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