New ETF Issuer of the Year – 2016
Awarded to the new ETF issuer that has done the most to improve investor outcomes through product introductions, product performance, fund management, investor support and innovation. Issuer must have launched its first ETF in 2016. ETF.com considers “issuer” to mean the “brand” of the ETF, as classified by FactSet.
- ACSI Funds: ACSI Funds successfully launched a first-of-its-kind ETF in 2016, the American Customer Satisfaction Core Alpha ETF. The fund weights individual companies within each sector of the U.S. large-cap equity market by their American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) scores, the only cross-industry measure of customer satisfaction.
- Aptus: Aptus garnered favor for adding a new ETF to the market—BEMO—that goes all-or-nothing: The fund is either 100% invested in U.S. equities or 100% invested in Treasurys, based on momentum signals. When it’s in equities, it chooses stocks with strong price momentum.
- Nuveen: Nuveen made waves in the ETF market by bringing a number of clever funds to investors, including the AGG-replacing NUAG and the bond-replacing NURE. It’s shaping up to be a serious player.
- OppenheimerFunds: Although it bought RevenueShares in 2015, we’ll count 2016 as the first year OppenheimerFunds was an “issuer,” as it launched its first ETFs that year (ESGL and ESGF). The firm is making waves in the ETF space by aggressively growing its legacy product (revenue-weighted AUM up 100%) while launching into the ESG space.
- REX Shares: “REX,” according to one nominator, “creates innovative alternatives ETFs that help investors navigate turbulent markets.” The firm launched two gold-hedged equity ETFs and two novel VIX ETFs in its first year. It gained particular kudos for managing to package those ETFs inside the 1940 Act, thereby avoiding K-1s.
Index of the Year – 2016
Awarded to the index that has done the most to provide new ways of considering investment strategies, opportunities or ideas, or which has simply delivered for investors in a meaningful way.
- FTSE Emerging Markets All-Cap China-A Inclusion Index: Nominations noted that this index serves as the underlying index for the world’s largest emerging market ETF. It’s also unique and forward-looking, in that it covers all parts of the cap spectrum (as opposed to excluding small-caps, as many EM indexes do) and mainland Chinese A-shares.
- INDXX Millennials Thematic Index: This new index offers broad-based exposure to companies that are aligned with the unique consumption patterns of the massive millennial generation, the largest generation in history and one that will dominate consumer trends for the next 40 years. Several millennial ETFs launched in 2016; this index was one of the broadest-based millennial indexes we saw.
- S&P 500: It’s hard to argue against the S&P 500. No other index is as widely used globally by wealth managers—20% of ETF flows targeted the index in 2016, and it remains the benchmark for the world’s largest ETF. It’s also now the parent index for a plethora of factor ETFs, and is the official circuit-breaker measure for the NYSE.
- SSGA Gender Diversity Index: “State Street Global Advisors’ first foray into self-indexing for SPDR ETFs, the SSGA Gender Diversity Index was created to provide investors with access to U.S. large-cap companies that are leaders in advancing women through gender diversity on their boards of directors and in senior leadership positions,” wrote one nomination. The index—born out of conversations with a large public pension fund—looks at the ratio of female execs and board members within a company in selecting companies.
- STOXX Global ESG Impact Index: With ESG taking center stage with many investors, the new family of STOXX indexes—launched in 2016—are well-positioned. They track companies with the highest sustainability indicators while putting additional emphasis on criteria that lower single-stock volatility. The funds look at a variety of factors aligned with the UN Global Compact.