While the popularity of exchange traded notes (“ETNs”) has surged, ETNs can be extremely volatile, and investors run the risk of losing their entire investment. ETNs reportedly hold $17.4 billion in assets, up from under $5 billion five years ago.
Exchange traded notes issued by Credit Suisse have recently traded at prices that were far above and below the true value of the ETN (See “2 ETNs’ manic swings point out peril of use,” by Jason Kephart, InvestmentNews). The true value of an exchange traded note (or any fund) is the net value of the tracked (or held) index or other asset. But when an asset gets hot, like ETNs, it can get overbought, and when something happens to dry up demand, it can get oversold. All of this can happen fast enough to make your head spin. Continue Reading