Global X Exits, Closures Raise Questions Over Future

The once popular ETF issuer is losing executives and trimming its lineup.

Jeff_Benjamin
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Wealth Management Editor
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Reviewed by: etf.com Staff
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Edited by: etf.com Staff

Questions are mounting about the future of Global X ETFs, after the $47 billion ETF issuer lost a handful of senior executives in recent months while cutting its fund lineup.

Chief investment officer Jon Maier and head of finance Ronnie Riven are both stepping down, The Wall Street Journal recently reported. Since November, the New York-based company lost chief executive Luis Berruga, chief operating officer John Belanger, head of human resources Crystal Christy and Bruno Stein, who led operations in Brazil, The Journal said.

Bloomberg Intelligence ETF analyst Eric Balchunas questioned whether executives are being forced out or leaving on their own.

“They’re losing all of their ETF people,” Balchunas said in an interview. “I don’t know anyone there anymore, and that’s bad because I get around. They don’t pitch stories or even send out press releases anymore.”

Global X, which brought on Ryan O'Connor as its new CEO on April 8, emailed a statement in response to a request for comment that reads in part, “Recent statements made about Global X are baseless and without merit. When we parted ways with the former CEO, we knew there would be additional changes and we expect more to come as we position ourselves for the future.”

“Ryan’s nearly two decades of industry experience and direct role in innovative product development weighed heavily in our decision to appoint him as CEO,” the statement continued.

In January, Global X closed 19 ETFs, cutting its total lineup to 90. The closed funds were small and included a mixture of strategies focused on China, Pakistan, healthcare, real estate and cannabis.

Trimming unprofitable ETFs from a lineup is common across the industry. Still, at the end of January Global X withdrew its application with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a spot bitcoin ETF, just weeks after 11 such funds had been approved and went on to pull in billions in inflows.

A company spokesperson emailed at the time that a spot bitcoin ETF “is not a current priority for the business.”

A leader in organic growth just three years ago when thematic strategies were riding high, Global X’s inflows over the past 12 months were $4.2 billion, “which is pretty weak for them,” Balchunas said.

Global X was acquired by Korean asset management conglomerate Mirae Asset Global Investments in 2018, when Global X had $10.2 billion under management. Its largest fund is the $8.2 billion Global X NASDAQ 100 Covered Call ETF (QYLD), which launched in 2013.

Mirae did not respond to a request for comment for this story, but on its website it claims more than 500 ETF products that combine for more than $80 billion globally.

Six years after the sale to Mirae, Balchunas wonders whether Global X is fading into the larger organization.

“A lot of times when the people who are entrepreneurial cash out and leave the company is just not the same,” he said. “They were one of the largest percentage growers just a few years ago and they were one of the most innovative issuers.”

Jeff Benjamin is the wealth management editor at etf.com, responsible for coverage related to the financial planning industry. This includes writing, hosting podcasts, webinars, video interviews and presenting at in-person events.


Jeff is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years’ experience covering the financial markets. He has won more than two dozen national and regional awards for his reporting. He most recently worked as a senior columnist at InvestmentNews where he wrote about investment products and strategies, as well as the broader financial planning industry. Prior to that, Jeff worked as an analyst at Cerulli Associates where he researched and wrote reports on the alternative investments industry. Jeff also worked as a money management reporter at Dow Jones Newswires, where he covered the mutual fund industry.


Based in North Carolina, Jeff is a former Marine and has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Central Michigan University.