abrdn is edging closer to its long-awaited entry into the European ETF market after registering two ETFs with the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI), ETF Stream can reveal.

The asset manager received regulatory approval from the Irish regulator for the Abrdn Metaverse UCITS ETF and the Abrdn Global Real Estate Active Thematic UCITS ETF last November.

abrdn declined to comment on the registrations.

The UK asset manager’s entry into the European ETF market has been anticipated since the appointment of Chanchal Samadder as head of ETF sales strategy and specialist distribution in March 2021.

However, Sammadder left abrdn in November 2021, a little over six months after joining.

His departure did not derail abdrn’s entry into European ETFs however, with the firm already running a US ETF business with some $7.2bn assets under management (AUM) following the acquisition from ETF Securities in 2018.

It also runs a circa $10bn index business in Europe.

Stephen Bird, CEO of abrdn, who has previously hinted at expanding the firm’s passive business, has continued to transform its asset management arm since he was appointed in 2020.

The launch of abrdn’s global real estate product signals its intent to launch active ETFs, a rapidly growing segment of the European ETF market.

Meanwhile, the metaverse product will see abrdn enter the market on the back of one of the hottest themes in Europe.

Over 35 metaverse-related ETFs have launched globally since June 2021, according to data from Morningstar, outpacing the 32 internet-themed launches and 29 blockchain ETFs over the last two years.

Last December, BlackRock entered the metaverse with the iShares Metaverse UCITS ETF (MTAV), ETF Stream revealed, taking the total number of ETFs tracking the theme in Europe to six.

The theme has gained huge traction despite the lacklustre performance of companies tracking the metaverse, with Facebook’s parent company Meta’s share price falling 56% over the past 12 months.

abrdn would be the largest asset manager to enter the European ETF market since AXA Investment Managers launched its first ETFs last September.

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