Although investment returns around the world continue to disappoint, the markets for exchange traded funds (ETFs) and exchange traded products (ETPs) continue to be vibrant, according to a preview of Barclays Global Investors’ ETF and ETP Industry Review report, which is scheduled to be released in the next few weeks.

According to the preview, at the end of this year’s first quarter there were 690 ETFs listed on three exchanges in the U.S. from 18 providers, representing assets of more than $430 billion, and 139 other ETPs from 19 providers with assets of $61.3 billion. Year-to-date, the asset levels of U.S. ETFs have declined by 13.5%, although March saw a rise in assets of almost $28 billion from the end of February. Daily trading volume in the first quarter rose by 10.2% to $84.9 billion.

In the U.S. ETF market, the big three players remain iShares (177 ETFs, $226.7 billion in assets, 52.7% market share), State Street Global Advisors (83 ETFs, $96.2 billion in assets, 22.4% market share), and Vanguard (38 products, $44.2 billion in assets, 10.3% market share).

Although with assets of $430 billion U.S. firms hold the largest share of the $633.5 billion invested, globally the ETF market is quite diverse. According to Barclays, at the end of March “the Global ETF industry had 1,635 ETFs with 2,857 listings…from 87 providers on 43 exchanges.” Globally assets in ETFs fell by 10.9% in the first quarter.

The ETF marketplace also remains fertile ground for new products. According to the Barclays report preview, there have been 66 new ETFs launched so far this year (+2.8%) and there are plans to launch another 729. Domestically, the number of ETFs declined 1.1% in the first quarter as 21 ETFs were delisted and only 15 new ones launched.

Growth of ETPs remains strong with assets levels increasing substantially on a yearly basis. Since 2001 the asset level in the U.S. has grown from $3.8 billion to $61.1 billion and the number of ETPs from 17 to 139. On a global basis, Barclays only tracked ETPs from 2005 on. In that period the number of products rose from 23 to 276 and the asset level from $15.6 billion to $72.5 billion.