I am a little confused with the concept of an ETF. Let’s take EDEN as an example. It is an ETF that aims to track the performance of entities based in Denmark. It would appear that EDEN’s NAV would be based of the performance of these underlying securities.

However, EDEN itself can be bought and sold as a security which would also effect it’s NAV.

Let's say for the sake of example that all the underlying securities that constitute EDEN are up 1% today. Theoretically, EDEN should also be up 1% minus management expenses.

However, if a large holder decides to liquidate their position in EDEN, that would add downward pressure to the security. This is something I am unable to reconcile. How does the fund's NAV continue to reflect its underlying securities accurately?

1 Answer 1


An ETF manager will only allow certain financial organisations to create and redeem ETF shares. These are called Authorised Participants (APs). The APs have the resources to bundled up packages of shares that they already own and hold in order to match the ETFs requirements. In the case of the EDEN ETF, this portfolio is the MSCI Denmark Index. Only APs transact business directly with the ETF manager.

When ETF shares need to be created, the AP will bundle up the portfolio of shares and deliver them to the ETF manager. In return, the ETF manager will deliver to the AP the corresponding number of shares in the ETF. Note that no cash changes hands here.

(These ETF shares are now available for trading in the market via the AP. Note that investors do not transact business directly with the ETF manager.)

Similarly, when ETF shares need to be redeemed, the AP will deliver the ETF shares to the ETF manager. In return, the ETF manager will deliver to the AP the corresponding portfolio of shares. Again, no cash changes hands here.

Normally, with an established and liquid ETF, investors like you and me will transact small purchases and sales of ETF shares with other small investors in the market. In the event that an AP needs to transact business with an investor, they will do so by either buying or selling the ETF shares. In the event that they have insufficient ETF shares to meet demand, they will bundle up a portfolio deliver them to the ETF provider in return for ETF shares, thus enabling them to meet demand. In the event that a lot of investors are selling and the AP ends up holding an excessive amount of ETF shares, they will deliver unwanted shares to the ETF manager in exchange for a portfolio of the underlying shares.

According to this scheme, large liquidations of ETF holdings should not effect the share prices of the underlying portfolio. This is because the underlying shares are not sold in the market, rather they are simply returned to the AP in exchange for the ETF shares (Recall that no cash is changing hands in this type of transaction).

The corresponding trail of dividends and distributions to ETF share holders follows the same scheme.


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