Jim Cramer has long been calling for a ban of the leveraged short ETFs and in a Reuters article SEC chairwoman Mary Schapiro said she’s concerned with the lack of oversight with leveraged short ETFs saying the funds have been “scrutinized inadequately”. She said that staff would be added to deal with the enormous complexity of some of the more elaborate ETFs that have hit the market recently which include commodity ETFs.
Critics such as Cramer contend that ETF’s that let investors short sectors with leverage are dangerous for individuals and the overall market and that some savvy investors are using them to force segments of the market such as financials to fall faster than they would if just based on fundamentals alone. There are also concerns that many of these ETFs don’t perform as advertised. This might explain why Direxion recently made changes to the naming of their ETFs to reflect the returns based on daily performance. Many articles have been written recently highlighting the under performance of the leveraged ETFs over longer time periods to which I’ll say again… know what you’re trading at all times. The leveraged ETFs are better suited to short term hedging and momentum plays.