ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The indexing and exchange traded fund (ETF) industry recently was privy to the observations of an outside observer.

Adam Sussman, a senior analyst for the TABB Group, wrote an exhaustive report titled "Performance Anxiety: A Buy-Side Study on Benchmarks and the Investment Process." You can buy it for $8,000 – or just read summary here for the bargain price of free.

Heather Bell for Index Universe sorted out the report’s 38 pages so you don’t have to and highlighted some of its most illuminating findings:

  • Index providers could gain more market share by differentiating their indexes with better services and more information.
  • Index subscribers want more data accuracy, and they want information on things like dividends, mergers and acquisitions and stock buybacks.
  • Index providers can compete in the area of analytics. Sussman cites MSCI’s acquisition of Barra, along with S&P’s acquisition of CariFI. Having the analytics in-house could be a big selling point for a provider.
  • By 2009, nearly 70% of all pension plans will use customized benchmarks.
  • Customized benchmarks also will be driven by socially responsible investing, since more restrictions are being placed on pension funds in regard to where they can invest.

The overall conclusion of the report? Benchmarks once were an afterthought, and now they are front and center. Indexing has opened, and will continue to open, new doors.

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.