Ben Fulton of PowerShares was also in attendance and pointed out the innovation that has come about from index creation, which has allowed more fundamentally driven benchmarks come to market. For instance, PowerShares launched the PowerShares S&P 500 High Dividend Portfolio (NYSEArca: SPHD), which holds 50 stocks with the highest dividend yields in the broader S&P index that have incurred the lowest volatility. [High Dividends and Low Volatility: Can it Work in An ETF?]

“Today, a slew of ETFs are used by individuals, advisors, and institutions for purposes as varied as long-term, buy-and-hold investing to very short-term speculation in exotic asset classes. There are now over 1,440 U.S. ETFs, and their assets account for about 13% of mutual fund and ETF assets,” Michael Rawson wrote for Morningstar. [Three Misconceptions About ETFs]

Most industry analysts expect ETF asset flows to continue the upward momentum in 2013, as well as an increase in the number of ETFs that are coming to market.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.