Brand-new exchange-traded funds are coming onto the market faster than most advisors can keep up with them.Issuers such as PowerShares and Barclay's Global Investors file for groups of new offerings in the double digits, and the total number has topped 216 funds with aggregate holdings of $334 billion. The flood of new products means advisors' mailboxes are stuffed with offering memoranda. Most end up in the circular file, but a few have made their way into clients' portfolios alongside some of the older issues.

Since most ETFs - which are not mutual funds, but offer some of the same advantages while trading like a stock - track an index, the instruments have found an appeal among passive investors.

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