Brokerage firms don’t get it. Or maybe they do. The popularity of Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) continues to grow and that’s not going to change any time soon. Despite this fact, many brokerage firms have yet to integrate dedicated ETF centers (containing quotes, news, screeners, and educational materials) into their retail brokerage websites according to Corporate Insight.

Of the seventeen firms Corporate Insight follows, only five maintain such centers, an increase of only one since its last report in September 2004.

"While all firms offer a variety of proprietary and non-proprietary ETFs for purchase, the majority does not aggregate information about them and place it in an easy-to-use and find location, leaving it up to the individual investors to fend for themselves. We also found a great disparity in the amount of information available about the non-proprietary ETFs across all of the firms; some had very little information in that regard." said Janet Martin, Senior Analyst, e-Monitor at Corporate Insight.

Could it be that brokerage firms are discouraging investors from selecting a low cost, diversified index based alternative to actively managed mutual funds or separate account management programs that include nice fees for the brokers?

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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.