As 2014 draws to a close we take a look at ETF.com’s top ten most read stories. Themes included smart beta, fee wars and providers coming together to boost the retail market.
Kicking off the number one spot was a blog written in January on synthetic exchange traded funds and why they still have a place in the European ETF market.
The article was written after several ETF providers, including Deutsche Asset and Wealth Management announced that they would be converting swap-backed ETFs to a physical structure.
The investment bank launched this synthetic ETF in June. It tracks a smart beta, equally weighted index, from Edhec Risks Institute’s Scientific Beta platform.
The fund, called the MS Scientific Beta Global Equity Factors UCITS ETF, will be held on Morgan Stanley’s FundLogic platform and managed by Fundlogic SAS. The ETF is domiciled in Ireland and has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange, with a total expense ratio of 0.40 percent.
Edhec-Risk Institute’s smart beta platform teamed up with Amundi in February to bring smart beta ETFs to the market. The coupling followed on from the research house’s replication licence with Morgan Stanley in January.
Written in April, Rachael Revesz attempted to clear up the confusion about rebalancing when it comes to indexes. But, with many factors to consider the jury is still out on whether it is important or not, which is probably why this article comes in at fourth place.
It should have been good news in January as UK CPI inflation finally hit the Bank of England’s 2 percent target in December after four years of difficulty, but it was far from rosy – and we spell out why.
The ETF provider price wars continued apace this year with Vanguard making one of the first moves in January by slashing fees on its range of LifeStrategy multi-asset index funds, as well as cutting back entry charges and converting to a more retail-friendly fund structure.
Its range of five funds all saw their annual management charges lowered to 0.29 percent from 0.33 percent.
2014 heralded the launch of the physical China A-Shares ETF with the first being launched by Source, followed closely by DeAWM and latterly several others.
The CSOP Source FTSE China A50 UCITS ETF was listed On the LSE in conjunction with CSOP, a large asset management firm in China. It has a charge of 1.15 percent.
The godfather of ETFs, Lee Kranefuss, hit headlines this year with the announcement he would become executive chairman at Source after Warburg Pincus bought a majority stake in the ETF provider Source.
What has followed has been an aggressive push from the London-based provider across Europe and into the US.
Source now has a market share of 3.6 percent and its assets under management have also grown to €13.07 billion from €9.7 billion at the end of last year. It ranks sixth in Europe.
In February, nine leading ETP providers in Europe joined forces to boost the fledgling retail ETP market in the UK. The ETP providers in the joint venture included: Vanguard, iShares, SPDR ETFs, Source, UBS, HSBC, Lyxor, ETF Securities and db X-trackers.
The group, called the ETP Retail Forum proposed better education for investors, advisers and others involved in the market, while also improving the overall investment proposition to retail investors from a fund and platform viewpoint.
Famed for identifying the credit bubble, investment guru Axel Merk gave his views on currency hedged ETFs and how investors should actively manage their currency risk ahead of June’s Inside ETFs Europe conference.