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Having long shunned investment trust funds, online investors have reacted positively to the launch of exchange traded funds. There is good reason.

For one thing, ETFs charge lower commissions than conventional investment trust funds. Commissions of 0.23 percent are charged on ETFs, compared with the 1 percent to almost 2 percent charged on investment trust funds.

The high commissions have made investment trust funds unattractive to traders on the Net.

Net investors have shown more gumption than ordinary individual investors to trade on their own without relying on the expertise of fund managers.

The full liberalization of stock brokerage commissions has also made investment trust funds less attractive.

The ETFs launched last month are a new type of investment vehicle free from hitches associated with conventional investment trust funds.

Trading in ETFs has steadily increased since they were listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange and the Osaka Securities Exchange on July 13.

Currently, there are five ETFs — two linked to the TSE’s Topix index and three based on the 225-issue Nikkei average.

They are offered by fund management companies affiliated with the nation’s top three securities companies — Nomura, Daiwa and Nikko.

The ETFs allow investors to buy a basket of shares and trade continuously through the day’s trading hours just like individual stocks.

As of Monday, the net assets of the ETFs totaled 320 billion yen.

Of them, the ETF launched by Nomura Asset Management Co. — the fund linked to the Nikkei average — has obtained a lion’s share, at 167.5 billion yen.

Although the total value of the five ETFs still accounts for a meager 0.1 percent of the total capitalization of the TSE’s first section, given the fast growth in the short period of time since their launch, they have proved to be quite attractive financial products.

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