Finalists Announced For 2016 Awards

January 17, 2017

ETF Issuer of the Year – 2016

Awarded to the ETF issuer that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through product introductions, product performance, fund management, asset gathering, investor support and innovation in 2016.

  • Charles Schwab: The nominations for Schwab noted that its assets grew by 50% in 2016, hitting $59 billion, while the company continued to offer the lowest-cost ETFs in the business. Combined with its efforts on robo-advising and Schwab’s OneSource platform, Charles Schwab has become a giant in the ETF industry.
  • Goldman Sachs: Goldman Sachs pulled in $1.6 billion in net inflows for the year, more than doubling its AUM. It also brought innovative new product to the market, including a clever, low-cost, short-term fixed-income ETF, even as it continued to lead the low-cost smart-beta movement.
  • iShares by BlackRock: iShares led all ETF issuers for net inflows in 2016, pulling in a stunning $105 billion. At the same time, nominators highlighted its role at the forefront of factor ETFs, fixed-income ETFs, and increasing institutional ETF use. By any measure, it was a good year for BlackRock.
  • State Street Global Advisors: SSgA finished the year with a strong $50+ billion in net flows, and continued to bring innovative product to market, including the oft-nominated SHE and the suite of active bond ETFs with DoubleLine.
  • Vanguard: Vanguard pulled in $95 billion in net inflows while persistently lowering fees and bringing out new low-cost product in much-needed areas (think international dividends). Not bad!
  • VanEck: VanEck had a truly impressive year, pulling in almost $8 billion. While a lot of that was in its bread-and-butter gold miner ETFs, a big chunk was in fixed income, including $1.2 billion into its emerging market debt fund. VanEck has branched out of its historical niche, and is now a serious contender in multiple asset classes.

Most Innovative ETF Issuer of the Year – 2016

Awarded to the ETF provider that has launched the most innovative and groundbreaking group of ETFs in 2016.

  • Elkhorn Investments: The little innovation-engine-that-could launched two smart-beta commodity ETFs that skip the K-1, the first high-quality preferred ETF, and the first-ever factor rotation ETF in 2016.
  • Global X: The New York-based firm won recognition for bringing funds like KRMA to market in 2016, pushing the boundaries of what ESG investing can be. But KRMA wasn’t an isolated launch: The firm launched a total of eight thematic ETFs in 2016, including the first millennials-focused ETF and a new Catholic values fund. 
  • iShares by BlackRock: iShares won innovation plaudits for launching 23 new funds during the year, including novel ESG products like MPCT, ESGU and others, smart-beta fixed-income ETFs like FALN and HYXE, and an array of multifactor solutions.
  •  J.P. Morgan: J.P. Morgan justly received praise for the oft-nominated novel alternatives ETF, JPHF. It also gained notice for launching a series of smart-beta ETFs that use risk-weighting. “It’s always refreshing to see a focus on risk and not just returns,” noted one nomination.
  • PureFunds: It’s hard to argue with PureFunds as an innovator; the company is regularly bringing new thematic ETFs to market. New themes for 2016 included drones, fintech and video games.
  • SSGA: The nominations for SSGA noticed that, while it launched just 4% of the new ETFs brought to market in 2016, it gathered 9% of all new-fund assets. Highlights includes innovations in ESG and active/tactical fixed income, including the oft-nominated SHE, the DoubleLine expansions (STOT and EMTL), Dorsey Wright collaborations (DWFI) and more.


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