2014 ETF.com Awards Finalists Announced

January 20, 2015

In recognizing the forces that support the growth of the ETF industry, each year at its annual ETF.com Awards Dinner ETF.com recognizes the people, companies and products that are moving the industry forward. The dinner takes place March 19 at Pier 61 in New York City.

The award selection process follows three steps:

  1. An open nominating process
  2. A “Nominating Committee” composed of senior members of ETF.com’s editorial and analytics components narrows the nominees to a maximum of five in each category
  3. A “Selection Committee” of independent ETF experts votes on the winners.

The methodology is explained in detail here.

The Nominating Committee recently wrapped up its work and is excited to announce the finalists in each of the 25 categories under consideration. The nominees are:

Category 1: Lifetime Achievement Award

Awarded annually to one living individual for outstanding long-term contributions to ETF investor outcomes, whether from a position of media, regulation, product provider or investor. Previous winners are not eligible.

Nominee No. 1: John Bogle
From an untiring emphasis on the “humble arithmetic” of indexing, to the customer-owned structure of his brainchild, Vanguard, there’s zero doubt that Jack Bogle is perhaps the biggest reason fund fees are falling and getting lower. Even his cranky critique of the perils of over-trading ETFs is, in its way, laudable: He truly wants what’s best for investors.

Nominee No. 2: Reggie Browne
Every phenomenon needs a wizard behind the scenes who helps make it all possible. Part of the power of ETFs—and part of the challenge for ETF investors— is the complexities of trading them. Reggie Browne became famous as a market maker who provided liquidity to compelling funds that needed to be nurtured in the trading traffic. He thus casts a long and important shadow in the world of ETFs.

Nominee No. 3: Lee Kranefuss
You won’t find an executive with more ETF-specific “street cred” than Lee Kranefuss. His almost-evangelical belief that the future of investing belonged to ETFs has been crucial to the rise of the industry. Under his direction, iShares grew to be the biggest ETF issuer in the world, and the unrivaled breadth of the company’s product line serves as the perfect metaphor of the power of ETFs.

Nominee No. 4: Burton Malkiel
Burton Malkiel put indexing on the map with his 1973 book, “A Random Walk Down Wall Street.” An enthusiastic proponent of index–based investments and ETFs, this Princeton academic remains engaged in many realms of the investment business, not least at chief investment officer of Wealthfront, the biggest player in the new “robo-advisor” field.

Nominee No. 5: Gus Sauter
During his 25-year career at Vanguard, Gus Sauter saw the firm shift from upstart to the biggest mutual fund company in the world. Sauter’s emphasis on indexing, on thoughtful diversification in asset allocation and on encouraging investors to stick to their plans puts Sauter and his nearly decade-long stint as CIO at the very center of Vanguard’s spectacular rise.

Category 2: ETF of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the ETF that has done the most to improve investor opportunities and outcomes in 2014, by opening new areas of the market, lowering costs, delivering new exposures or otherwise creating better options for investors. There is no requirement on when this fund launched.

Nominee No. 1: Global X GF China Bond (CHNB)

As the first ETF to provide access to China’s onshore bond interbank market, CHNB opened up the third-largest fixed-income market in the world. The fund pulled in nearly $50 million in investor flows in 2014, and offered investors the opportunity to access a relatively high-yielding asset with low credit risk.

Nominee No. 2: PIMCO 25+ Year Zero Coupon U.S. Treasury (ZROZ | C-57)
2014 was supposed to be a year of rising interest rates. Instead, rates plunged, and funds on the edge of the duration spectrum like ZROZ returned nearly 50 percent. As the longest-duration US-bond ETF, ZROZ was well positioned to ride 2014's surprise rate drop. With a 0.15 percent annual expense ratio, ZROZ allows cheap, efficient access to the longest-term U.S. Treasurys.

Nominee No. 3: Vanguard Total International Bond (BNDX | B-57)
Vanguard broke new ground in the ETF world by offering the first global ex-U.S. broad-market bond fund. While other global-ex U.S. fixed-income funds cover parts of the bond universe—sovereigns or corporates—BNDX covers the entire non-USD investment-grade bond market. Vanguard's choice to hedge BNDX's currency exposure reduces the number of risk considerations for U.S.-based investors. At 20 basis points, the fund is very well priced, and quite efficiently run. The fund pulled in more than $2 billion in net inflows in 2014.

