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Thursday, July 08, 2004

SSgA Acquires Two ETFs

by: Theresa Sim

A little more than one and a half years after launching two European index-based exchange-traded funds, UBS Asset Management is calling it quits in the domestic ETF business. The asset manager has sold its only U.S. ETFs, the Fresco Dow Jones STOXX 50 Fund and the Fresco Dow Jones Euro STOXX 50 Fund, to SSgA.

SSgA shareholders approved the acquisition on July 1. The firm initially filed a notice with the SEC on April 12, notifying the agency of the special shareholder meeting.

The indices that the two ETFs are based on are managed STOXX Limited, a joint venture company between Deutsche Boerse AG, Dow Jones & Company, and SWX Group.

SSgA said that the funds will be renamed streetTRACKS STOXX 50 Fund and streetTRACKS EuroSTOXX 50 Fund, in line with their streetTRACKS FM family of ETFs. SSgA manages 21 U.S. ETFs including $55 billion in assets.

The streetTRACKS STOXX 50 Fund had $24.5 million in assets at the end of June and the streetTRACKS EuroSTOXX 50 Fund had $92.6 million in assets.

Gus Fleites, managing director of SSgA's Advisor Strategies unit said the funds would give investors "easy exposure to the European and Eurozone markets."

What else in on the horizon for SSgA in the ETF world? SSgA filed an application for a new ETF in June, called the SPDR O-Strip. The fund is based on stocks in the S&P 500 that are traded on the NASDAQ.

SSgA has also been approached by AMEX regarding their solution to actively-managed ETFs, said James Ross, a principal at SSgA. Generally speaking, actively-managed ETFs are still in an "extremely early stage" said Ross, but declined to comment further.

Ross also added that the company is "always open to considering acquisitions and joint ventures." 

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