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Robert Hughes, Managing Director, Index Services at NASDAQ OMX

NASDAQ OMX Global Indexes – Most Innovative Index Provider

“We’re heading into 2014 very excited about the direction of our business and building on the success we had in 2013” states Robert Hughes (pictured), Managing Director, Index Services at NASDAQ OMX.

Today, NASDAQ OMX Global Indexes has more than 150 exchange-traded products linked to its indexes in 16 countries. ETP assets tracking NASDAQ OMX indexes totalled USD92bn at 2013 year-end, an increase of USD37bn over the prior year.
Vanguard and Guggenheim are among the world’s leading ETP issuers that licensed NASDAQ OMX indexes in 2013.
“The partnerships with Vanguard and Guggenheim represent exactly the kind of business that we’re trying to develop. Last year we launched the Vanguard US Dividend Achiever ETF with them in Canada, which has been well received.
“In addition, we established a relationship with Guggenheim Partners to launch their BulletShares series [Guggenheim BulletShares High Yield and Corporate Bond ETFs], they are among the most innovative and fastest growing fixed income products in the ETP world,” comments Hughes.
NASDAQ BulletShares Indexes are target duration indexes, with two distinct series based on the high yield and investment grade corporate bond markets. By focusing on target duration, they provide fixed income benchmarks for bond funds that act like a bond.
Speaking on innovation, Hughes refers to the Guotai ETF as “one of the most exciting product launches we’ve been involved with.” The fund launched 13th May 2013 having taken four years to come to market. The fund gives Chinese investors exposure to the NASDAQ 100 Index. It is the first fund of its kind to be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, trading only in RMB.
“As an index provider you can only do so much. You really need a committed ETF sponsor who understands the value proposition of what it means to get a fund like that to market. Getting this product to market was a tremendous success,” says Hughes, noting that as an index provider, innovation comes in two ways: either through partnering with firms like Guotai, or through index evolution.
“At the start of 2014, for example, we launched the First Trust NASDAQ Rising Dividend Achievers ETF. This is an example of further growth of the Dividend Achievers brand and shows that dividend investing remains an important investment theme.”
The ability to create rules-based, transparent, objective indices is part of NASDAQ OMX’s DNA.
The technology its indexes are built on, coupled with speed, reliability and a committed focus on clients’ needs, are, says Hughes, “key to our business philosophy. These things will allow us to remain competitive going forward.
“It’s an interesting time in the ETP market right now. We are in a good position to innovate and support new ideas being brought to market,” says Hughes.
On winning this year’s award, Hughes comments: “It is great to be recognised by the readers of etfexpress for our steady growth in the index space. We will continue to collaborate with clients and partners as we expand our offerings. Our foothold in equities helps us gain increasingly more traction in fixed income and commodities, and at this stage, even though we are proud to be recognised for the work we have done, we feel like we’re just getting started.” 

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