Nominee No. 4: Vanguard Total Stock Market (VTI | A-100)
Among the 38 ETFs offering total U.S. stock market exposure, VTI stands out for best representation and exceptionally low costs. With nearly 3,700 constituents, VTI captures virtually the entire investable U.S. equity market. Better still, VTI actually costs less than its published expense ratio of 5 basis points, with an average actual tracking difference versus its index of just 2 bps. VTI covers the entire U.S. stock market, basically for free; it’s hard to argue with that.

Nominee No. 5: WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity (HEDJ | B-48)
The only nonvanilla ETF to make the top 10 flows list in 2014, HEDJ has captured the attention (and dollars) of tactical investors looking to make a currency-hedged bet on eurozone equities. With the euro on the rocks, its ability to protect against falling currency meant it outperformed non-hedged European equity ETFs by 10-12 percent for the year. HEDJ attracted $4.9 billion of inflows in 2014.

Category 3: Best New ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most important ETF launched in 2014. Note: Importance is measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes. The award may recognize ETFs that open new areas of the market, lower costs, drive risk-adjusted performance or provide innovative exposures not previously available to most investors. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014, are eligible.

Nominee No. 1: EMQQ Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce (EMQQ | B-48)

As amazing as emerging market funds like VWO, EEM or IEMG are, they do have some conspicuous holes, which EMQQ aims to fill. Investors who want to own all of the emerging markets cannot overlook EMQQ, which will give them access to Internet and e-commerce companies that are typically excluded from traditional indexes because they are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Nominee No. 2: First Trust Dorsey Wright Focus 5 ETF (FV | C-23)

FV is a perfect example of how flexible ETFs are. This fund qualifies as a catchy riff on the “smart beta” trend, putting into one convenient, dynamic and tradable fund-of-funds wrapper Tom Dorsey’s popular system of technical analysis. It was the fastest-growing new ETF launched in 2014, pulling in $1.2 billion in inflows.

Nominee No. 3: iShares Core Total USD Bond Market ETF (IUSB | D)

Broad-market bond funds that track the Barclays Aggregate overlook certain corners of the U.S. bond market: High-yield bonds are excluded from the Agg, for instance, as are many internationally issued bonds denominated in U.S. dollars. IUSB offers a broader take on the bond market, bringing extra yield to core bond exposure. It’s also cheap, charging just 0.15 percent a year in expenses.

Nominee No. 4: Market Vectors ChinaAMC China Bond ETF (CBON)

CBON offered U.S. investors access to Chinese debt issued in mainland China for the very first time. With the Chinese market rallying and bond opportunities looking thin elsewhere, this novel exposure is a welcome addition to the mix.

Nominee No. 5: PowerShares DB Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy (PDBC)

This fund isn’t the first of its kind in the commodity space, but it is the cheapest, and that counts for a lot in a pocet of the ETF industry that remains relatively pricey. The fund allows investors to steer clear of cumbersome “K-1” tax forms reserved for futures while still enjoying futures-like exposure.

Category No. 4: Most Innovative New ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most groundbreaking and disruptive ETF launched in 2014. This is an ETF that is pushing the envelope in terms of what kinds of exposures can be packaged into an ETF. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014, are eligible.

Nominee No. 1: EGShares Blue Chip ETF (BCHP | F-33)
The EGShares Blue Chip ETF is the first U.S.-listed "economic exposure" themed ETF, targeting emerging markets through export-focused developed market companies. True economic exposure—as opposed to headquarters location—is increasingly the focus of institutions, and it’s exciting to see it in an ETF wrapper.

Nominee No. 2: iShares Commodities Select Strategy ETF (COMT)

The iShares Commodities Select Strategy ETF is the first commodity ETF that targets exposure to the space through the use of both futures contracts and stocks of commodity-related companies, delivering commodities exposure with convenient 1099 tax treatment.

Nominee No. 3: ProShares CDS North American HY Credit (TYTE) and the ProShares CDS Short North American HY Credit (WYDE)
The ProShares CDS North American HY Credit and CDS Short North American HY Credit ETFs are the first U.S.-listed ETFs focusing on betting for or against the high-yield market through the use of index-based credit default swaps.

Nominee No. 4: Reality Shares DIVS (DIVY)

The Reality Shares DIVS ETF is the first pure-play ETF focused on capturing dividend growth. DIVY doesn't hold stocks, but holds offsetting listed options as its strategy. The fund aims for steady growth from increasing dividends without the volatility of stock price movements by relying on offsetting derivatives—primarily listed options. The fund gains only when actual dividend growth exceeds the expected dividend growth baked into its options positions.

