Inside ETFs Conference: Look Out, Mutual Funds

February 12th at 2:30pm by Tom Lydon

Hearing from other advisors and money managers here at the IndexUniverse Inside ETFs conference in Hollywood, Florida, I get the sense that more and more people are beginning to adopt the exchange traded fund investment vehicle and that ETFs will rival the mutual fund industry.

Kudos to IndexUniverse for putting on a great show as the three-day confab wraps up today.

“Anybody who’s not on the ETF route, anybody who’s still stuck in mutual funds, anybody who’s not attending a conference like this better watch out because this is a powerful combination,” Matt Hougan, global head of editorial and president of ETF analytics at IndexUniverse, said at the conference.

The U.S.-listed ETF universe has gathered over $1.4 trillion in assets under management, but it is quickly gaining on the $9.4 trillion mutual fund industry.

“Overall we are definitely moving in the right direction and it’s translating into amazing value for investors,” said Martha King, managing director and head of U.S. financial intermediaries at the Vanguard Group, said, reports Jeff Cox for CNBC. “Today more people are indexing than ever before. They are getting wide exposure to the stock and bond markets and they are paying less to do it.”

ETFs are a lot like mutual funds in that they both hold a basket of securities. However, ETFs can be traded on open exchange during normal trading hours, offer greater transparency into component holdings and come with lower fees.

Conferences like the Inside ETFs gathering are an opportunity to educate more people with the ETF investment product. It isn’t enough that the ETF investment vehicle is an easy tool to use; advisors and investors also need to be smart about the way they handle it. [Vanguard’s Brennan Says ETFs Empowering Financial Advisors]

“You’re sitting on a pair of aces,” Hougan said. “Compared to your competitors, compared to people who aren’t in the ETF world, you have this enormous set of advantages, and that’s an awesome place to be.”

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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