The way to keep growing is to keep changing. For the European ETF market, that means product innovation, from infrastructure funds to smart beta.
The separation of alpha and beta is becoming a matter of routine, and the result will (PwC suggests) eliminate the division between "alternatives" investing on the one hand and "traditional" investing on the other.
Pimco is expanding its active ETF offerings significantly. By serendipity, The Cerulli Edge contains some fascinating data on the growth of the ETF industry. both active and passive.
Consider TMX index futures: volume and open interest were both heading up sharply in the period 2005-06. But OI peaked in 2006, while volumes continued up for another two years. Going forward, too, the two are not expected to move in tandem.
In an initial consultation report in January of this year, the IOSCO Board took an aggressive position on transparency, saying that transparency of indexes used for ETFs should be such that market participants have "the ability to replicate a published Benchmark level...." The new final statement, EDHEC complains, has lost that language.
A recent paper by the SEI in collaboration with ETF Trends explains that the share creation/redemption process sets up a feature of ETFs, and in particular of active ETFs, that constitutes a potential competitive disadvantage vis-à-vis mutual funds. The former, not the latter, are susceptible to front running.
In January, the European Securities and Markets Authority set out in a consultation paper its guidelines on exchange traded funds and other issues relating to the Undertaking for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities, and it asked for comments by March 30. Much of the ESMA paper involves issues of tracking and disclosure.
AAA sat down with Alex Gurvich and Jim Mitchell, both of The Rockledge Group, an investment advisory firm headquartered in Brooklyn, New York. We began by discussing the mid-January launch of a new product that gives the long-short equity strategy an ETF format, and ended up talking about a good deal else, such as the inherent superiority of ETFs over mutual funds, and Pimco's recent recognition of that fact.
Since transaction costs and the illiquidity of certain portions of an index make ideal tracking impossible, there will be a difference between the return of a tracking ETF, such as those tracking ETFs that are structured as UCITS in Europe, and the return of the underlying index or benchmark. The European Securities and Markets Authority maintains that investors should be informed of the factors that are likely to affect the size and the volatility of this difference.
In Singapore, some of the synthetic ETFs involve considerably more exposure to uncollateralized counterparty risk than the 10 percent or less that UCITS would allow. Singapore has, for example, the iShares MSCI India tracker, which has a 20 to 25 percent exposure. But Celent sees a possibiliuty that laxity will prove a winning move vis-a-vis Hong Kong.