Nominee No. 5: WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises (XSOE)

The WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises ETF is the first of its kind in the emerging markets space. XSOE deliberately excludes the overbearing hand of companies owned by the state, mostly in the financial and energy sectors.

Category No. 5: Best New U.S. Equity ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most important U.S. equity ETF launched in 2014. Note: Importance is measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes. The award may recognize ETFs that open new areas of the market, lower costs, drive risk-adjusted performance or provide innovative exposures not previously available to most investors. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014, are eligible.

Nominee No. 1: Deep Value ETF (DVP)

The Deep Value ETF pulls 20 stocks from the S&P 500 exhibiting the "deepest value," based on unconventional quality screens and valuation metrics like value-to-EBITDA.

Nominee No. 2: ETRACS Wells Fargo MLP Ex-Energy ETN (FMLP)

The ETRACS Wells Fargo MLP Ex-Energy ETN separates itself from a plethora of other MLP products with an unorthodox methodology that deliberately screens out energy-related MLPs. Instead of an energy focus, FMLP's portfolio tilts toward private equity, real estate and materials companies.

Nominee No. 3: First Trust RBA American Industrial Renaissance ETF (AIRR | B-19)

The First Trust RBA American Industrial Renaissance ETF is the first ETF to bet on the trickle-down effect from a potential U.S. industrial revival. Through its multifactor selection process, AIRR targets mid- and small-caps from the industrial services and community bank sectors.

Nominee No. 4: iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF (DGRO | A-72)

The iShares Core Dividend Growth ETF provides a very cost-effective way to capture companies that have a five-year track record of dividend increases. DGRO is broad, holding more than 300 companies, and makes its constituent selection based on dividends, dividend growth and payout ratio.

Nominee No. 5: ValueShares US Quantitative Value ETF (QVAL)

The ValueShares US Quantitative Value ETF is the first and only actively managed value-focused U.S. equity ETF. The fund implements a vigorous screening process that includes forensic accounting, valuation and quality.

Category No. 6: Best New International/Global Equity ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most important international or global equity ETF launched in 2014. Note: Importance is measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes. The award may recognize ETFs that open new areas of the market, lower costs, drive risk-adjusted performance or provide innovative exposures not previously available to most investors. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014, are eligible.

Nominee No. 1: Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 500 China A-Shares Small Cap ETF (ASHS | F-62)

The Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 500 China A-Shares Small Cap ETF is the first U.S.-listed ETF capturing China's mainland small-cap stocks. The fund uses its RQFII quota to hold stocks comprising the CSI 500 Index.

Nominee No. 2: Deutsche X-trackers Harvest MSCI All China Equity ETF (CN | F-81)
The Deutsche X-trackers Harvest MSCI All China Equity ETF is the first ETF in the world to provide comprehensive coverage of both the onshore and offshore Chinese equity markets in one ETF wrapper.

Nominee No. 3: EMQQ Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF (EMQQ)

The EMQQ Emerging Markets Internet & Ecommerce ETF targets innovative Internet and e-commerce companies from emerging markets. It fills an important niche because these very companies are often excluded from major MSCI- and FTSE-based emerging markets indexes due to their U.S. listings.

Nominee No. 4: iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF (CRBN) and SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF (LOWC)

The iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF and SPDR MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF both aim to capture marketlike exposure to the MSCI ACWI Index, with a bias toward companies with a smaller carbon footprint, measured by lower greenhouse gas and carbon emissions.

Nominee No. 5: WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises ETF (XSOE)

The WisdomTree Emerging Markets ex-State-Owned Enterprises ETF captures emerging markets through a different lens. It excludes companies owned by the state, which tilts the fund away from financials and energy toward more consumer-focused sectors.

Category No. 7: Best New Fixed-Income ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most important fixed-income ETF launched in 2014. Note: Importance is measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes. The award may recognize ETFs that open new areas of the market, lower costs, drive risk-adjusted performance or provide innovative exposures not previously available to most investors. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014 are eligible.

Nominee No. 1: FlexShares Credit-Scored US Corporate Bond Index (SKOR)

SKOR provides investors a “smart beta”-type exposure to the intermediate investment-grade corporate space. The fund’s underlying index skirts the conflict-laden credit rating agencies, using a proprietary credit evaluation process to score issuers’ creditworthiness and weight securities accordingly.

