First Trust Launches Two New Allocation-Based Portfolios of Target Outcome Buffer ETFs

WHEATON, Ill.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Trust Advisors L.P. (“First Trust”), a leading exchange-traded fund (“ETF”) provider and asset manager, announced today that it has launched the FT Cboe Vest Buffered Allocation Defensive ETF (Cboe: BUFT) and the FT Cboe Vest Buffered Allocation Growth ETF (Cboe: BUFG) (collectively, the “funds”). Both funds seek to achieve their investment objective by investing in a portfolio of Target Outcome Buffer ETFs (the “Underlying ETFs”) that seek to provide investors with returns (before fees and expenses) based on the price return of the SPDR® S&P 500® ETF Trust (“SPY”), up to a predetermined cap, while providing a defined buffer against losses of SPY over a Target Outcome Period of one year.

The Underlying ETFs invest substantially all of their assets in FLexible EXchange Options (“FLEX Options”) on SPY. FLEX Options are customizable exchange-traded option contracts guaranteed for settlement by the Options Clearing Corporation. The funds are managed and sub-advised by Cboe Vest Financial LLC (“Cboe Vest”) using a “target outcome strategy” or pre-determined target investment outcome.

The portfolio selection process begins with a universe of Target Outcome Buffer ETFs that provide varying cap and buffer levels. Investing in a single Underlying ETF limits the potential outcomes to the Underlying ETF’s stated cap and buffer over a Target Outcome Period (depending on when the shares were purchased). Alternatively, BUFT and BUFG provide a convenient way to invest in a diversified portfolio of Target Outcome Buffer ETFs and seek to deliver an optimal combination of equity growth participation and a level of downside protection based on current market conditions. In allocating the funds’ portfolios among the universe of possible Underlying ETFs, Cboe Vest evaluates various factors, including, but not limited to, the remaining upside cap and remaining downside buffer offered by each Underlying ETF relative to the others in the universe, the number of days left in each Target Outcome Period, implied market volatility, the current price of SPY, the NAV of each Underlying ETF, and the price sensitivity of the underlying FLEX Options to price movements of SPY. From this evaluation, five to seven Underlying ETFs are selected for each portfolio. The funds’ portfolios will be evaluated on a monthly basis.

Unlike the Underlying ETFs, the funds themselves do not pursue a target outcome strategy. The buffer is only provided by the Underlying ETFs and the funds themselves do not provide any stated buffer against losses. The funds will likely not receive the full benefit of the Underlying ETF buffers and could have limited upside potential. Each fund’s returns may be limited to the caps of the Underlying ETFs.

First Trust’s suite of Target Outcome ETFs, have approximately $3 billion in total net assets as of 9/30/21 and are among the fastest growing in the outcome-oriented ETFs space. “Demand for buffered ETFs has continued to grow, as more investment professionals have come to recognize the compelling proposition these funds may offer for their clients. We believe these new ETFs provide an attractive solution for investment professionals seeking to make the most out of buffered ETFs,” said Ryan Issakainen, CFA, Senior Vice President, ETF Strategist at First Trust.

Cboe Vest is the creator of Target Outcome Investments® and manager of the longest running buffer strategy fund. Karan Sood, CEO of Cboe Vest said, “There is a dynamic balance of upside capture potential and downside buffering inherent in each Underlying ETF, that shifts as market conditions change. These two funds, which rebalance monthly, offer a turnkey solution for investors looking to efficiently access a diversified portfolio of Underlying ETFs based on target objectives of defense or growth.”

Karan Sood and Howard Rubin, of Cboe Vest, will serve as portfolio managers for the funds. The portfolio managers are jointly and primarily responsible for the day-to-day management of the funds.

For more information about First Trust, please contact Ryan Issakainen at (630) 765-8689 or

About First Trust

First Trust is a federally registered investment advisor and serves as the funds’ investment advisor. First Trust and its affiliate First Trust Portfolios L.P. (“FTP”), a FINRA registered broker-dealer, are privately held companies that provide a variety of investment services. First Trust has collective assets under management or supervision of approximately $207.31 billion as of September 30, 2021 through unit investment trusts, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, mutual funds and separate managed accounts. First Trust is the supervisor of the First Trust unit investment trusts, while FTP is the sponsor. FTP is also a distributor of mutual fund shares and exchange-traded fund creation units. First Trust and FTP are based in Wheaton, Illinois. For more information, visit

About Cboe Vest:

Cboe Vest is the creator of Target Outcome Investments®, which strive to buffer losses, manage volatility, amplify gains or provide consistent income to a diverse spectrum of investors. Today, Cboe Vest’s Target Outcome Strategies® are available in mutual funds, exchange-traded funds (ETFs), unit investment trusts (UITs), collective investment trusts (CITs), and customizable managed accounts / sub-advisory services. For more information about Cboe Vest and the evolution of Target Outcome Investments, visit or contact Linda Werner at or 703-864-5483.

