Category No. 13: Most Innovative ETF Issuer of the Year – 2014
Awarded to the ETF provider that has launched the most innovative and groundbreaking ETFs in 2014.
Nominee No. 1: BlackRock
BlackRock achieved remarkable innovation in a holistic sense: Its 29 funds launched in 2014 showed incredible breadth: Qatar & UAE exposure, year-targeted corporate bonds, Japanese minimum volatility, optimized bond, interest-rate-hedged LQD | A-77 and HYG | B-68, and floating Treasurys, to name a few.
Nominee No. 2: ProShares
ProShares branched out from its geared roots with the launch of pure credit-risk plays available (TYTE and WYDE), an infrastructure fund, a dividend growth strategy and two alternate ETFs, including a unique risk-weighted managed futures play FUTS.
Nominee No. 3: Reality Shares
RealityShares’ DIVY offers a bold—even radical—approach to dividend growth, aiming to strip out underlying stock movements and run-rate dividend yield and deliver pure exposure to dividend growth.
Nominee No. 4: Van Eck
Van Eck dove deep into China in 2014, delivering the first access to mainland China debt in an ETF wrapper as well as exposure to smaller and more tech-centric equities. International and emerging quality plays and a high-yield muni bond fund rounded out their 2014 offerings.
Nominee No. 5: WisdomTree
WisdomTree’s 2014 offerings included a suite of funds delivering unprecedented granularity in currency-hedged sector exposure to Japan. The issuer’s unique EM launch, XSOE—which screens out otherwise-dominant state-owned enterprises—also stood out.
Category No. 14: New ETF Issuer of the Year – 2014
Nominee No. 1: ARK Investment Management
ARK brought four themed ETFs to market in 2014 offering a singular focus on innovation, from genomics to next-gen Web development to industrial innovation and more.
Nominee No. 2: BioShares
BioShares’ pair of new launches offers narrowly targeted exposure to biotech firms whose lead products have been approved by the FDA (BBP) and whose products are undergoing clinical trials (BBC). The differentiation matters in the diverse biotech space.
Nominee No. 3: Merk Investments
Merk’s OUNZ is the first ETF offering redeemable gold, offering flexibility and security to retail gold investors.
Nominee No. 4: Reality Shares
Reality Shares’ DIVY extracts the difference between expected and actual dividend growth as reflected in options prices. This entirely new approach differs radically from conventional dividend growth funds whose return patterns are affected by underlying stock prices.
Nominee No. 5: WBI Shares
WBI launched a broad (10 funds) and well-funded (~$1 billion in AUM total) suite of active equity funds, instantly making them a leading issuer in this underserved space. These active, tactically risk-managed ETFs are designed to provide long-term capital appreciation while protecting capital during unfavorable market periods.