Nominee No. 2: Global X GF China Bond (CHNB)

As the first ETF to provide access to China's onshore bond interbank market, CHNB opened up the third-largest fixed-income market in the world. The fund pulled in nearly $50 million in investor flows in 2014, and offered investors the opportunity to access a relatively high-yielding asset with low credit risk.

Nominee No. 3: iShares Core Total USD Bond Market ETF (IUSB | D)

Broad-market bond funds that track the Barclays Aggregate overlook certain corners of the U.S. bond market: High-yield bonds are excluded from the Agg, for instance, as are some internationally issued bonds denominated in U.S. dollars. IUSB offers a broader take on the bond market, bringing extra yield to core bond exposure. It’s also cheap, charging just 0.15 percent a year in expenses.

Nominee No. 4: Market Vectors ChinaAMC China Bond (CBON)

The first U.S.-listed ETF designed to provide investors with direct access to China's onshore bond market. CBON provides investors with exposure to all major segments of the Chinese fixed-income market, including sovereigns, policy banks and high-rated corporate bonds.

Nominee No. 5: ProShares CDS North American HY Credit (TYTE) and the ProShares CDS Short North American HY Credit (WYDE)

The ProShares CDS North American HY Credit and CDS Short North American HY Credit ETFs are the first U.S.-listed ETFs focusing on betting for or against the high-yield market through the use of index-based credit default swaps.

Category No. 8: Best New Commodity ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most important commodity ETF launched in 2014. Note: Importance is measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes. The award may recognize ETFs that open new areas of the market, lower costs, drive risk-adjusted performance or provide innovative exposures not previously available to most investors. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014, are eligible.

Nominee No. 1: Merk Gold Trust (OUNZ)

The Merk Gold Trust is a physically backed gold ETF that provides exposure to spot gold prices. It separates itself from its peers with its "redeemable gold" feature, allowing shareholders the option to exchange shares for delivery of physical gold.

Nominee No. 2: PowerShares DB Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy ETF (PDBC)

The PowerShares DB Optimum Yield Diversified Commodity Strategy ETF is an old-school commodity ETF in a "next gen" ETF wrapper. PBDC's exposure is similar to that of sister fund DBC, except that PBDC is structured as an open-ended fund and holds its futures contracts through a subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, thereby avoiding K-1 tax reporting requirements of commodity pool ETF like DBC.

Nominee No. 3: The AdvisorShares Gartman Gold ETFs (GEUR | D-33) (GYEN| D-31) (GGBP | D-28)

This suite of AdvisorShares Gartman gold ETFs targets gold prices against non-U.S. dollar currencies. GEUR targets gold denominated in euros; GYEN targets gold denominated in yen; while GGBP targets gold denominated in pound sterling.



Category No. 9: Best New Currency ETF – 2014

There are no nominees in this category.



Category No. 10: Best New Alternatives ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most important alternatives ETF launched in 2014. Note: Importance is measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes. The award may recognize ETFs that open new areas of the market, lower costs, drive risk-adjusted performance or provide innovative exposures not previously available to most investors. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014 are eligible.

Nominee No. 1: Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF (GAA)

The Cambria Global Asset Allocation ETF offers a fixed, mixed exposure to the market: 40 percent equity, 40 percent fixed income and 20 percent alternatives, though not all positions are necessarily long. It charges a segment-low fee of 0.29 percent, whereas the typical fee is closer to 1.00 percent.

Nominee No. 2: First Trust Long/Short Equity (FTLS)

The First Trust Long/Short Equity ETF takes both long and short position in U.S.-listed equity with U.S. and foreign exposure. The actively managed funds will typically be 90-100 percent long and 0-50 percent short. FTLS uses earnings quality as a guide to setting its long/short exposure. It aims for balanced, net long equity exposure.

Nominee No. 3: PowerShares Multi-Strategy Alternative (LALT)

The PowerShares Multi-Strategy Alternative Portfolio Fund seeks positive total returns that are uncorrelated with the major asset classes. It does so by holding a mix of long individual equity positions that it believes are undervalued, hedged by short positions in equity index futures, with currency forwards and leveraged interest rate futures rounding out the list.

Nominee No. 4: ProShares Managed Futures Strategy (FUTS)

FUTS tracks an index of commodity, currency and Treasury futures, weighted by risk contribution to the portfolio. Price momentum determines whether the fund takes long or short positions in each contract.

