Women In ETFs: Make Education Relevant

November 18, 2014

Women in ETFs spread the word raising matters on education, ETF market growth and the importance of a network.

[This article originally appeared on our sister site, ETF.com.Europe.]

Last Friday the European arm of Women in ETFs hosted its first event and, with over 90 people in attendance (including several men), it made as much impact as the U.S. launch in January. The U.S. event, held at ETF.com’s flagship Inside ETFs conference in Florida, attracted industry veterans such as “the First Lady of ETFs”, Kathleen Moriarty, and Deborah Fuhr, partner and co-founder of consultancy firm ETFGI.

The European event was just as high profile.

Once again, Fuhr sat on the panel to introduce the group where she was joined by the likes of Rachel Lord, head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at BlackRock’s iShares, Isabelle Bourcier, head of business development at ETF provider Ossiam, MSCI’s Deborah Yang and Isabell Moessler, co-head of EMEA sales at ETF Securities.

Others involved in the European arm include Eleanor Hope-Bell, head of SPDR UK at State Street Global Advisors and Monica Gogna, partner at law firm Ropes & Gray.

However, the question remains as to why Women in ETFs was launched and why it is important for the ETF industry. While the European arm is still at development stage, it is – importantly - part of a larger global group.

Hope-Bell believes that the key themes are the same whether you are in Chicago, Boston or the UK. “Even women in Australia are thinking about launching one and even in Asia, where they have similar issues to Europe,” she said.

The mission statement of the group – if you will – is to connect, support, inspire. Its aim is to have a solid foundation in Europe, which motivates and keeps the group together.

An Agnostic Mantra

One of the key factors of the group is that it is provider agnostic. This is a definitive change of heart in the ETF industry, which stalwarts will remember, saw providers aggressively battling for market share a few years ago, causing untold damage to growth in Europe.

The interest here is a collective one, rather than driven by one person.

The aim of the group now is to help drive ETFs forward and have them play a much bigger role in the asset management space. Moessler asserts that there are enough products in Europe for ETFs to move into being one of the mainstream investment solutions for investors.

But how is the group really going to help foster this growth?

Fuhr believes that even small changes that will help. “Agreeing on terminology, helping people understand what smart beta is (saying anything that isn’t market cap isn’t a great definition), raising levels of understanding, talking about issues, debating things in an open and transparent format. We have created a forum/platform for anyone who has any questions about the market.”

Making Education Relevant

Another strong focus for the group is education in the retail space. The group is keen to impress that what needs to change in the retail space is not more education, but making it relevant.

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