U.S. exchange traded product delistings and closures totaled 38 in 2011, consisting of 32 ETFs and six ETNs.  The all-time death toll now stands at 211 (192 ETFs and 19 ETNs).  Delistings dropped 22% from the 49 closures of 2010 and marked a third straight year of decline since the surge in 2008.

ETFdeathtoll2011-12-31Closures affected ten different sponsors, with three making a 100% exit from the market: FaithShares terminated all five of its faith-based funds, Javelin shuttered its last remaining ETF, and Merrill Lynch delisted all seventeen of its HOLDRS.

Most of the closures had become Zombie ETFs.  They failed to attract enough assets, and it turn, did not generate enough revenue for the sponsor.  There were some exceptions, like the triggering of an early termination event to prevent the price from going to zero as with some Barclay’s no-reset products.

A handful of the Merrill Lynch HOLDRS remained popular with investors, but the antiquated structure did not really generate any revenue for Merrill.  About two-thirds of HOLDRS assets found a new home in similar Market Vector ETFs launched the following day.

Finally, the closure of Guggenheim BulletShares 2011 Corporate Bond ETF (BSCB) was unique.  BSCB became the first target maturity ETF to reach maturity, closing as per the schedule it announced at its time of launch.

The average age of funds that closed in 2011 was 73.9 months (6.2 years).  This significant deviation from the 18.8-month average lifespan of all 211 closed products was  primarily due to the closure of HOLDRS.  All had been in existence for at least 10 years and a couple of them had been around for more than 12 years.

The table below is sorted by product name.

#TickerNameLast Day
1BXDDBarclays ETN+ S&P 500 3x Short D 2009 ETN05/04/2011
2FLYXDirexion Airline Shares10/10/2011
3BVLELEMENTS Benjamin Graham Large Cap Value ETN08/25/2011
4BSCELEMENTS Benjamin Graham Small Cap Value ETN08/25/2011
5BVTELEMENTS Benjamin Graham Total Market Value ETN08/25/2011
6FZBFaithShares Baptist Values Fund07/15/2011
7FCVFaithShares Catholic Values Fund07/15/2011
8FOCFaithShares Christian Values Fund08/31/2011
9FKLFaithShares Lutheran Values Fund07/15/2011
10FMVFaithShares Methodist Values Fund07/15/2011
11BSCBGuggenheim BulletShares 2011 Corporate Bond ETF12/29/2011
12BHHHOLDRS B2B Internet ETF12/23/2011
13BBHHOLDRS Biotech ETF12/20/2011
14BDHHOLDRS Broadband ETF12/23/2011
15EKHHOLDRS Europe 200112/23/2011
16HHHHOLDRS Internet12/23/2011
17IAHHOLDRS Internet Architecture12/23/2011
18IIHHOLDRS Internet Infrastructure12/23/2011
19MKHHOLDRS Merrill Lynch Market 2000+12/23/2011
20OIHHOLDRS Oil Services12/20/2011
21PPHHOLDRS Pharmaceutical12/20/2011
22RKHHOLDRS Regional Bank12/20/2011
23RTHHOLDRS Retail12/20/2011
24SMHHOLDRS Semiconductor12/20/2011
25SWHHOLDRS Software12/23/2011
26TTHHOLDRS Telecom12/23/2011
27UTHHOLDRS Utilities12/23/2011
28WMHHOLDRS Wireless12/23/2011
29IVOiPath Inverse S&P 500 VIX Short-Term Futures ETN09/16/2011
30VZZiPath Long Enhanced S&P 500 VIX Mid-Term Futures ETN07/08/2011
31HKKIQ Hong Kong Small Cap ETF12/23/2011
32RSUNIQ Japan Mid Cap ETF12/23/2011
33TWONIQ Taiwan Small Cap12/23/2011
34CRBAJefferies|TR/J CRB Global Agriculture Equity12/22/2011
35CRBIJefferies|TR/J CRB Global Industrial Metals Equity12/22/2011
36JCOJETS Contrarian Opportunities09/29/2011
37PQZPowerShares Active Alpha Multi-Cap09/30/2011
38PQYPowerShares Active AlphaQ09/30/2011

Additional resources:

Disclosure covering writer, editor, publisher, and affiliates: No positions in any of the securities mentioned. No positions in any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned.  No income, revenue, or other compensation (either directly or indirectly) received from, or on behalf of, any of the companies or ETF sponsors mentioned.