Nominee No. 5: ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution (ALTS)

The ProShares Morningstar Alternatives Solution tracks an index of seven alternative ETFs, issued by ProShares, offering diversified exposure to the alternative space. The index allocates to the ETFs with an optimizer that aims to maximize risk-adjusted returns. The optimizer assumes investors have existing positions in stocks and bonds.

Category No. 11: Best New Asset Allocation ETF – 2014
Awarded to the most important ETF launched in 2014 that combines exposure to multiple asset classes. Note: Importance is measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes. The award may recognize ETFs that open new areas of the market, lower costs, drive risk-adjusted performance or provide innovative exposures not previously available to most investors. Only ETFs with inception dates after Jan. 1, 2014, are eligible.


Nominee No. 1: Cambria Global Momentum (GMOM)

The actively managed Cambria Global Momentum ETF relies on price momentum to select ETFs across a wide variety of asset classes, ranging from vanilla equities to more narrowly focused plays.

Nominee No. 2: First Trust Strategic Income ETF (FDIV)

The First Trust Strategic Income ETF holds a broad actively managed mix of multi-asset income producers, including equities, high-yield fixed income, MLPs, senior loans and EM sovereign debt, all at a reasonable fee of 87 bps.

Nominee No. 3: Global X | JPMorgan Efficiente (EFFE)

The Global X | JPMorgan Efficiente ETF tracks an index that allocates across asset classes via ETFs based on recent risk and return performance, including developed and emerging market equities and bonds, REITs, TIPs, broad commodities and gold.

Nominee No. 4: iShares Commodities Select Strategy (COMT)

The iShares Commodities Select Strategy is essentially a commodity play that lands in ETF.com’s asset-allocation segment by rule: ETF.com considers any ETF that combines multiple major asset classes to be an asset allocation fund. COMT delivers a unique blend of “traditional” commodities futures and commodity-related equities. The latter should reduce the impact of decay from contango.

Category No. 12: ETF Issuer of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the ETF issuer that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through product introductions, product performance, fund management, asset gathering, investor support and innovation.

Nominee No. 1: BlackRock
BlackRock broadened its already-diverse playbook of funds with a broad array of new funds, while continuing to compete head-to-head with the industry’s low-cost leaders. It led all issuers with new inflows, pulling in more than $82 billion in new funds.

Nominee No. 2: Charles Schwab

Schwab’s no-nonsense suite of funds offering broad coverage with tiny fees continued to gain in assets and liquidity. The issuer’s AUM grew more than 30 percent on new inflows, and like Vanguard, enjoyed “sticky” assets in 2014.

Nominee No. 3: Deutsche Bank
Deutsche Bank’s one-two punch of straightforward currency-hedged products and China A-shares exposure gained a significant following in 2014. The firm ranked in the top 10 for inflows among issuers, and brought some of the most innovative new products to market.

Nominee No. 4: First Trust
First Trust pulled in more than $11 billion in net new money in 2014, making it the fastest-growing firm outside of the “Big 3” (iShares, State Street, Vanguard). It had positive inflows in 69 of its 94 ETFs, including large inflows into new funds like the First Trust Five (FV). The issuer bucked the “race to zero” fee trend and proved there was still room for new, nonvanilla products focused on outperforming the market.

Nominee No. 5: Vanguard
Vanguard’s “steady as she goes” approach was rewarded by investors in 2014, who poured more than $74 billion in net new money into the issuer’s suite of ETFs. Vanguard did not launch a single new fund in 2014, but still garnered the No. 22 spot in annual inflows by issuer, and its relentless pursuit of low-cost strategies brings positive energy to the industry as a whole.

Category No. 13: Most Innovative ETF Issuer of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the ETF provider that has launched the most innovative and groundbreaking ETFs in 2014.

Nominee No. 1: BlackRock

BlackRock achieved remarkable innovation in a holistic sense: Its 29 funds launched in 2014 showed incredible breadth: Qatar & UAE exposure, year-targeted corporate bonds, Japanese minimum volatility, optimized bond, interest-rate-hedged LQD | A-77 and HYG | B-68, and floating Treasurys, to name a few.

Nominee No. 2: ProShares

ProShares branched out from its geared roots with the launch of pure credit-risk plays available (TYTE and WYDE), an infrastructure fund, a dividend growth strategy and two alternate ETFs, including a unique risk-weighted managed futures play FUTS.

