Not Quite Right, Jim

January 28, 2008

I didn't say that we should ban certain types of products, Jim. Quite the contrary.

I am all for innovation and new fund launches and innovative products.  I produce the only ETF report that captures all those developments in one space (www.indexuniverse.com/etfwatch). It's my bread-and-butter.

I just think we should be careful. ETFs have a tremendous brand right now. Think ETFs and you think innovation, low cost, tax efficient, accurate, etc. It's almost all positive.

But that brand needs to be protected. That's PR 101. There are big entrenched interests that are natural enemies of ETFs, and a press core that's looking for negative stories. So the industry as a whole ... not individual companies, but the industry as a whole ... has a stake in making sure that ETFs work and work well for their target audiences.  

There's no way to police that, of course ... to put limits on expense ratios or what have you. I never suggested that. I just wanted to jump-start a little discussion in the industry about what the core values of ETFs should be, and how we can protect them. That's usually the role of industry groups. So far, however, the only ETF industry group forming is a subgroup within the ICI. And don't even get me started on those guys.

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