Next US Treasury Secretary Big Fan Of ETFs

January 17, 2013

Who knew that soon-to-be Treasury Secretary Lew loved ETFs?

The ETF industry has a new and high-ranking fan in the form of newly nominated U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.

The White House chief of staff whom President Obama is having replace Tim Geithner appears to be a big believer in indexing, with many of his investments tied to low-cost index ETFs, according to his Executive Branch financial disclosure report dated May 2012.

Lew listed several ETFs as part of his portfolio, including the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA), the iShares Russell 2000 Index Fund (NYSEArca: IWM), the PowerShares QQQ Trust (NasdaqGM: QQQ), the SPDR S&P MidCap 400 ETF (NYSEArca: MDY) and the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY).

The bulk of Lew’s assets are tied to TIAA-CREF, a nonprofit asset manager of retirement accounts. His investments also included anywhere from $50,001 to $100,000 worth of Israeli government bonds and a small amount of U.S. Treasury notes amounting to less than $1,001.

The financial disclosure speaks volumes about Lew’s belief in low-cost funds, and he is not alone. Indeed, the 20-year-old ETF industry has been gathering assets at a record pace, flirting with $1.4 trillion in assets benchmarked to some 1,400 U.S.-listed ETFs. Investors, it seems, are more and more focused on how important minimizing costs are to successful investment.

“Jack Lew will bring an impressive record of service in both the public and private sectors for over three decades, and economic expertise, to this important role, and his deep knowledge of domestic and international economic issues will enable him to take on the challenges facing our economy at home and abroad on day one,” a White House official said, as reported by ABC news.

Lew, who currently serves as the White House chief of staff, also served as President Obama’s budget director, and before that, served as chief operating officer of Citigroup’s Global Wealth Management and Alternative Investments divisions.

President Obama is expected to officially announce Geithner’s replacement later today.



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