ClearShares Piton Intermediate Fixed Income (PIFI) ETF with No Involvement in Bitcoin, Changes its Ticker to ‘BTC’

During the last bull market, companies pulled similar moves, and before that, similar behavior provided the firms with “a large and permanent value increase during the dot-com bubble.”

ClearShare has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to change the ticker for its ClearShares Piton Intermediate Fixed Income ETF from PIFI to “BTC.”

This name change will be effective from April 16, 2021, as per the official document.

ClearShares is an investment advisory service provider which launched this Fund late last year on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). This Fund invests in corporate bonds, U.S. government treasuries, and government agency debt with no mention of crypto assets.

But the company is riding the cryptocurrency wave and filed for this ticker change just the day before the largest crypto exchange in the US, Coinbase, went public with a whopping $100 billion valuation.

The ticker “BTC” that the firm is trying to copy here explicitly points to only Bitcoin, a trillion-dollar asset that surged to a new all-time high at nearly $65,000 this week, up more than 1,600% from March lows.

Meanwhile, PIFI is a mere $29.64 million market cap fund as its shares trade at $98.81, barely moved from its jump to $100 when it was launched six months back.

This Fund that can be purchased on popular online brokerage accounts, WeBull, Vanguard Brokerage Services, TD Ameritrade, E*TRADE, Robinhood, Fidelity, and Charles Schwab, pays an annual dividend of $0.02 per share and currently has a dividend yield of 0.02%.

This filing to change the ticker to “BTC” is clearly a blatant and “cheap” move to ride on the crypto market’s ongoing bull rally.

As we saw during the 2017 bull market, several companies like Kodak tried to ride on the crypto market’s coattails, announcing a blockchain platform and launching its own coin (KodakCoin), resulting in an immediate pump only to die soon after.

This behavior of ClearShaers is actually no different from what the market saw during the dot-com bubble, a phenomenon noted by a research paper from 2001, saying regardless of the firm’s involvement with the internet, a mere association was enough to “provide a firm with a large and permanent value increase.”

“We document a striking positive stock price reaction to the announcement of corporate name changes to Internet-related dotcom names. This “dotcom” effect produces cumulative abnormal returns on the order of 74 percent for the 10 days surrounding the announcement day. The effect does not appear to be transitory; there is no evidence of a post-announcement negative drift,” reads the abstract.

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