And The 2016 Awards Winners Are …

March 30, 2017

[Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article noted that "ETFs 2020: Preparing for a New Horizon" by PricewaterhouseCoopers won the Best ETF Research Paper award. The winner was "S&P Index Vs. Active Scorecard (SPIVA)."]

The fourth annual Awards Thursday night in New York City honored products, people and companies that made a difference in the ETF industry in 2016. State Street Global Advisors was the biggest winner.

The more than 30 categories recognize everything from new funds to established products, as well as the issuers, service providers and end users who make the industry go round.

State Street Global Advisor’s Global Head of ETFs Jim Ross took home the Lifetime Achievement Award. After being drafted as an accountant into the group working to bring the SPDR S&P 500 (SPY) into existence, Ross stuck with the ETF space, and now, nearly 25 years later, he heads up the ETF operations at State Street Global Advisors.

“My career route then was public accounting in the asset management business, and probably involving mostly Treasuries,” Ross said. “It shifted when I got involved with SPY and I realized all the potential applications for ETFs. It was definitely more interesting than my day job at the time! I'm not sure that's the best way to make a career choice, but there you have it. It was influential.

What’s ahead for the ETF veteran?

“I just want to continue to see the industry work closely with advisors and investors of all types,” he said. “ETFs are great vehicles for all sorts of financial challenges, and one of the unique things about ETFs is that the client base is broader than any other opportunity set you see in financial products.”

Finalists for the award who were pitted against Ross included the following:

  • Rob Arnott, Research Affiliates
  • Reggie Browne, Cantor Fitzgerald
  • Henry Fernandez, MSCI
  • Gus Sauter, Vanguard (retired)

And one of the funds offered by Ross’ firm was also one of the breakout stars of 2016, sweeping five prizes and racking up more wins than any other fund in the history of the awards.

The SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE) faced off against a formidable set of adversaries for each prize. The fund, which was heavily seeded by California pension fund CalSTRS, is socially responsible in the sense that it seeks to invest in companies that have women in leadership roles, and it ticks the smart-beta box by treating that gender diversity as a factor driving outperformance.

SHE won Best New ETF, Most Innovative ETF, Best New US Equity ETF, Thematic ETF of the Year and the People’s Choice Award.

The five sets of finalists are as follows:


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