In another sign of the rise of exchange traded funds, registered investment advisors are increasingly using ETFs in client portfolios.

“RIAs’ use of ETF products rose 27% annually over the past five years, and accounted for $170 billion of the channel’s total assets as of Dec. 31, 2012,” reports Mason Braswell for InvestmentNews, citing according to a new study by Cerulli Associates.

Add to that, nearly half of RIAs are expected to increase their use of ETFs, according to InvestmentNews.

Advisors are not just relying on traditional market cap-weighted ETFs, either.

“Advanced beta strategies are playing a more influential role in some of the world’s largest portfolios. Forty-two percent of investors currently use advanced beta and another 24 percent plan to do so over the next three years,” according to a study by State Street Global Advisors, the second-largest U.S. ETF sponsor. [Smart Beta ETFs Are Booming]