Big Data Shoots for Big Future Returns

Jim Woods

Jim Woods has over 20 years of experience in the markets from working as a stockbroker, financial journalist, and money manager.

The world’s first big data and analytics exchanged-traded fund is the PureFunds ISE Big Data ETF (BIGD).

“Big data” is a recent concept that refers to extremely large data sets that may be analyzed by computers to reveal important patterns and trends. The concept is widely applied in fields associated with human behavior and interactions.
Some experts estimate that by 2019, big data will drive $48.6 billion in annual spending worldwide. That dollar total would be 44 times the 2009 figure.

Big data is an area of analytics that has potential to play a much more significant role down the road. To put things in perspective, according to a 2013 report by SINTEF, a large independent research organization in Norway, 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years. Furthermore, IBM estimates that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data now are created each day.

With just $4.02 million in total assets under management, BIGD has been a fairly quiet and small ETF compared to many other technology funds currently on the market. In fact, you may have heard of its sister fund, HACK, which is a bigger ETF focused on companies in the cyber security field.

BIGD was launched in July 2015 with the aim of tracking equities that provide software and services related to big data. The fund’s market value has increased by 7.31% since inception, and year to date it has generated a return of 15.74% to beat the S&P 500’s 9.16%. The fund has an expense ratio of 0.75%.

Currently, BIGD only has 35 holdings in its portfolio and is roughly evenly divided so that each holding composes around 3% of the overall weight. The fund generally steers clear of investing in giant tech firms like Apple and Microsoft and instead concentrates on smaller data-centric firms.

The fund’s top five holdings, as of June 21, 2017, are Alliance Data Systems Corp., 3.20%; Hexagon AB, 3.19%; Hortonworks Inc., 3.18%; Medidata Solutions Inc., 3.18%; Thomson Reuters Corp. 3.15%. If you believe in the future of heavy analytics using extremely large sets of data, I encourage you to look to PureFunds ISE Big Data ETF (BIGD) to add to your portfolio.

As always, I am happy to answer any of your questions about ETFs, so do not hesitate to send me an email. You just may see your question answered in a future ETF Talk.

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