Grandma Gets to Play Hedge Fund

New credit-swap ETFs provide easy access to harder-to-trade markets; more and more debt managers are using ETFs.

If your grandmother wants to bet her savings on a bundle of credit derivatives, it’ll be easy for her to do so through a new swath of exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

The ETFs may not have been created with her in mind, but she’ll be able to buy their shares. Regulators this month signed off on a plan to allow trading in eight new ProShares ETFs backed by wagers on the creditworthiness of the riskiest to the safest corporate borrowers. Those funds, which package credit-default swaps, join more than 250 others that are based on derivatives, an arena traditionally dominated by hedge funds.

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