Going from strength to strength
An interview with Dr Hartmut Graf, CEO, STOXX – Zurich-headquartered STOXX Limited is Europe's first and largest index specialist. Established in 1998, its first STOXX indices included the EURO STOXX 50 index, since when it has gone from strength to strength, becoming the vanguard for innovative indices across the Eurozone.
In Q4 2009, Deutsche Börse AG and SIX Group AG acquired the 33.33% share of STOXX previously owned by Dow Jones & Company to give them a 50% plus one share holding of the company. STOXX now finally has a chance to fully expand its index range on a global level and across all asset classes. STOXX indices are rules-based and transparent. Their underlying innovation has evolved over the years to keep pace with market evolution.
Presently, STOXX is ranked fourth (in AUM) amongst global index providers in the ETF segment. STOXX ETFs are some of the most popular in Europe, with over 30% of ETF total assets invested in products listed on STOXX indices (EUR65bn as of end-January 2011). As of end-December 2000, three out of six European ETFs were based on STOXX indices; by end-January 2011, that figure had grown to 276 out of approximately 1,085 equity ETFs.
Innovations like the STOXX Optimised Indices have been designed with the investment community in mind. In July 2009, STOXX launched the STOXX Europe 600 Optimised Supersector indices – the first European sector indices that factor an equity's 'ability to borrow' into the index calculation.
With the recent change in ownership, STOXX is ready to expand its offering beyond Europe, as reflected in the decision to add 'Europe' to all of its existing indices to clearly differentiate them for non-European focused indices. Speaking to etfexpress, STOXX CEO Dr Hartmut Graf says the firm is expanding its index range by introducing the STOXX Global Index family, which consists of total market, broad and blue-chip indices for the regions Americas, Europe, Asia, and Pacific, and sub-regions Latin America and BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China), as well as global markets.
Furthermore, all broad regional indices could also be broken down into a comprehensive set of supersector indices that follow the Industry Classification Benchmark (ICB). Blue-chip indices are also available for individual countries. The distinguishing factor of the new global index family is a set of innovative strategy indices, which will be launched for all regional and country blue-chip indices, including risk control indices, and several short and leverage indices.
"Our aspiration is not only to deliver a purely global index family in the standard way, but to extend the offering by a consistent range of strategy indices providing risk-return adjustments," says Graf.
To facilitate these plans, STOXX plans to reinforce sales this year by targeting the US and Asia. "To support our efforts we have significantly increased the local presence of STOXX in these markets," adds Graf.
"Winning this award attests to STOXXís commitment to not only develop innovative index concepts, but also be a market-moving force which brings the whole industry forward by offering progressive, premium index strategies and new themes. We are proud that the industry rewards us for our efforts," says Graf.
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