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Supporting the surge in interest for ETF options, “lower costs” were cited as the principal advantage of ETFs over mutual funds, according to 75% of the advisors surveyed. Moreover, tax efficiency, trading flexibility and transparency of holdings were among other notable attributes.

“I use ETFs 98 percent of the time in my clients’ portfolio. The biggest benefit is the flexibility of trading. My clients don’t feel like sitting ducks. If the market drops, they don’t want to have to wait until 4 o’clock to sell a mutual fund. ETFs avoid that problem,” Rose Swanger, a CFP with Advise Finance, told CNBC, pointing out that ETFs also can be traded like stocks and offer the ability to use stop loss and limit orders, which mutual funds don’t offer.

Related: Institutional Smart-Beta ETF Adoption is Quickly Rising

Many financial advisors stick to broad index-based ETFs for their core investment positions, along with some smaller or satellite positions in various sector or targeted ETFs to augment their core holdings.

Additionally, while still a nascent segment of the ETF industry, smart beta strategies continue to attract investors. Survey results revealed that only 24% of advisors have used smart beta ETFs with clients in the past 12 months, but that figure is 2% higher year-over-year.

For more information on ETFs, visit our ETF performance reports category.