary algorithms’ to evaluate external CEO communications, and even in some cases interview the CEO’s colleagues. All of this info is combined through what they assure us is a ‘complex statistical analysis methodology.’
7. While this isn’t real, it’s unfortunately based on a real thing called the Hot Waitress Economic Index, which is the subject of a particularly cringe-inducing Investopedia write-up.
8. This is a real fund from New York-based asset manager Subversive Capital, which was launched in 2022. The ETF is one of five metaverse-themed funds to come to market so far this year. Crowded.
9. Fake! ‘Oh gosh, it’s much worse than we thought.’
10. Not real… but basically a tech growth stock ETF, no?
11. Not real, but Alex Rosenberg thinks this one makes a lot of sense. Alex Steger doesn’t see eye to eye with him.
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Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.