Industry Leaders Address Credit Crisis

Some of the biggest names in the ETF industry came together this week to discuss how the current credit crisis and stock market crash has affected the exchange-traded fund industry for better or worse. All these industry leaders sit on the editorial board of the Journal of Indexes, which held its first public meeting Tuesday at the Nasdaq Stock Market in front of a group of financial journalists.

Because most of the major trends in the indexing industry are directly related to ETFs, the Journal offers in depth coverage of the ETF industy. With ETFs now comprising between 35% and 40% of all the daily trading volume on the equity markets, the major conclusions of the meeting were that the ETFs are tackling a lot of these issues affecting funds because they are so transparent. But soon, investors will be asking the managers of their active funds, what exactly they’re doing to earn the high fees they’re charging.

The other main conclusion came from Lee Kranefuss, the head of Barclays Global Investors, which produces the iShares ETFs. He said that every time there was a problem in the markets, it tended to help ETFs. The technology bubble, the mutual fund timing scandal, the accounting scandal, have all inadvertantly extolled the virtues of the transparency of ETFs.

A big way the credit crisis has affect the indexing and ETF industries is by reducing the seed capital to start new ETFs, said Steven Schoenfeld, the head of Northern Trust, with produces the NETS family of ETFs. He added it’s also reduced the ability to facilitate large trades.

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