ETF.com Awards: Live Blog

March 28, 2019

9:12 PM: Aaaand that's a wrap for the 6th annual ETF.com Awards Ceremony! Thanks for reading, and you can catch up on all the action you missed at our full, in-depth round-up: https://www.etf.com/sections/features-and-news/and-2018-etfcom-awards-winners-are

See you next year!

9:10 PM: "The way I approach things is, I don't know what I don't know. That's why it's so important to go around the world and talk to people, so I can learn what's happening," says Fuhr.

She recounts her early days at Morgan Stanley, where she helped usher in the OPALS products (a contemporary of the first ETFs), as well as her days at BGI, a job that she started the day that Lehman went bankrupt. She left in 2011 to found ETFGI; she wrote the business plan in a Starbucks.

She also speaks of her work with Women in ETFs, which now boasts 5,000 members. On International Womens' Day this year, the organization rang the bell in a whopping 85 countries. "[The ETF industry] is one of the friendliest industries," she says. "I've been honored to be part of it, and I hope that my greatest achievements are in my future, not in my past."

9:03 PM: Matt Hougan takes the stage to announce the winner of the 6th annual Lifetime Achievement Award, which is … Deborah Fuhr of ETFGI! Not only is she one of the world's foremost experts on ETFs, but Fuhr helped build the data backbone of the ETF industry. She also helped co-found Women In ETFs, a mentorship and networking organization dedicated to improving gender diversity in the industry. She has spoken about ETFs in 62 countries, and this year alone, she's spent more than 250 days on the road. Whew!

A standing ovation for Fuhr, who takes the stage to give some remarks now.

9 PM: In the home stretch now. Next, one of our favorite awards of the night: ETF Ticker of the Year. This year's winner is the ProShares Pet Care ETF (PAWZ), a fund focused on companies related to pet ownership.

BBJP takes home another award for Best New ETF of 2018. It's well-deserved: In the span of a month, BBJP had accumulated more than $1 billion in assets under management, making it the second-fastest U.S. ETF ever to hit the billion-dollar club.

Wow! The award for ETF of the Year also goes to BBJP! It's been a really good night for this $3.3 billion ETF. It's even getting wolf whistles from the crowd!

8:55 PM: The winner of the next award, the People's Choice Award, was selected at the 2019 Inside ETFs conference in Hollywood, Florida. And the award goes to… ESPO! An ETF devoted to playing video games? Sign us up.

Meanwhile, the winner of the 2018 ETF Investor of the Year is Newfound Research. Newfound took home this same award in 2016, as well.

The ETF Law Firm of the Year award goes to Stradley Ronon, whose work spans a number of major issues in the ETF market today, from active managers entering the space to proposals for nontransparent active ETF models.

8:50 PM: iShares scores another win with the award for the Best ETF Issuer Website—no surprise here either, as iShares has won this award every year since the ETF.com Awards began. MSCI, meanwhile, takes home the award for Best Index Provider Website.

iShares also picks up a nod for Best ETF Issuer Capital Markets Desk—again, the same award it won last year.

8:45 PM: We turn now to the indexing-specific awards. The Index Provider of the Year is MSCI, an industry stalwart that's been in the indexing biz for over 40 years.

Meanwhile, the award for Index of the Year goes to the WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Index, which underpins the $101 million WisdomTree U.S. Multifactor Fund (USMF).

8:43 PM: Meanwhile, Most Innovative ETF Issuer of the Year goes to Impact Shares, the industry's first nonprofit ETF issuer. Impact Shares donates 100% of its advisory fee back to the charities and nonprofit organizations it works with, giving investors two ways to support the causes they believe in.

Defiance ETFs wins New ETF Issuer of the Year, with tech funds that poke at cutting-edge themes like quantum computing, virtual reality and 5G technology.

8:40 PM: The award for ETF Issuer of the Year goes to J.P. Morgan Asset Management, whose BetaBuilders ETFs stole the show last summer. In less than a year, the total suite of plain-vanilla, low-cost ETFs has brought in a whopping $10+ billion in new net assets.

8:37 PM: OK, sorry for the hiccup, folks. Picking up from where we left off! We have a pair of thematic awards now. First up, Best New ESG ETF, which goes to the Goldman Sachs JUST U.S. Large Cap Equity ETF (JUST).

For Thematic ETF of the Year, there's another tie! It's the VanEck Vectors Video Gaming and eSports ETF (ESPO) and the EventShares U.S. Policy Alpha ETF (PLCY). These two funds couldn't be more different. ESPO, which tracks global video gaming companies, is the first ETF to cover esports (gaming tournaments streamed online). PLCY, meanwhile, tracks companies impacted by U.S. government regulations, trade policies and fiscal spending.

