London Calling

May 13, 2008

If you Americans think we've got a tough environment for spreading the word on index investing, try coming to Europe.

I've just spoken at the eFinancial News ETF conference, and based on the attendance and the repeated frustrations of numerous speakers and attendees, it's clear that the U.K. and continental Europe could use our ETF reporting and data here. The fee-based (ETF-using) advisor utopia that has become a bit of a stampede in the U.S., is still a glimmer in the eye of European investors, where ETF trading is still 90% dominated by institutional investors. With significant equity investing penetration among retail (though most of it overpriced and active), the U.K. would seem like the logical first place for a significant move into retail to take place. My sense, and the ETF industry's bet, is that it will, perhaps on a trajectory that is 3-5 years behind that of the U.S.

It was a very nice event for me though ... this is one articulate nation, I'll tell you that. British people make Americans sound like stammering dolts.

As a side note, every time I make a trip to London, I like this city that much more ... clearly I'm in the midst of an infatuation, as I think this trip marked the watershed event of London surpassing New York for my current "best city in the world" title. In a city that is so scrumptiously easy on the eyes and crackling with multinational energy, sheer wealth and food now on par with the best in the world, the only thing there is to complain about is how jaw-droppingly expensive it is to us Americans. Think dollar prices in pounds (X2) and add on about 50%.

I'm not quite sure what to make of the CPI review of Matt's. It's certainly an odd, if interesting accounting that would seem to bear little relation to reality. Matt - didn't you do a full-tilt review of CPI and other odd and influential indexes (like the Michigan consumer sentiment index and others) that have a direct influence on the markets and (in the CPI's case) the bottom lines of a large number of retired and indigent Americans? We should dig that up.

Back to Spain for me ... and I'm in New York again next week for those of you who want to try to track me down there. 

 

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