Geographically diverse, knowledgeable and inspirational speakers dominate etfLIVE North America digital summit

etfLIVE North America

The inaugural etfLIVE North America digital summit saw a huge geographical spread across the US, with speakers drawn from Texas, Nebraska, the twin cities, San Francisco, Chicago, Ottawa, the UK and of course New York.

Instant takeaways from the many snap polls and multiple choice questions posed to delegates were that delegates felt that ETFs were now easier for institutions to trade; themes will come to dominate ETF investing and our investor panel felt well provided for in terms of the range of ETFs on offer.

Accessing ETFs, with speakers drawn from event partners NYSE and sponsors Tradeweb, detailed the many routes to trading ETFs available to the institutional audience, and how trading in ETFs continued during the market volatility of early 2020, which also hit at a time when most people were suddenly working from home.

The investor panel, with speakers from Sage Advisory’s Robert Smith, Mary Gronseth from Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota and Rusty Vanneman of Orion Portfolio Solutions, saw the business of investing in ETFs detailed by investors responsible for billions of dollars.

They were happy with the range of ETFs available, but had concerns about too many ill-thought out launches, particularly with the new toy in the toy box, the semi-transparent ETF enabling asset managers to convert existing funds into shielded ETFs.

Our big debate addressed exactly this subject. Entitled ‘This house believes that semi-transparent ETFs will cause the end of mutual funds’, the motion was neatly debated with Terry Norman and Simon Goulet of Blue Tractor pitched against Ed Rosenberg from American Century. A majority, twice the votes, believed that semi-transparent ETFs will see the end of the mutual fund and interesting questions came in from the audience. The best of which posed the question that if ETFs were the existing structure from 1940 and mutual funds were the new arrivals on the scene, would mutual funds take off in the same way that they have?

We also had a small pitch invasion from over the pond, with the Europeans, led by Hector McNeil from HANetf, explaining how easy it can be for US ETF issuers to go overseas, with 100 per cent of that audience saying that they were ready for that expansion.

The regulator panel dissected and commented on the ETF rule, and of course on the introduction of semi and non-transparent ETFs while a US law team commented on those overseas expansion plans.

And we finished with ESG, a subject that is top of the list across all asset management sectors and one that is particularly pertinent in this extraordinary year – we have heard how active a strategy it can be, how important it is to investors and about ESG with added AI.

The event was held in partnership with the New York Stock Exchange, a media partnership with Women in ETFs and sponsored by Tradeweb, Innovator, HANetf, the London Stock Exchange, BNY Mellon and A&L Goodbody.

All of the sessions were filmed and will be available on the ETF Express site shortly. 

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Beverly Chandler
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