September 17, 2010

ETFs to Hit 15% Share of Fund Assets in 2014, FRC Says

ETFs should continue to pick up assets at the expense of mutual funds, with a nearly 15% year-over-year growth in 2010, according to the Financial Research Corporation.

Assets in Exchange-Traded Funds (or ETFs) should expand from about 12% of mutual-fund assets today to 14% of these assets in 2014, Financial Research Corporation said Thursday.

ETFs' annual growth rate in 2010 and through 2014 should be nearly 19% vs. the 23% annual growth rate of the last five years, FRC reported in its Mid-Year 2010 ETF Review.

Driving are the product's trading influence of ETFs, lower fees and tax efficiency relative to mutual funds, according to FRC, as well as expected wider adoption by institutional and

"ETFs won't just grow in terms of net flows but will take some mutual-fund market share, as they are a better vehicle for certain types of investments," said Larry Petrone, a contributor to the recent study, in a phone interview.

Assets in ETFs - excluding money-market funds and fund of funds - are expected to grow from $302 billion in 2005 to $900 billion by the end of 2010, Petrone says.

"ETFs will continue to pick up assets at the expense of mutual funds, and we expect nearly 15% year-over-year growth in 2010," noted Lynette DeWitt, the study's author, also in a phone interview.

As the base level of ETF assets grows, the compound annual growth rate figure does shrink somewhat, they note.

"ETFs are more tax efficient, and for some investments, this makes them a better vehicle. And for those who want a more trading-friendly vehicle, like an immediate investment in the S&P 500, ETFs also have less expense than mutual funds," Petrone shared.

"This is why we think ETFs will take some flows from mutual funds, which are still good vehicles for actively managed investments," he added. "With commodities, however, ETFs make better sense, especially if the ETF trades on the underlying commodity as opposed to futures."

Still, the FRC study finds, ETF growth will face challenges related to their intra-day- trading feature and structural diversity.

Other drivers and challenges to ETF growth include product cannibalization, product diversity, impact of the Internet and trade media, and tracking error; product management style and industry analytic tools; and the future market direction of ETFs -- namely, distribution opportunities.

Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission approved new rules submitted by the national securities exchanges and FINRA that to include all stocks in the Russell 1000 Index and a large number of certain exchange-traded funds.

Also in early September, Cogent Research found that Vanguard is now .

The study found that Vanguard ETFs currently capture about $5.5 million in assets per advisor vs. $2.3 million last year.

The AUM-per-FA figure for iShares is now $5.7 million.

The top attributes advisors cite when describing ETF-provider loyalty include consistency of performance (including the tracking of errors), transparency and the demonstration of integrity and honesty, and the projection of a bold investment philosophy.

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