Best New ETF Issuer
Awarded to the new ETF issuer that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through product introductions, product performance, fund management, investor support and innovation. Issuers must have launched their first ETF in 2015. ETF.com considers “issuer” to mean the “brand” of the ETF, as classified by FactSet.
BioShares burst onto the scene in 2015 from the group LifeSci Index Partners LLC, a provider of index-based health care products. Its experience in the market is evident. The company’s two funds—BBP and BBC—divide the biotech market into companies with products and revenues, and companies with products in clinical trials, solving a major issue with existing biotech indexes. The fund complements this with one of the best websites in the business.
· John Hancock
John Hancock’s high-profile entry into the ETF market is notable for its partnership with Dimensional Fund Advisors, which powers the methodology behind the John Hancock ETFs. The multifactor methodology, emphasizing value as well as profit factors, make DFA-style exposures available to all investors for the first time; traditionally, DFA funds were only available to advisors operating inside the DFA program.
· Lattice Strategies
Born out of a family office, and with history as a subadvisor in the ETF space, Lattice came to market with a handful of ETFs offering risk-adjusted exposure to various corners of the global equity market. The funds’ intentions are perhaps best expressed in Lattice’s emerging market ETF, ROAM, which offers broad-based exposure to emerging markets without overweighting the biggest countries and sectors.
· Legg Mason
Legg Mason is aiming to make its name in the ETF space by offering broad-based exposure with a top-down overlay focused on risk diversification. The firm’s core ETFs examine the intercorrelations between different sectors, and try to match exposures in things that zig with those that zag.
· Pacer Financial
Pacer Financial’s “TrendPilot” ETFs take a well-trod approach to the market—rotating in and out of the markets based on momentum—and improve it by packaging it into a single, tax-efficient ETF wrapper.
Best Index Provider
Awarded to the index provider that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through index introductions, research, advisor support and more.
· FTSE Russell
2015 was a major year for FTSE Russell. After buying the Russell indexes in 2014, they moved into 2015 with an aggressive mandate to compete heavily in the U.S. and established a strong position in the fast-growing smart-beta space.
MSCI is a globally dominant index provider, and has been one of the biggest players in the ETF market since its inception. In 2015, the firm took a major step forward in its interaction with the financial advisor market, revamping its website and significantly enhancing its research output in the factor-investing world.
· Reality Shares
Reality Shares launched a new ETF series focused on the dividend space at the tail end of 2015. But it earned a nomination in this space primarily for its forward-thinking index website at www.realitysharesadvisors.com.
Do you need an index provider at all? Many investors increasingly prioritize the ETF brand over the index provider brand, and ETF issuers are considering hosting their own indexes in a bid to save on costs. If this category wins, we don’t know who will collect the award, but maybe that’s the point.
Solactive has disrupted the custom index by offering issuers high-quality indexes at a fraction of the cost of the more established firms. The group has won an increasing share of the custom index market and is looking to expand into its own smart-beta indexes as well.