Nominee No. 3: Reality Shares

RealityShares’ DIVY offers a bold—even radical—approach to dividend growth, aiming to strip out underlying stock movements and run-rate dividend yield and deliver pure exposure to dividend growth.

Nominee No. 4: Van Eck

Van Eck dove deep into China in 2014, delivering the first access to mainland China debt in an ETF wrapper as well as exposure to smaller and more tech-centric equities. International and emerging quality plays and a high-yield muni bond fund rounded out their 2014 offerings.

Nominee No. 5: WisdomTree

WisdomTree’s 2014 offerings included a suite of funds delivering unprecedented granularity in currency-hedged sector exposure to Japan. The issuer’s unique EM launch, XSOE—which screens out otherwise-dominant state-owned enterprises—also stood out.



Category No. 14: New ETF Issuer of the Year – 2014

Nominee No. 1: ARK Investment Management

ARK brought four themed ETFs to market in 2014 offering a singular focus on innovation, from genomics to next-gen Web development to industrial innovation and more.

Nominee No. 2: BioShares

BioShares’ pair of new launches offers narrowly targeted exposure to biotech firms whose lead products have been approved by the FDA (BBP) and whose products are undergoing clinical trials (BBC). The differentiation matters in the diverse biotech space.

Nominee No. 3: Merk Investments

Merk’s OUNZ is the first ETF offering redeemable gold, offering flexibility and security to retail gold investors.

Nominee No. 4: Reality Shares

Reality Shares’ DIVY extracts the difference between expected and actual dividend growth as reflected in options prices. This entirely new approach differs radically from conventional dividend growth funds whose return patterns are affected by underlying stock prices.

Nominee No. 5: WBI Shares

WBI launched a broad (10 funds) and well-funded (~$1 billion in AUM total) suite of active equity funds, instantly making them a leading issuer in this underserved space. These active, tactically risk-managed ETFs are designed to provide long-term capital appreciation while protecting capital during unfavorable market periods.

Category No. 15: Index Provider of the Year –2014
Awarded to the index provider that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through index introductions, research, advisor support and more.

Nominee No. 1: ChinaBond

The ChinaBond China High Quality Bond Index has opened up the mainland Chinese bond market to U.S. investors.

Nominee No. 2: China Securities Index

CSI has long been a leading China index provider and is a rising provider in the U.S. CSI’s indexes underlie six U.S.-listed ETFs, including ASHR | D-39 and KWEB | B-24.

Nominee No. 3: MSCI

With more than 650 ETFs tracking MSCI indexes globally, more ETFs track MSCI’s indexes than any other index provider. MSCI works with clients globally to conduct research and construct quality indexes, and has been focused on factor indexes in recent years.

Nominee No. 4: Solactive

Solactive works with clients to build custom indexes, offering cost-effective passive exposure to equities, fixed income and currencies. The firm pushes the industry to lower prices.

Nominee No. 5: WisdomTree

WisdomTree designs tactical indexes that allow ETF investors to access highly targeted investment themes in the equity markets. With origins in dividend strategies, WisdomTree has branched out to explore other fundamental metrics such as earnings and macroeconomic features such as import/export exposure, at times with a currency hedge.

Category No. 16: Index of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the index that has done the most to provide new ways of considering investment strategies, opportunities or ideas.

Nominee No. 1: Bloomberg Dollar Index

The Bloomberg Dollar index breaks decades of convention by weighting currencies based on their trade-weights with the U.S. Older currency indexes assign weights largely based on agreements set at Bretton Woods in 1944.

Nominee No. 2: EMQQ Index

Some of the world’s most innovative online companies have come from the emerging markets. EMQQ is the first index to package those companies together.

Nominee No. 3: Endowment Index

Nasdaq's Endowment Index provides a unique proxy for the asset allocation strategies of leading endowments using low-cost ETFs.

Nominee No. 4: MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target Indexes

The MSCI Low Carbon indexes give investors a way to bet that environmental friendliness is a long-term ticket to success.

Nominee No. 5: S&P 500

The bellwether U.S. equity index is far from stodgy, and in a banner year for U.S. stock returns, the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 most popular ETFs of 2014 (as measured by fund flows) all tracked the S&P 500.

Category No. 17: ETF Liquidity Provider of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the ETF liquidity provider (including market maker, authorized participant, agency broker, etc.) that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through education, support, services, innovation and outreach.

