The Quiet Death of the Oil Sands Index ETF

Investing comes with risk. This article is a general discussion of the merits and risks associated with these ETFs, not a specific recommendation. Speak to an investment professional and make sure your portfolio is diversified. Tim Nash does not own any shares of the ETFs mentioned in this article.

Nobody noticed it. There were no talking heads on tv. No tweets. No memes. Investors quietly sold their shares into cash, and a notice was put up the website.


Nobody noticed when the iShares Oil Sands Index ETF quietly died. Expect for me, of course, because I’m The Sustainable Economist. You see, the Oil Sands Index ETF is my benchmark for the energy sector in Canada. It’s what I use to show people how renewable energy is a better investment than the tar sands. And oh my, how ugly that chart looks right now: 


Am I allowed to smile while writing this? Sure, my girlfriend tells me I look cute when I’m smug.

I first discovered the Oil Sands Index ETF in 2009 as I was starting my company and brainstorming a name. I was looking for a sweet URL, and googled all sorts of combinations for ‘sustainable investment’. Imagine my impression when I found a company called Sustainable Wealth Management. I thought I’d found a potential partner. To my surprise, it turned out that this firm created and manages the Oil Sands Index

It was more ironic than a hipster listening to Nickelback.

In 2006, iShares licensed the rights to turn Sustainable Wealth Management’s Oil Sands Index into an ETF that investors could buy and sell on the market. But with a pitiful performance and little demand today, iShares made the business decision earlier this year to kill the ETF. As of September 4th 2015, the iShares Oil Sands Index ETF is dead and iShares will no longer be paying licensing fees to Sustainable Wealth Management. 

There won’t be a funeral, but I’m going to raise a glass tonight. The world is a better place without this ETF.

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