You should consider the funds’ investment objectives, risks, and charges and expenses carefully before investing. Contact First Trust Portfolios L.P. at 1-800-621-1675 or visit to obtain a prospectus or summary prospectus which contains this and other information about the funds. The prospectus or summary prospectus should be read carefully before investing.

Risk Considerations

A Target Outcome fund has characteristics unlike many other traditional investment products and may not be appropriate for all investors.

Investors buying or selling fund shares on the secondary market may incur customary brokerage commissions. Market prices may differ to some degree from the net asset value of the shares. Investors who sell fund shares may receive less than the share’s net asset value. A fund’s shares may be sold throughout the day on the exchange through any brokerage account. However, unlike mutual funds, shares may only be redeemed directly from a fund by authorized participants in very large creation/redemption units. If a fund’s authorized participants are unable to proceed with creation/redemption orders and no other authorized participant is able to step forward to create or redeem, fund shares may trade at a discount to a fund’s net asset value and possibly face delisting.

A fund’s shares will change in value, and you could lose money by investing in a fund. One of the principal risks of investing in a fund is market risk. Market risk is the risk that a particular stock owned by a fund, fund shares or stocks in general may fall in value. There can be no assurance that a fund’s investment objective will be achieved. The outbreak of the respiratory disease designated as COVID-19 in December 2019 has caused significant volatility and declines in global financial markets, which have caused losses for investors. While the development of vaccines has slowed the spread of the virus and allowed for the resumption of “reasonably” normal business activity in the United States, many countries continue to impose lockdown measures in an attempt to slow the spread. Additionally, there is no guarantee that vaccines will be effective against emerging variants of the disease.

In managing a fund’s investment portfolio, the portfolio managers will apply investment techniques and risk analyses that may not have the desired result.

There can be no assurance that an active trading market for fund shares will develop or be maintained.

Each Underlying ETF’s strategy seeks to provide returns based on the price return of the reference asset for shares purchased on the first day of a Target Outcome Period and held for the entire Target Outcome Period, subject to a pre-determined upside cap. Because the funds will purchase shares of the Underlying ETFs in connection with creations of new shares of the funds and during each rebalance, the funds typically will not purchase Underlying ETF shares on the first day of a Target Outcome Period. Likewise, the funds will sell shares of the Underlying ETFs in connection with redemptions of shares of the funds and during each rebalance, and such sales typically will not occur on the last day of a Target Outcome Period.

In the event that the funds purchase Underlying ETF shares after the first day of a Target Outcome Period and the Underlying ETF has risen in value to a level near to the cap, there may be little or no ability for the funds to experience an investment gain on its shares, however, the funds will remain vulnerable to downside risks. If the reference asset experiences gains during a Target Outcome Period, an Underlying ETF will not participate in those gains beyond the cap.

A new Underlying ETF cap is established at the beginning of each Target Outcome Period and is dependent on prevailing market conditions. As a result, a cap may rise or fall from one Target Outcome Period to the next and is unlikely to remain the same for consecutive Target Outcome Periods.

A fund may be subject to the risk that a counterparty will not fulfill its obligations which may result in significant financial loss to a fund.

As the use of Internet technology has become more prevalent in the course of business, funds have become more susceptible to potential operational risks through breaches in cyber security.

Certain of the Underlying ETFs seek to provide “enhanced” returns. There can be no guarantee that a fund will be successful in its strategy to provide enhanced returns of approximately twice any positive price return of the reference asset over the Target Outcome Period, subject to the predetermined upside return cap. In addition, a fund that seeks to provide investment outcomes over an entire Target Outcome Period does not seek to provide investment outcomes on a daily or other short-term basis and therefore on any given day, it is very unlikely that when the reference asset share price increases in value, a fund’s shares will increase at the same rate as the enhanced returns sought by a fund.

A fund may invest in the shares of other ETFs, which involves additional expenses that would not be present in a direct investment in the Underlying funds. In addition, a fund’s investment performance and risks may be related to the investment performance and risks of the Underlying funds.