Nominee No. 1: Cantor Fitzgerald

Cantor's daily market commentary and consultative trading has put it at the forefront of many investors’ minds.

Nominee No. 2: Goldman Sachs

Goldman Sach’s recent efforts to build out new markets and customer types is helping to drive the ETF industry forward, and contributing to excellent investor outcomes.

Nominee No. 3: KCG

After significant internal turnover, KCG has put itself on track to succeed, and is back in the mix as one of the largest ETF traders on the planet.

Nominee No. 4: Jane Street

The "broker's broker" has come out of the shadows and become a central player in large-scale trading, and is making a bigger name for itself than ever before.

Nominee No. 5: Susquehanna

Susquehanna's long-term commitment to the ETF space has given it a unique position, especially with new issues and new issuers. It remains one of the hidden forces propelling liquidity in the ETF market.



Category No. 18: Best Online Broker for ETF-Focused Investors – 2014
Awarded to the online brokerage offering the best package for ETF-focused investors. This award will consider commission-free trading options, education materials, supporting services and other factors.

Nominee No. 1: Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab's own ETF lineup and its broad OneSource “free-trading” program make it a natural home for ETF investors.

Nominee No. 2: Etrade

Etrade's offerings may not be as broad as others, but they're firmly focused on active traders, with pricing to match.

Nominee No. 3: Fidelity

Fidelity's deep commitment to education and ETF information stand out in a crowded field. Its screening tools and data are continually evolving and getting better.

Nominee No. 4: Interactive Brokers

Interactive Broker's commitment to low costs and professional tools win accolades from hard-core traders.

Nominee No. 5: TD Ameritrade

TD Ameritrade’s tool set is second to none, and its commitment to commission-free ETFs—selected independently—is commendable.



Category No. 19: Best ETF Offering: Wirehouse Category – 2014
Awarded to the wirehouse that offer its reps and advisors the best total offering in the ETF space, including research, data, tools, trading capabilities and education.

Nominee No. 1: Merrill Lynch

With excellent and meaningful ETF due diligence from the broad Merrill Lynch to its smaller U.S. trust subsidiaries, Merrill also offers solid model portfolios from thoughtful strategists.

Nominee No. 2: Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley's well-rounded offerings set the standard at wire houses with solid due diligence, trading expertise and portfolio models.

Nominee No. 3: UBS

UBS offers sharp portfolio offerings combined with old-world private bank service, pushing the envelope of ETF strategy design.

Nominee No. 4: Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo retains some of the best ETF-analytical talent in the business.

Category No. 20: Best ETF Offering: Independent Broker-Dealer Category – 2014

Awarded to the independent broker-dealer offering its reps and advisors the best total offering in the ETF space, including research, data, tools, trading capabilities and education.

Nominee No. 1: Charles Schwab

Charles Schwab has been a leader in supporting ETF-focused financial advisors for years, from good basic services and commission-free trading to stand-out model portfolios from Windhaven.

Nominee No. 2: Commonwealth Financial
Commonwealth has stepped up its game in ETFs, offering solid research and a network of ETF strategists to provide its advisors with best-of-breed solutions.

Nominee No. 3: Convergex

Convergex leads with market commentary and investment insight, offering incisive views on the macro markets and ETFs in general.

Nominee No. 4: Envestnet

Envestnet's big-tent approach to advisor roles is backed by solid technology and service. It has one of the most-respected ETF strategist research teams anywhere.

Nominee No. 5: LPL Financial

LPL's adoption of the ETF-strategist model is working for advisors and investors alike.



Category No. 21: Best ETF Issuer Website – 2014
Awarded to the most informative and user-friendly website by an ETF issuer.

Nominee No. 1: BlackRock

BlackRock's now-streamlined fund pages offer top-level portfolio information at a glance, with more detailed holdings and returns information available to download. Tools, white papers and blogs round out a very well-developed website.

Nominee No. 2: First Trust

First Trust puts the most critical information needed by investors front and center on its website. Index construction methodology is the biggest determinant of fund returns, and First Trust explains complex processes in simple bullet points, right at the top of each fund's home page. Data are easy to access, with full NAV history available. Full index holding data is offered alongside fund holding data—a very nice touch.

Nominee No. 3: SPDRs

SSgA provides lots of detailed information on a well-organized page for its SPDRs. Fund data such as NAV returns are easy to download.

