Investors Will Buy Anything

Last Friday, I posted a satirical article called First 100x Leveraged ETFs. It made fun of the trend toward higher leverage among ETF products. First we had the doublers (2x), then the triplers (3x), and I projected what would happen if we got up to 100x, which is 10,000% the return of the underlying index. I used the bogus symbols SOAR and SINK for the two fake ETFs mentioned, the former following the index at 100x and the latter following the inverse of the index at 100x.

The article was clearly sarcastic, written in the style of The Onion, as the following excerpt shows:

“These are intended for attentive traders only,” said Kelly Capital Chief Executive Officer Jason Kelly at the press conference following the launch party in New York City. “The extreme leverage employed will cause both funds to go bankrupt within the course of most trading days. However, those paying attention during the day will be able to maneuver in and out of the funds before they crash to zero.”

Kelly Capital will reset and relaunch the funds at the beginning of each trading day. The company is in talks with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) about the possibility of relaunching the funds after lunch should they go bust in the morning session, but the SEC is balking. SEC spokesperson Ben Meriwether remarked, “We recognize the right of investors to employ as much leverage needed to find fortune or ruin in a day, we just aren’t sure of the need to extend that right twice per day.”

Kelly thinks the SEC will come around to his firm’s way of thinking on the issue, but is happy for now that investors will have access to the funds at least once per day. “Investors these days aren’t content to wait years for returns on their investment. They want to know the outcome as quickly as possible, and at 100x leverage our products currently offer the fastest investment outcomes.”

To my dismay, a deluge of email poured in from investors, most of whom wanted to buy either SOAR or SINK. I categorized the responses by type, and came up with these rounded results:

10% Thought I should stop joking around and get back to work
20% Loved the humor and wished for more

15% Wondered which I thought better, SOAR or SINK
20% Complained that their broker didn’t offer either
30% Wanted me to let them know when the ETFs were available

5% Were pretty sure they already owned the ETFs…somewhere

A full 65% of people expressed an interest in owning products that would “go bankrupt within the course of most trading days.” A stunning 5% thought they already owned them. Only 30% of respondents got the humor.

With results like these, no wonder financial companies can foist off just about anything on investors.

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