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First, the idea that an ETF is helping short sellers bet against its shares might not sit well with IBB investors, especially in light of the recent selloff. But an arguably more important question is how much of the stock-lending income actually went back to ETF investors and how much BlackRock kept for itself.
In the six months through September, IBB generated $5.48 million in securities lending revenue. Some $3.56 million, or 65 percent of the total, went back into the ETF itself. But BlackRock kept the remaining $1.92 million for itself.
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The numbers are larger for some other ETFs that have more money under management. For instance, the iShares Russell 2000 ETF generated $37.7 million in stock-lending fees in the six months through September. Again, only $24.5 million of that went back into the ETF, with Blackrock keeping $13.2 million.
Of course, investors in the iShares ETFs are probably happy to receive some of the benefit from stock lending, even if the manager keeps a chunk for itself. The annualized benefit of stock lending for IBB investors was about 0.21 percentage point in the six months through September, compared with an annual management fee of 0.48 percentage point.
Even so, IBB lagged its underlying benchmark over the same time period, when its net asset value rose 31.08 percent compared with 31.13 percent for the Nasdaq Biotechnology Index.
While that difference may seem small, a few basis points every year over several years can eventually mean real money for long-term investors. And some other ETF managers share a larger percentage of stock-lending revenue with ETF investors.
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