Full vs. Synthetic Replication and Tracking Errors in ETFs
The growth of passive investing and ETFs is indisputable. Consequently, this boom also affects financial markets (e.g., market elasticity or by creating predictable buys and sells) and assets that ETFs track. Even though all passive ETFs aim to replicate some benchmark index, there are two distinct approaches to doing so. The first approach is directly replicating the benchmark (by buying underlying assets) either by full direct replication or sampling. The second approach consists of synthetic replication using derivatives – most commonly by total return swaps (or futures). How do replication methods influence tracking error?