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Thursday, February 17, 2000

State Street's Confidential Filing

Reported by Hayley Green

State Street Global Advisors has filed nine exchange traded funds (ETFs) to be launched in late May, but the Boston-based firm is being totally tight-lipped about two of the funds which were filed confidentially, essentially meaning that the filings are kept from public view until just prior to the launch.

The seven funds that are not confidential include: a large-cap growth fund, a large-cap value fund, a small-cap growth fund, a small-cap value fund based on the Global Titans, a REIT index, a small-cap index and a technology fund, according to a State Street spokesperson.

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The industry is speculating that State Street is keeping the two no-name ETFs under wraps because they track an index of which State Street probably does not yet have the rights. One industry insider said, "There are probably questions about rights to licensing or a procedure that they were trying to get exemptions from. The less people know the better. Law firms get off at playing these games. That's why they get the big bucks."

Bruce Katz, director of the capital management group division at Avatar Associates, an advisory firm located in New York, with about $3 billion in assets said, "State Street is doing everything that Barclays is doing in the market. The first person in the market gets the lion share."

"I can't think of when I have ever seen a filing like this," said John Baker, of counsel at the law firm Stradley, Ronon, Stevens & Young. "It is unusual to file a mutual fund completely confidentially. It suggests they have some secret business plan they have to tell the SEC about but don't want to tell the world."

Mike Gillespie, who prepared the filing for State Street would not comment on the reason why the filing was made confidentially. 

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