Proving that first-mover advantage and a memorable ticker symbol are key when it comes to launching a mutual fund, State Street Global Advisors' streetTracks Gold (GLD) Shares exchange-traded fund has attracted almost 17 times the amount of assets than Barclays Global Advisors' iShares Comex Gold (IAU), reports.

The Gold Shares fund, which launched in November 2004, has $3.15 billion in assets and trades an average of two million shares a day, whereas the Comex Gold fund has $186 million and trades an average of 83,000 shares a day.

Some analysts believe that State Street's success with its gold ETF is so critical that it might help it launch other successful ETFs. "The GLD was the right fund at the right time," Stuart Thomson, managing director of the World Gold Council, the fund's sponsor, told "A big part of the reason why we signed up with State Street was because of this renewed commitment to the ETF business."

While State Street invented the ETF in 1993 and came out with the hugely successful S&P 500 Spiders and Dow Diamonds ETFs, Barclays has since dominated the $260 billion ETF market with a total of 101 funds with $158 billion in assets.

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