Lifetime Achievement Award: Jonathan Steinberg, founder, CEO and president, WisdomTree
Awarded annually to one living individual for outstanding long-term contributions to ETF investor outcomes, this award recognizes excellence.
As founder, CEO and president of WisdomTree, Jonathan Steinberg has played a critical role in driving the ETF forward.
WisdomTree is widely credited with being one of the most innovative ETF companies on the market. The only pure-play publicly traded ETF company has been pushing the envelope well beyond the confines of market-cap-based investing and pioneering many concepts, including dividend-focused investing, currency-hedged exposure and more.
Entering the ETF market with its first launch in 2006, Steinberg has led his firm to become the 5th-largest ETF issuer in the country, with $44.6 billion in assets under management. That feat he achieved with some of his original team still intact—a fact that gives WisdomTree the distinction of having one of the most veteran ETF teams in the market.
Finalists for this award included:
· Reggie Browne, Cantor Fitzgerald
· Jim Ross, State Street Global Advisors
· Matthew Tucker, BlackRock’s iShares
· Mark Wiedman, BlackRock’s iShares
Best New ETF: SPDR DoubleLine Total Return Tactical (TOTL)
Awarded to the most important ETF launched in 2015—importance being measured by the overall contribution to positive investor outcomes.
The SPDR DoubleLine Total Return Tactical (TOTL) is the winner in this category. The fastest-growing new ETF to launch in 2015, TOTL delivers bond guru Jeffrey Gundlach’s active management acumen in an easy-to-buy ETF wrapper. While it’s been a difficult market for bonds in general, TOTL has managed to outperform the market significantly since launch.
Most Innovative New ETF: Pacer Autopilot Hedged European (PAEU)
Awarded to the most groundbreaking and disruptive ETF launched in 2015. This is an ETF that is innovating what kinds of exposure can be packaged into an ETF.
The Pacer Autopilot Hedged European (PAEU) tracks an index of large- and midcap eurozone equities selected and weighted by market cap, and toggles in or out of a currency hedge on a monthly basis based on EUR/USD momentum. It was the first ETF to offer a dynamic currency hedge.
Best New U.S. Equity ETF: Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF (GSLC)
Awarded to the most important U.S. equity ETF launched in 2015.
Goldman Sachs shook up the ETF world in September 2015 when it launched the Goldman Sachs ActiveBeta U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF (GSLC) with a bargain-basement expense ratio. The fund—combining exposure to four different factors in a single ETF—debuted with an expense ratio of just 0.09%, making it by far the cheapest “smart beta” ETF on the market.
Best New International/Global Equity ETF: EGShares EM Core ex-China (XCEM)
Awarded to the most important international or global equity ETF launched in 2015.
The EGShares EM Core ex-China (XCEM) offers investors the ability to sidestep China while still holding broad-based emerging market exposure at a time when China’s equity markets have really struggled. An “ex-China” ETF takes all of the complexities of owning China stocks—whether A-shares or H-shares—out by excluding the country from the mix. Finalists included: