VanEck Expands Muni Bond ETF Suite

Markets ETF Trends

In a bid to help investors better manage their municipal bond market exposure, VanEck listed two new exchange traded funds to provide a more diversified exposure to intermediate-term muni debt.

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On Tuesday, VanEck launched the VanEck Vectors AMT-Free 12-17 Year Intermediate Municipal Index ETF (BATS: ITML) and VanEck Vectors AMT-Free 6-8 Year Intermediate Municipal Index ETF (BATS: ITMS). ITML and ITMS come with a 0.24% expense ratio.

The two new funds, along with the popular VanEck Vectors AMT-Free Intermediate Municipal Index ETF (NYSEArca: ITM), will allow investors to better micromanage their municipal debt exposure.

“Historically, the intermediate portion of the curve has been a ‘sweet spot’ in munis, having offered one of the greatest potential to gain incremental returns as investments move from longer maturities to shorter maturities, also known as rolling down the yield curve. ITM, and now ITML and ITMS, provide targeted ways for investors to potentially capture that opportunity in highly refined ways,” James Colby, Portfolio Manager with VanEck, said in a press release.

Specifically, ITMS tries to reflect the performance of the Bloomberg Barclays AMT-Free 6-8 Year Intermediate Continuous Municipal Index, which includes investment-grade muni debt with a nominal maturity of six to eight years. The ETF shows an effective duration of 5.68 years – duration reflects a bond fund’s sensitivity to changes in interest rates, so a 1% rise in rates would translate to about a 5.68% decline in the bond fund’s price.

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ITML follows the Bloomberg Barclays AMT-Free 12-17 Year Intermediate Continuous Municipal Index, which includes investment-grade munis with a nominal maturity of 12 to 17 years. The ETF has an effective duration of 7.21 years.

ITM, on the other hand, falls somewhere in the middle with a 6.52 year effective duration.

The three intermediate-term, investment-grade municipal bond ETFs all have large tilts toward New York, California and Texas muni debt. The sector breakdowns also include large weights in state, local, transportation and special tax-related municipal bonds.

The municipal bonds market has been steadily strengthening this year, along with the broader fixed-income market. ITM is up 3.91% year-to-date.

SEE MORE: Muni Bond ETFs Are Still a Crowd Favorite

“The muni market continues to be on a very productive ride here,” Colby told ETF Trends in a call.

However, Colby warned that September has historically been a tough month for munis, so a little pullback could be good for long-term consolidation.

Nevertheless, Colby believes that munis remain attractive as “fundamentals on a tax-equivalent basis stacks up on other fixed-income.”

For more information on the muni bonds market, visit our municipal bonds category.

This article was provided by our partners at ETFTrends.