Nominee No. 4: Van Eck

Van Eck's portfolio analytics tab offers useful metrics such as P/E, P/B and market-cap breakdowns. Van Eck also provides the ETF industry's only securities-lending tab, displaying collateral and counterparty information.

Nominee No. 5: WisdomTree

With separate pages for its ETFs and indexes, WisdomTree explains investment strategy, provides NAV history and gives a basic overview of portfolio exposure. Clear and timely distributions information is a plus, as well as great investment insight and white papers.

Category No. 22: Best Index Provider Website – 2014
Awarded to the most informative and user-friendly website by an index provider.

Nominee No. 1: Edhec Scientific Beta

The only index website to provide do-it-yourself index-building tools, for free.

Nominee No. 2: Morningstar

Clear guidebooks, a list of investable products tracking its indexes, reconstitution dates and analysis make Morningstar’s index website a winner.

Nominee No. 3: MSCI

Offering constituent history, Bloomberg and Reuters tickers, plus detailed methodology documents.

Nominee No. 4: Russell

The site includes basic information on Russell Indexes product offering, client solutions and index methodology, but goes many steps beyond to provide useful tools and timely information for investors.

Nominee No. 5: S&P Dow Jones

Full index returns available for a five-year period and copious other data in a well-designed site earned S&P Dow Jones the nomination in this category.



Category No. 23: Best ETF Issuer Capital Markets Desk – 2014
Awarded to the ETF issuer providing the most useful support to advisors for ETF trading.

Nominee No. 1: BlackRock

Clients highlight BlackRock’s commitment to pre- and post-trade analytics.

Nominee No. 2: Deutsche Bank

Deutsche has invested heavily in all areas of their ETF business, advisor trade support included.

Nominee No. 3: First Trust

From a cold start not long ago, First Trust has maintained a strong commitment to advisor support and ETF execution.

Nominee No. 4: WisdomTree

Led by Dave Abner, WisdomTree has some of the best and brightest ETF trading experts in the country.

Nominee No. 5: Van Eck

Van Eck goes the extra mile in helping investors understand how to trade niche products.

Category No. 24: ETF Strategist of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the ETF strategist/ETF model portfolio provider who has done the most to improve investor outcomes in the previous year. Automated investment services are eligible for this award, as they provide managed portfolios en masse to investors.

Nominee No. 1: Betterment

Robo advisors figure highly in this year’s list of nominees, as the democratizing power they bring to the table is exciting and likely to upset many parts of the advisory business. Betterment gets the nomination for bringing the robo-advisory business model to the advisory community and thus extending the industry’s reach.

Nominee No. 2: RiverFront Investment

This firm features a seasoned and well-oiled machine that is devoted to the vast potential of ETFs. The team, assembled at Wachovia and reassembled at RiverFront, is utterly transparent in how it carries out its business, disclosing and explaining trades almost in real time to its clients, creating a compelling metaphor for ETFs themselves.

Nominee No. 3: Sage Advisory Services

With so many investors anxious about what happens next in the bond market, recognizing a money management firm so thoroughly steeped in fixed income is, at the very least, long overdue. More to the point, Sage’s liability-focused approach to managing assets, and its deep knowledge of the fixed-income ETF space, is possibly without peer.

Nominee No. 4: Wealthfront

Last year’s winner in this category, Wealthfront is big enough and important enough (and growing fast enough) to win this award two years in a row. It crossed the $1 billion-in-assets level in 2014, and is rapidly closing in on $2 billion. With Burt Malkiel as CIO, Wealthfront clients still have access to one of the brightest minds in finance as well as one the most exciting tech stories coming out of Silicon Valley.

Nominee No. 5: Windhaven

If it’s true that getting to the top is easier than staying there, then Windhaven deserves serious kudos. The firm is the biggest ETF strategist, and the smoothness with which Windhaven managed its acquisition by Schwab … as well as the departure of its founder last year … suggest a company in firm control of its destiny.

Category No. 25: ETF Ticker of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the ETF with the best new ETF ticker. The ETF must have launched in 2014 to qualify.

Nominee No. 1: CRBN: iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF


Nominee No. 2: HACK: PureFunds ISE Cyber Security ETF

Nominee No. 3: OUNZ: Merk Gold ETF

Nominee No. 4: TAPR: Barclays Inverse US Treasury Composite ETN

Nominee No. 5: TYTE/WYDE: ProShares CDS North American HY Credit and ProShares CDS Short North American HY Credit

 

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