Wiesenberger/Thomson Financial of Rockville, Md. is the first mutual-fund tracking company to announce plans to track exchange-traded funds.

In September, it will begin posting exchange-traded fund performance and pricing data on its InvestmentView product, Wiesenberger announced. This software includes performance data and research on open and closed-end funds, variable annuities and variable life products. Wiesenberger sells the data to financial planners.

The data on exchange-traded funds will include the daily net asset value, market price after the close of the markets, year-to-date performance, the highest premium or discount to net asset value ever recorded, minimum investment, security holdings within each exchange-traded fund, total net assets and expense ratios, said Ramy Shaalan, senior funds analyst at Wiesenberger. The company has not yet determined whether the data will be updated daily, Shaalan said.

Wiesenberger will rely on the issuing companies to provide all of the data, Shaalan said. Fund companies usually determine an exchange-traded fund's net asset value from the fund's underlying stocks and expense ratios, he said.

Wiesenberger already provides this exchange-traded fund data in the closed-end fund section of InvestmentView, Shaalan said. But now that the number of exchange-traded funds has grown to 67, Wiesenberger wanted to break the numbers out separately, he said. Analysts and brokers have been expressing growing interest in this data, he said.

Lipper of Summit, N.J. and Morningstar of Chicago have delayed rating or tracking exchange-traded funds since each fund tracks a different, small sector of the stock market. (MFMN 6/12/00) Because each exchange-traded fund is so different, it is hard to compare them, Lipper and Morningstar officials said. Exchange-traded funds are also structured differently, they said. Some are structured as open-end funds while others are set up as unit investment trusts and still others are depositary receipts, Lipper and Morningstar officials said.

Wiesenberger is a subsidiary of Thomson Financial of Stamford, Conn., the publisher of this newsletter.

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