What were the five most read ETF Insight stories in 2019?

ETF Insight

This year, ETF Stream launched a new series, ETF Insight, where each week we look to shine a light on the key issues from across the European ETF industry, analysing and interpreting the latest trends in the space.

The series has been met with a great reception from the ETF industry – if we say so ourselves – with topics ranging from the unintended consequences from MiFID II to the reasons why the uptake of ETFs among wealth managers remains stunted.

Here, we take a look at the five most read stories from 2019:

1. ETF Insight: Inside First Trust, the silent ETF powerhouse

Coming in at number one, ETF Stream’s editor David Tuckwell took a deep dive into the reasons why First Trust and its chief executive James Bowen have been so successful in recent years, generating $475 million in ETF revenue a year.

Despite the company’s low profile, he argues First Trust’s winning product innovation means the company will continue to remain a big player within the ETF industry for years to come.

2. ETF Insight: The rat race to become Europe’s number two ETF provider

With BlackRock’s domination in the European ETF ecosystem confirmed for years to come, the other major ETF issuers are battling it out to secure the number two spot.

The likes of DWS, Lyxor, Invesco, Vanguard and UBS all have their strengths and weaknesses. Have a read as to who we believe will come out on top in the rat race to become Europe’s number two ETF provider.

3. ETF Insight: What do ETF outflows say about bubble fears?

In this article, we studied whether the outflows from equity ETFs in the summer signalled some wider issue for the structure of the ETF following Michael Burry’s comments passives were in bubble territory.

This ETF Insight concludes that the outflows are, of course, representative of general investment trends rather than reflective of some kind of bubble within ETFs.

4. ETF Insight: Are ETF and index providers taking ESG seriously?

Vanguard, along with other industry participants, came under fire this year after it was reported the firm had included a number of controversial companies such as gun stocks and oil and gas firms in its ESG strategies.

As the environmental, social and governance (ESG) space continues to grow, ETF and index providers will need to keep a closer eye on their strategies in order to avoid reputational damage.

5. ETF Insight: The rise of ETFs has an unintended consequence

One area the ETF industry is yet to address is the dominance of the big three; BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street. One unintended consequence from this is these companies have large ownerships in stocks in the same sector.

Naturally, if your company’s owner is the same as your competitors that competition will lessen. For example, one paper studied the price of aeroplane ticket prices between 2001 and 2014 and found prices were 3-7% higher “due to common ownership” versus “a counterfactual world” where firms are separately owned.

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