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.