ICI Launches ETF Education Website

October 18, 2012

ICI, the mutual fund industry trade group, launches an ETF education website for investors.


Investors now have a central source of ETF educational resources thanks to a website that the Investment Company Institute, along with over a dozen ETF providers, have put together in an effort to fill an information gap many see as detrimental to the growth of the ETF market ahead.

The new site, www.understandETFs.org, is designed to “enhance public understanding of ETFs” and will include not only a roster of educational resources, but will also serve up a Q&A feature to address the basics of ETF investing, ICI said in a press release.

The need to educate investors about exchange-traded products is indeed something many fund providers and market analysts have touted as imperative if the 20-year-old industry is to make another leap. Several studies, most recently one by Schwab, have pointed to the growing role smaller retail investors have in the expansion of the ETF market, now pegged at about $1.3 trillion spread across more than 1,400 funds.

The ICI initiative, which includes 14 ETF providers, comes about six months after the debut of the National ETF Association (NETFA), a trade group specifically focused on ETPs. However, NETFA has not been able to bring aboard some of the biggest ETF players, including BlackRock’s iShares, State Street Global Advisors and Vanguard.

Big-league support is something this new website appears to have enlisted. SSgA’s Global Head of SPDR ETFs Jim Ross is in fact the chairman of the ICI ETF Committee that has helped pull this project together. Other firms like iShares, Vanguard and Invesco PowerShares are also listed among the 14 ETF providers included in this initiative.

“Business models and competition aside, this new website educates investors using the ETF industry’s collective thinking,” SSgA’s Ross said in the release. “We hope that investors, advisers and other market participants find it a useful tool.”

“This initiative will help raise the awareness of ETF construction and potential implementation,” PowerShares’ head Ben Fulton added.


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