Index Provider of the Year – 2016
Awarded to the index provider that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through index introductions, research, advisor support and more.
- Indxx: “Easy to work with,” wrote one nominator, “and keen to do innovative strategies.” Indxx is a significant player in the rising thematic ETF market, acting as the “single largest issuer of emerging thematic indexes in 2016.” From millennials to the internet of things, they’ve got you covered.
- Markit iBoxx: "To cater to the rising inflationary environment, Markit launched ‘breakeven inflation’ indices for U.S. and euro inflation markets in February 2016,” one nomination reads. The fixed-income indexing giant is clearly trying to push the envelope in the “rising rate” space, and its new indexes feature a number of clever tweaks, like incorporating rebalancing cost considerations in index construction.
- Morningstar: Morningstar won notice for two major 2016 initiatives. First, its Open Indexes Project, which provides global equity indexes to financial services firms for benchmarking purposes at no cost. Secondly, the Morningstar Sustainability Index Series took a big stab at setting a global standard for environmental, social and governance-based (ESG) investing. The sustainability indexes highlight companies adhering to high ESG standards, while maintaining a similar risk/return profile to that of the overall market.
- MSCI: A giant in the index world, with more than $10 trillion benchmarked against its indexes, MSCI continues to be an innovation leader in the space, pushing forward new initiatives around factors, ESG and other items. The firm won praise for its hard-hitting white papers, interesting research and aggressive innovation.
- Standard & Poor’s: “S&P has really upped its game in 2016,” wrote one nominator. “It launched a new blog, hosted events for advisors around the country, hosted webcasts and was much more visible talking about the market.” Indeed, the firm has been an aggressive innovator in the smart-beta space, helping to lead the factor revolution.
ETF Liquidity Provider of the Year – 2016
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.
- Bloomberg Tradebook: Bloomberg Tradebook is leading the charge vis-a-vis the rise of electronic RFQ quoting for large block trades of ETFs. “The Tradebook ETF-RFQ platform anonymously sources block liquidity from multiple providers. The platform electronically aggregates ETF liquidity with solutions that range from semi-automated solutions, such as the RFQ, to algorithmic solutions to dynamically source the best prices and liquidity,” said one nominator.
- Cantor Fitzgerald: A “top-notch firm,” writes one admirer, when discussing the company, with the ETF-focused business run by industry legend Reggie Browne. Nominations noted that the firm “jumped in as LMM and has been aggressive growing its book” and is willing to provide core education on ETFs to clients.
- Jane Street: Last year’s winner in this category continued to gain fans among nominators. The write-ins noted significant growth in the firm’s institutional book, up 70% year-over-year; a $95 billion/month run-rate in ETF trades; an automated RFQ process; lead market maker activity on 45 new ETFs; significant growth in electronic trading; and aggressive work helping institutional clients convert portfolios of individual bonds into ETFs.
- KCG: As lead market maker in over 500 ETFs, KCG is an industry giant, with more than 22% of total market share in U.S.-listed ETFs. They process +/- 15% of the ADV in ETFs, per one nomination, and work extensively with partners throughout the system to help the ETF industry continue to grow. “With access to industry-leading buy- and sell-side order flow, an execution advisory that can make measurable difference in portfolio performance and much more, KCG is a unique partner for ETF investors and providers alike,” wrote one nominator.
- Susquehanna International Group: Susquehanna won praise for a world-class team covering all aspects of the ETF market, from competitive liquidity to client education, product innovation, LMM activity and ETF research. The firm provided $135 million in new seed capital to ETFs in 2016, serving as LMM on 42 ETFs. The firm received significant plaudits for its increase in research output, including its popular Fixed Income Fridays note.