SPDR S&P 500 Trust ETF

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Standard & Poor's Depositary Receipts (SPDRS, with symbol SPY), commonly referred to as "Spiders," is the world's first and largest exchange traded fund (ETF), in terms of assets under management. As of January 2013, it also was the most traded US-listed equity.

SPY is listed on the New York Stock Exchange's Arca Exchange, and investors are able to trade the ETF on multiple platforms. The trustee of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust is State Street Bank and Trust Company, and its distributor is ALPS Distributors Incorporated.

Created to track the value of the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, SPY was launched on the American Stock Exchange on January 29, 1993. The fund grew from $461.5 million assets under management in 1993 to more than $125 billion in January 2013, according to Index Universe, which tracks ETFs.[1]

One SPDR unit is valued at about one-tenth of the value of the S&P 500. Dividends are distributed quarterly, and are based on the accumulated stock dividends held in trust, less any expenses of the trust. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust allocates almost all of its funds into common stocks, which are included in the S&P 500 Index.[2]

The creation of SPY is credited to Nate Most, attorney Kathleen Moriarty and Jim Ross who worked with the team from State Street Global Advisors and Cliff Weber and Steven Bloom from AMEX, among others.[3] [4] The product was the first of its kind, in that no one previously had tried to build a physically backed vehicle that could be traded in real time, closely following the value of the index.[5][6]

The SPY ETF carries a fee of 0.095%, which is roughly triple the cost of investing in three of its largest competitors.[7]

Scope of Products[edit]

There are scores of SPDR ETFs of different stripes managed by SSgA. State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) lists more than 76 ETFs worldwide, with SPDRS being the dominant leader in that group.

Other SPDRs track domestic and international stock indexes (such as Dow Jones Wilshire indexes) or particular industry groups or asset classes. More specifically, offerings can be viewed by market cap, style, sector/industry, specialty (e.g., real estate), international focus, region, and fixed income (as well as pricing and performance).

The SPDR Trust Series 1, known as the Spiders, is structured as a unit investment trust, but Select Sector SPDRs that track various sector indexes by carving up the S&P 500 Index into separate industry groups are open-ended funds.

In May of 2013, the Boston Options Exchange (BOX) was approved by the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission to trade a jumbo version of the SPDR S&P 500 Exchange Trade Fund ("Jumbo SPY Options"). "Jumbo SPY Options are a new options contract overlying 1,000 SPY ETF shares per contract, as compared to 100 shares per contract for standard options."[8] Trading on Jumbo SPY is expected to begin on May 10, 2013.

Where Are SPYDRs Traded[edit]

Spiders were first listed on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol SPY and are now traded only on NYSEArca. Options on SPDRs are offered for trading on several U.S. options exchanges.