Think You Know ETFs? Think Again

March 21, 2014

Dutch exchange traded fund provider Think ETFs is one of the leading, and oldest, Dutch providers in The Netherlands. The brain child of two traders from proprietary trading house Optiver it was launched in 2007 and now has assets of €750 million.

It was given a boost last year when in January commissions and inducements on financial services products were banned by the Dutch government. Echoing the UK’s FSA retail distribution review the aim was to force banks and independent advisors to be more transparent about costs. The Dutch government also banned commissions on mortgages and protection products.

One of the founders of Think ETFs Martijn Rozemuller and managing director talks to Rebecca Hampson, European Editor at about making it in the Dutch market and what challenges ETFs face with the retail sector.

RH: What are you doing at the moment?

MR: We started the business five years ago and aimed for the Dutch retail investor market. We have a big dividend tax advantage for Dutch retail investors, so this makes us very attractive for this group. However, we have also seen real growth and have drawn attention from the institutional market over the last two years, in some cases these investors can also benefit from the dividend tax advantage we hold over the foreign ETF issuers.

We are always looking at developing new products, but we only bring to market the products we feel are absolutely right for investors. We launched one ETF last year – the Think Sustainable World ETF and this year we are working on various projects.

Our biggest ETF now is the iBoxx AAA/AA ETF, which is a safe government bond ETF and has €300 million in AUM.

We issue ETFs on Euronext Amsterdam and we then have relationships with broker houses such as ABN Amro, ALEX, Binck Bank and others, whose clients buy our ETFs.

There are no plans to move out of Holland at the moment because we feel that we need to be really mature in our own market before we break into other markets. This is the current focus, but it does not mean that we are going to not consider moves further afield.

RH: Has RDR given the business a boost?

MR: The first three years of our business were a bit slow, but growth is now definitely picking up. We think this is largely down to RDR. However, we do see growth and interest from both retail and institutional investors.


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