Is it a sign that ETFs are slowly entering the mainstream and gaining acceptance as more than just a passing fad? An institution as old and well-known as Northern Trust entering the market could be a sign.
"We know who we are. We knew what we needed to bring to the market, something that was consistent with our notions of asset management overall," says Peter Ewing, the managing director of Northern Trust’s ETF group.
The first batch of funds, the first to track major foreign market indexes, were a year in the making. Ideas were kicked around as the world’s third-largest asset manager of institutional index-based assets felt it needed to seriously consider an ETF product line. In 2007, the management committee gave the go-ahead and they filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC).
"Our opening salvo is traditional," Ewing says. But the provider isn’t averse to more inventive ETFs and strategies. But for now, "We want to stay true to our principles."
Northern Trust’s ETFs, which all have an expense ratio of 0.47%, are:
- NETS S&P/ASX 200 Index Fund (AUS): Represents Australia
- NETS DAX Index Fund (DAX): Tracks Germany’s major exchange
- NETS FTSE 100 Index Fund (LDN): Invests in the largest companies by market cap on the London Stock Exchange
- NETS CAC40 Index Fund (FRC): Represents France
- NETS Hang Seng Index Fund (HKG): Represents Hong Kong
- NETS TOPIX Index Fund (TYI): Represents Japan
At a later date, there will be funds issued that cover Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, South Africa and more.
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.