And The 2018 Awards Winners Are …

March 28, 2019

Index of the Year: WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Index

Awarded to the index that has done the most to provide new ways of considering investment strategies, opportunities or ideas in 2018.

The WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Index offers a unique take on the growing field of multifactor benchmarks. This index scores the 800 largest U.S.-listed stocks based on a composite of two fundamental factors (value and quality) and two technical factors (momentum and correlation to the broader market), making it one of the only smart-beta ETFs to incorporate correlations into its selection process. The top 25% are then included in the benchmark, and weighted by overall factor score and the inverse of their 12-month volatility.

The result is a benchmark that goes beyond the same old securities and sectors; instead, the WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Index is heavy in software (14%), insurance (13%) and health equipment (10%). This index also underpins the $101 million WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Fund (USMF).

Finalists included:

  • Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate + China
  • Cboe S&P 500 Buffer Protect Index Series
  • JUST U.S. Large Cap Diversified Index
  • Solactive Sharing Economy Index


ETF Liquidity Provider of the Year: Jane Street

Awarded to the ETF liquidity provider (including market maker, authorized participant, agency broker, etc.) that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through education, support, services, innovation and outreach.

Liquidity providers play a vital role in the ETF ecosystem, enabling buyers and sellers find each other in the most efficient way possible. This year’s winner, Jane Street, has grown rapidly in the past few years, and now boasts more than 90 dedicated ETF traders, doing over $6.5 billion in business a day. Commenters noted Jane Street’s commitment to helping not just the giant ETF issuers, but new entrants with small funds, where liquidity can mean the difference between growth or closure.

Finalists included:

  • Cantor Fitzgerald
  • Citadel Securities
  • Flow Traders
  • Virtu Trading


ETF Custodian of the Year: Brown Brothers Harriman

Awarded to the ETF custodial firm offering the best and most innovative service to clients.

With more than $52 billion in ETF assets under custody, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) has proven itself a capable one-stop shop for the ETF industry. Over the past 15 years, the firm has partnered with 39 asset managers and ETF sponsors around the globe, working with large, established players and small, innovative newcomers alike. Known for rolling up its sleeves, BBH’s experts partner with prospective issuers throughout the life cycle of a fund, guiding ETFs from concept to launch and beyond.

Finalists included:

  • BNY Mellon
  • JPMorgan Chase Bank
  • State Street
  • U.S. Bank


Best Online Broker for ETF-Focused Investors: Charles Schwab

Awarded to the online brokerage offering the best package for ETF-focused investors. This award considers commission-free trading options, education materials, supporting services and other factors.

Four-time winner Charles Schwab offers something for every kind of investor. Its commission-free ETF pool now tops 500 products (22 of which are Schwab’s proprietary offerings), while its automated investment platform now includes free offerings for clients of any size. It also offers a 0.28% robo-advisor model for larger clients that brings a certified financial planner into the mix. For more DIY types, Schwab offers everything from model portfolios to comprehensive fund-by-fund research. Whatever comes next for ETF investors, Charles Schwab is sure to be in the middle of it.

Finalists included:

  • Fidelity
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Robinhood
  • Vanguard 


Best ETF Issuer Website: iShares by BlackRock

Awarded to the most informative and user-friendly website of an ETF issuer.

BlackRock’s iShares unit once again wins Best ETF Issuer Website, as it has every year since the Awards began. The site has recently undergone a bit of a facelift, and while it’s well-designed and easy to understand, the sheer volume of choices and information on the main page are even vaster than before. Visitors can search for individual funds, research, investment ideas, educational papers, thought leadership and much, much more. Highlights of the website include a fund screener tool that allows you to compare up to four iShares ETFs and an excellent daily blog written by the company's ETF thought leaders.

Finalists included:

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