The Underlying ETFs invest in FLEX Options that reference an ETF, which subjects a fund to certain of the risks of owning shares of an ETF as well as the types of instruments in which the reference ETF invests.

Because the Underlying ETF holds FLEX Options that reference the index and/or reference ETFs, the funds have exposure to the equity securities markets. The value of SPY will fluctuate over time based on fluctuations in the values of securities held by SPY, which may be affected by changes in general economic conditions, expectations for future growth and profits, interest rates and the supply and demand for those securities.

The FLEX Options held by the Underlying ETFs will be exercisable at the strike price only on their expiration date. Prior to the expiration date, the value of the FLEX Options will be determined based upon market quotations or other recognized pricing methods. There can be no guarantee that a liquid secondary trading market will exist for the FLEX Options and FLEX options may be less liquid than exchange-traded options.

Information technology companies are subject to certain risks, including rapidly changing technologies, short product life cycles, fierce competition, aggressive pricing and reduced profit margins, loss of patent, copyright and trademark protections, cyclical market patterns, evolving industry standards and frequent new product introductions. Certain companies may be smaller and less experienced companies, with limited product lines, markets or financial resources.

A fund classified as “non-diversified” may invest a relatively high percentage of its assets in a limited number of issuers. As a result, a fund may be more susceptible to a single adverse economic or regulatory occurrence affecting one or more of these issuers, experience increased volatility and be highly concentrated in certain issuers.

Large inflows and outflows may impact a new fund’s market exposure for limited periods of time.

A fund and a fund’s advisor may seek to reduce various operational risks through controls and procedures, but it is not possible to completely protect against such risks.

The use of derivatives, including options can lead to losses because of adverse movements in the price or value of the underlying asset, index or rate, which may be magnified by certain features of the derivatives. The effective use of options also depends on the Underlying ETFs’ ability to terminate options positions at times deemed desirable to do so. There is no assurance that the Underlying ETFs will be able to effect closing transactions at any particular time or at an acceptable price.

High portfolio turnover may result in higher levels of transaction costs and may generate greater tax liabilities for shareholders.

If, in any year, a fund which intends to qualify as a Registered Investment Company (RIC) under the applicable tax laws fails to do so, it would be taxed as an ordinary corporation.

A fund may have temporary larger exposures to certain Underlying ETFs and under such circumstances, a fund’s return would be greatly influenced by the returns of the Underlying ETFs with the larger exposures.

Trading on the exchange may be halted due to market conditions or other reasons. There can be no assurance that the requirements to maintain the listing of a fund on the exchange will continue to be met or be unchanged.

The information presented is not intended to constitute an investment recommendation for, or advice to, any specific person. By providing this information, First Trust is not undertaking to give advice in any fiduciary capacity within the meaning of ERISA, the Internal Revenue Code or any other regulatory framework. Financial professionals are responsible for evaluating investment risks independently and for exercising independent judgment in determining whether investments are appropriate for their clients.

First Trust Advisors L.P. is the adviser to the funds. First Trust Advisors L.P. is an affiliate of First Trust Portfolios L.P., the funds’ distributor.

Cboe® is a registered trademark of Cboe Exchange, Inc., which has been licensed for use in the name of these products. These products are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or marketed by Cboe Exchange, Inc. or any of its affiliates (“Cboe”) or their respective third-party providers, and Cboe and its third-party providers make no representation regarding the advisability of investing in these products and shall have no liability whatsoever in connection with these products.

The funds are not sponsored, endorsed, sold or promoted by SPDR® S&P 500® ETF Trust, PDR, or Standard & Poor’s® (together with their affiliates hereinafter referred to as the “Corporations”). The Corporations have not passed on the legality or suitability of, or the accuracy or adequacy of, descriptions and disclosures relating to the funds or the FLEX Options. The Corporations make no representations or warranties, express or implied, regarding the advisability of investing in the funds or the FLEX Options or results to be obtained by the funds or the FLEX Options, shareholders or any other person or entity from use of the SPDR® S&P 500® ETF Trust. The Corporations have no liability in connection with the management, administration, marketing or trading of the funds or the FLEX Options.

Target Outcome Investments and Target Outcome ETF are registered trademarks of Cboe Vest Financial.

Target Outcome Strategies is a trademark of Cboe Vest Financial.

The SPDR® S&P 500® ETF Trust (SPY) is an exchange-traded fund based on the S&P 500 Index, which is an unmanaged index of 500 stocks used to measure large-cap U.S. stock market performance.

Ryan Issakainen
First Trust
(630) 765-8689

Published on October 27, 2021

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