ETF Movers & Shakers: Nadig & Balchunas

Two men who changed the face of the ETF datascape.

sumit
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Senior ETF Analyst
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Reviewed by: Sumit Roy
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Edited by: Sumit Roy

[This is part of an 11-part series we will be publishing each weekday until it is complete. The ETF Movers & Shakers feature appears in the March edition of ETF Report.]

Movers and ShakersDave Nadig + Eric Balchunas

Eric Balchunas (l), Dave Nadig (r)

In the U.S., there are now more than 1,800 ETFs spanning multiple asset classes, and every day, more are being added. There are plenty of tools available today to help investors navigate the complex ETF industry, but that wasn’t always the case.

Just a few short years ago, ETF data and analytics were much harder to find as data providers focused on mutual funds and individual stocks.

“When we started going after ETF data for our analytics business, the best you could get was information designed for mutual fund or stock investors,” explained Dave Nadig, director of ETFs for FactSet. “You would end up going to a mutual fund research site to get information on portfolios, and a stock research site to get information on trading, but nobody was treating ETFs as ETFs.

Eric Balchunas, senior ETF analyst and funds product specialist at Bloomberg, agrees: “When I started covering ETFs in 2006, the infrastructure was there ... but we weren’t speaking the ETF language.”

Nadig and Balchunas were instrumental in packaging the raw data that was available and making them useful for ETF investors. Their work is an integral part of the ETF and investing landscape today.

“It was about picking the best raw data points and coming up with derived data,” said Balchunas.

Nadig and Balchunas are both analysts and prolific writers on ETF topics, which gives them a firsthand view on what type of data and analytics may be helpful to ETF investors.

“Some of these tools are so helpful [when I’m] writing research about ETFs, and as such, they’re going to be helpful for clients looking to pick an ETF or do their own research,” said Balchunas.

In addition to the simple search function, which helps investors find the particular ETF they’re looking for based on a number of factors, Balchunas highlights fund flows as a particularly helpful evolution in ETF data.

He also highlights the implied liquidity field, which can be found on the Bloomberg terminal and “essentially tells you how liquid the basket is.”

Meanwhile, FactSet’s Nadig was one of the first to point out tracking difference as a relevant statistic when it comes to ETFs.

“We’ve also focused on things that matter to investors that can sometimes to be hard to measure, such as fund closure risk and the counterparty risk of ETNs,” said Nadig. “We’re really pleased with that work, and think our clients find it useful.”

Sumit Roy is the senior ETF analyst for etf.com, where he has worked for 13 years. He creates a variety of content for the platform, including news articles, analysis pieces, videos and podcasts.

Before joining etf.com, Sumit was the managing editor and commodities analyst for Hard Assets Investor. In those roles, he was responsible for most of the operations of HAI, a website dedicated to education about commodities investing.

Though he still closely follows the commodities beat, Sumit covers a much broader assortment of topics for etf.com, with a particular focus on stock and bond exchange-traded funds.

He is the host of etf.com’s Talk ETFs, a popular video series that features weekly interviews with thought leaders in the ETF industry. Sumit is also co-host of Exchange Traded Fridays, etf.com’s weekly podcast series.

He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he enjoys climbing the city’s steep hills, playing chess and snowboarding in Lake Tahoe.