8:35 PM: A number of winners have been announced thus far, including:

  • Best New Smart Beta/Factor ETF of 2018: $IECS!
  • The Best New Asset Allocation ETF of 2018: $NTSX!
  • Best New Alternatives ETF: $RAAX!
  • Best New Commodity ETF: $CMDY!
  • Best New International/Global Fixed Income ETF: $BNDW!
  • 2018's Best New U.S. Fixed Income ETF: $EAGG!
  • 2018's Best New International/Global Equity ETF: $BBJP!
  • Best New U.S. Equity ETF of 2018: $ESGV!
  • Most Innovative New ETF of 2018. A tie! The two winners are $BDRY and $BJUL!

8:30 PM: Sorry, technical issues! Are we good to go? Good.

8 PM: OK, OK, maaaaybe I misjudged the timing a bit. But while we're waiting, how about we look at this year's nominees for Lifetime Achievement Award? It's a diverse list, featuring three women (and two founders of Women In ETFs!). This year's finalists are:

  • Debbie Fuhr, Managing Partner and Founder, ETFGI
  • JoAnne Hill, Chief Advisor for Research and Strategy, Cboe Vest
  • Marie Chandoha, CEO, Charles Schwab Investment Management           
  • Reggie Browne, Senior Managing Director ETF Group, Cantor Fitzgerald                
  • Blake Grossman, Managing Member, ThirdStream Partners 

7:30 PM: There's about 15 minutes until the ceremony begins. The dining room is packed. There's 100+ attendees in The Lighthouse tonight, with guests from all corners of the ETF industry: issuers, asset managers, analysts, strategists, lawyers, press and more.

Good luck to all the nominees tonight! You can catch up on the finalists for each category here: https://www.etf.com/sections/features-and-news/finalists-annual-etfcom-awards?nopaging=1

7:15 PM: Dinner has begun! You know, while we're all sitting here eating, let's talk about process. Every year, we get questions as to how the award winners were decided. Our methodology breaks down into three parts:

  • First, there's a month-long open nomination window, where ETFs and service providers can be nominated for one of many awards.
  • After open nominations close, our ETF.com Awards Nominating committee winnows the list of potential candidates to five for each category. On this year's committee were Matt Hougan, chairman of Inside ETFs; Paul Britt, senior analyst at FactSet; Elisabeth Kashner, director of ETF research at FactSet; our very own Managing Director, Dave Nadig; and our Editor-in-Chief, Drew Voros.
  • The list of nominations then heads to an independent Awards Selection committee, who then votes for their winners. The Awards Selection committee consists of a group of experts from around the ETF industry, including: Kim Arthur from Main Management; Eric Balchunas of Bloomberg Intelligence; Ben Blaisdell from US Trust; Rob Glownia from RiverFront; Tom Lydon of ETFtrends.com; Phil Mackintosh, from Nasdaq; Tyler Mordy of Forstrong Global Asset Management; Todd Rosenbluth from CFRA; and Jim Wiandt, industry expert (and ETF.com alum!).

6:45 PM: Last year, there were a few standouts among the winners. ARK picked up two awards: Most Innovative ETF Issuer of the Year, and ETF of the Year for the ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK), now at $1.6 billion in assets under management. Meanwhile, the Van Eck Green Bond ETF (GRNB) also won big, scoring nods for the Best New ESG ETF and Best New ETF. GRNB now has $26 million in assets.

Notably, the USCF SummerHaven SHPEI Index Fund (BUY)/USCF SummerHaven SHPEN Index Fund (BUYN) cleaned up as well, winning Best New U.S. Equity ETF, Most Innovative New ETF and, in the case of BUY, the 2017 People's Choice Award. However, investors haven't been as taken with the funds as our judges were; each fund currently has less than $1 million in assets under management.

You can read the full list of last year's winners here: https://www.etf.com/sections/features-and-news/and-2017-etfcom-awards-winners-are

6 PM: Welcome to our liveblog of the sixth annual ETF.com Awards Ceremony! This annual event honors the products, people and companies that have made a difference in the ETF industry over the past year. And for the first time ever, we'll be reporting live, right from Pier 61 on Chelsea Piers.

At this year's ceremony, we'll be presenting 30 categories of awards, recognizing new funds and established products, as well as the issuers, service providers and end-users who make the ETF industry go round.

The ceremony starts around 7:45 PM Eastern. So be sure to keep checking back here for updates about the winners as they're announced!

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