As exchange-traded products have proliferated in the marketplace, the once simple product has become much more complex and is perhaps even a trap for unsuspecting investors. These products, which include ETFs, ETNs, ETCs warrant a discussion of a plan of action for helping clients identify the right choice.

Since 1993, when the first U.S. ETF came to market, this industry has grown to 1,473 issues and $1.3 trillion. At the simplest level, the objective of an ETP is to track the performance of an index of equities, fixed-income securities, commodities, or currencies as closely as possible. However, how each ETP structure achieves that goal can be drastically different.

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