As we look back on what made headlines in 2014, we couldn’t help but take notice of some of the most prominent movers and shakers in the world of ETFs we’ve had the opportunity to interview this year. These are all people who have impacted investing in their own way.
Here we recap our most widely read one-on-one interviews in 2014, listed below in descending order of popularity with our readers. The list includes a range of people who were shaping passive investing before ETFs ever materialized, as well as people driving the next wave of ETF investing through unprecedented automation.
If you missed these interviews, here’s your chance to catch up on some must-read content.
Wealthfront is a registered investment advisor, but unlike the more traditional types, it’s a fully automated investment service sitting at the center of a nascent—and quickly growing—world of online advisory businesses. The company’s CEO, Adam Nash, tells us that the secret to Wealthfront’s success lies in automation—a trait that baby boomers seem generally uneasy with, but that the newer generations are embracing like never before.
When it comes to investing in equities, it pays to be a value investor, and on a global scale. That’s the message Mebane Faber, Cambria’s chief investment officer, conveys in his latest book, “Global Value: How to Spot Bubbles, Avoid Market Crashes, and Earn Big Returns in the Stock Market.” His new fund, the Cambria Global Value ETF (GVAL), does just that.
John Bogle, Vanguard’s founder, usually counsels investors to keep their focus on the long term, and to try to look past the near-term distractions in markets. Here he tells us that even ardent indexers like himself should always be focused on improving indexes. He does that in the bond market by taking on a bit of extra risk and yields by including corporate debt in his retirement account.
Bill Bernstein, the investor/author and known proponent of passive investing, has climbed his way to the top of online book sales this year with one of his latest efforts, "If You Can" (Free PDF version). It’s a how-to manual he offered online for free that’s aimed at young adults to help them navigate the world of investments. Here he gives us the scoop on his book.
There are a lot of questions about the viability of, and the role that the Winklevoss twins’ Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust ETF (COIN) would play in a portfolio. But to David LaValle, vice president of transaction services for Nasdaq OMX and head of ETF business, the first-of-a-kind ETF is nothing short of yet another major innovation in the quickly growing ETF market. LaValle tells us that the bitcoin ETF—which will be listed on the Nasdaq—is a win-win for investors, traders, the issuer and the exchange itself.
Given the increased popularity of factor-based investing these days, one wonders that if everyone is chasing a value premium or small-cap premium, won’t the trade just stop working? That may be theoretically true, but investor mistakes assure that factor-focused investing will always work, Bill Bernstein tells us.
This is the first in a series of interviews with some of the most influential people in the field of indexing and index-based investment. The launch of the Vanguard 500 Index Fund nearly 40 years ago spawned a revolution in the investing world, and Bogle has been beatified by his most devoted followers as "Saint Jack." But "complacent" was never a word used to describe him—he still thinks there's a lot investors need to watch out for.
“Structure Matters,” by Dan Weiskopf, portfolio manager of Access ETF Solutions, examines issues about ETF structures in a series of interviews with ETF portfolio managers, index developers and other people who affect the structure of ETFs. Here he looks at leveraged and inverse ETFs in an interview with Daniel O’Neill, chief executive officer of Direxion Shares.