[ETF Pulse appears Mondays and Thursdays. Drew Voros is Editor-in-Chief of ETF.com.]
When I rolled in like the San Francisco fog my first day at IndexUniverse (now ETF.com) offices on Sacramento Street near the Embarcadero at 5 a.m. on June 22, 2011, little did I know I was walking into my own ETF University. And it came at me fast.
I was hired to help the company's new breed of ETF Analysts & Data Nerds become a media organization that ran like a newsroom more than ad hoc content posting when the muse struck.
Feeling like an imposter who was in way over his heard intellectually, I was grateful when ETF.com's then-CEO and Co-founder Jim Wiandt gave me one simple instruction after I professed my ignorance about ETFs, the very topic on which the company was focused.
“There are eight ETF analysts out there (they consumed the middle of the office) and if you have any questions, smart or dumb, you ask them,” he said. “You know how to do that. If they won’t help you, let me know.”
So I sat down among the smartest ETF people in the world then and today—the likes of Elisabeth Kashner and Paul Britt, who today run FactSet’s ETF data and analytics; Dennis Hudachek, now director of ETFs & Index Funds at Charles Schwab; Paul Baiocchi, currently at ALPS as senior investment strategist; current Jane Street bond trader Ugo Egbunike ... and some dudes you might’ve heard of … current Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan and current ETF Trends CIO Dave Nadig, who led this merry band of ETF analysts in S.F. and data engineers in Quito, Ecuador.
ETF Boot Camp
The above-mentioned folks and others went out of their way to help me learn the ropes quickly. One year later, I was appointed editor-in-chief and operated under a simple rule: If I didn’t understand it, it didn’t get published. Our mission was to help investors and advisors make the right ETF choices. To do that, content had to be clear and simple to understand.
But I was lucky. I was immersed in this ETF brainiac brew and couldn’t have learned faster if it were force fed—which sometimes it felt like. But having that kind of ETF education boot camp is not available to all, and I was privileged to land in the situation I did.
But now there's education available like I received in my early days in the space. On Sept. 2, ETF.com, along with ETF industry veteran Nate Geraci, announced the opening of The ETF Institute. Consider this your latest nudge to check it out.
Help Like Never Before
Just as we launched the launch of the ETF Institute, the folks behind Inside ETFs announced they were canceling this month’s annual conference due to the COVID-19 resurgency of the delta variant. There’s always been a lot of talk at big events like Inside ETFs about the need for more education. But year after year, not much has happened after all the talk.
The ETF Institute is positioned to fill this need without your having to even leave your house. What we are offering is solid education content that covers what we think every professional in the ETF industry needs to know. Passing the Certified ETF (CETF) Advisor test is a way to measure investment professionals' comprehension of the ETF space and how it operates. We think this would be an excellent training tool for any ETF-related company, issuers, advisors or custodians … you name it. This will help.
To pass the 100-question test, you need to answer at least 70% of the questions correctly. You’ll then receive a Certified ETF Advisor certificate, your “CETF,” which will prove your knowledge of the workings of the ETF industry and its complexities as well as the structure's elegant and simple design that make it the biggest breakthrough in investing since the Internet.
Hope to see you at The ETF Institute. Class is in session.
Drew Voros can be reached at [email protected]