ETF Industry Founder Exits PowerShares

April 05, 2013

Ben Fulton, managing director of global ETFs at Invesco PowerShares, has decided to step down from his post at the end of April, ending an eight-year tenure—and perhaps an entire phase of early ETF industry development—during which the Wheaton, Ill.-based exchange-traded fund company grew from an upstart into the fourth-biggest ETF issuer in the world.

Fulton’s resignation may mark the end of an era in the ETF industry. As ETFs have grown into a nearly $1.5 trillion industry in the U.S., the original founding senior management of the big four sponsors, including iShares under Barclays Global Advisors and now BlackRock; SPDRs under State Street Global Advisors; Vanguard; and PowerShares have largely changed.

Gone are Lee Kranefuss from iShares; Gus Sauter from Vanguard; Gus Fleites from SSgA; and Bruce Bond and now soon Ben Fulton from PowerShares (Jim Ross, Gary McDonald and others, who have been at SSgA since the beginning of ETFs, are still there). And in are Mark Wiedman at iShares; Tim Buckley at Vanguard; and now Andrew Schlossberg at Invesco PowerShares.

Fulton, 51, stressed in an interview with IndexUniverse that he was keen on stepping down while he still had time to develop the next chapter of his career, and that he chose not to leave his post until he was certain that the company was in an optimal position. He won’t be replaced immediately, but Andrew Schlossberg, head of U.S. retail distribution and global ETFs, will assume Fulton’s duties.

Andrew Schlossberg has co-headed Invesco PowerShares’ management team since Bruce Bond resigned as president and chief executive officer of PowerShares in 2009. “This is my decision,” Fulton said in the interview. “But it’s my natural time,” he added, declining to discuss his next moves.

“It’s an inflection point, and I looked around and said: ‘You know what? We’re firing on all cylinders, we’ve got an incredible leadership team, it’s a great situation, Andrew’s been in the business and understands it. It’s the right time for me. If I really want to do something, I’ve got enough runway to do it. Net-net, I’m hoping it’s framed as a happy story.”

Fulton’s time at PowerShares in the post has been marked by rapid expansion of assets under management, and a growing reputation as a provider of index funds that go slightly off the beaten track and into the realm of “intelligent beta.”


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