Exchange: An ETF Experience, a large-scale investment industry conference focused on ETFs, took place in Miami Beach, FL, April 11-14, 2022. This new experience, set to be an annual event, attracted over 2,0001 attendees including financial advisers, product sponsors, service providers, and thought leaders in the ETF space. It was an incredible experience to reconnect in person with industry partners after two years of conferences being on hold or held virtually due to the pandemic.
ETF Bootcamp Sessions
Exchange kicked off with ETF Boot Camp sessions focused on the outlook for the industry, SEC expectations, launching products, and growing assets. As the Senior ETF Product Specialist at Ultimus, I had the opportunity to participate in a professional discussion titled From Concept to Launch: ETF Fast Tracking. This discussion covered the process and options for sponsors to bring new ETF products to market, new product trends, and costs associated with launching new products, as well as Mutual Fund to ETF conversions. In addition, we discussed the pros and cons of launching products within a series trust versus a standalone structure. Other Boot Camp sessions included Bringing Active Strategies Into the Semi-Transparent ETF Wrapper and The Hunt: Where is the Next Trillion Dollars?
A Women’s Leadership Workshop at Exchange
The Women in ETFs Breakfast Workshop – Leadership Perspectives was at capacity and featured a panel of industry leaders discussing career navigation, the value of mentorship as well as the impact of the post-COVID work environment on professional growth. Panelists included Cloe Chang, Senior Vice President & Head of Investment Solutions from American Century; Emily Meyer, VP National Accounts and Strategic Partnerships from Northern Trust Asset Management; Anna Paglia, Managing Director, Global Head of ETFs & Index Strategies from Invesco; Kara Pagliuca, VP Senior National Accounts Manager from State Street Global Advisors; Shanna Weber, Managing Director of Corporate Strategy from Charles Schwab; and Louise Slinger, Managing Director, Head of Global Marketing at S&P Dow Jones Indices.
Building Enhanced Portfolios
Another main focus of the conference was helping advisers build dynamic portfolios. The conference organizers brought industry leaders together, covering various asset classes, to explain current market conditions and opportunities in a rapidly changing market. Sessions focused on views of the world economy, the evolution of crypto investors and their potential impact on ETFs, active ETFs vs passive, and ESG. Jeffrey Gundlach, CEO and CIO of DoubleLine, discussed his macro-economic views and outlook for the market as it faces today’s global challenges. The Lunch and Learn Roundtable discussions featured rapid fire conversations in which each table host had five minutes to share a theory or idea before kicking off a table discussion. The topics ranged from How to Hedge Inflation to Beware of Bad Benchmarks.
Exchange Marketplace Environment
The Exchange Marketplace strived to be a more immersive experience than traditional conference exhibit halls with the layout, seating areas and activities to encourage conversation and connections. While there were more interactive opportunities to engage, the feel was similar to other exhibit areas with partners set up in their respective booths interacting with attendees.
Key Takeaways from Exchange: An ETF Experience
Highlights from this year’s conference include:
- Actively managed ETFs are here to stay – About 60% of new ETF fund launches in 2021 were actively managed2 and that momentum continues in 2022.
- Digital Assets – Exposure to the Crypto ecosystem and digital currencies in an ETF wrapper continues to be a hot topic within the industry. Currently the SEC has not approved any ETFs that invest directly in any crypto currency such as Bitcoin. It is difficult to predict if the SEC will approve a crypto ETF without additional market regulations or controls, but this promises to be an active topic with many ETF sponsors. So, stayed tuned!
- Impact of Market Conditions – There was interesting dialogue regarding the 60/40 split in a market where both equity and fixed income assets are in a down market and how to best generate income for investors without eroding capital.
Overall, this was a high energy conference where investment advisers, fund sponsors and service providers were excited about the future growth prospects of the ETF industry. For ETFs, particularly active strategies, 2022 will likely prove to be another banner year for growth in asset flows, even in a down market. At Ultimus, we continue to see strong demand and growth from existing ETF clients looking to expand product offerings, established mutual sponsors entering the ETF space for the first time, and new investment advisers looking to enter the registered fund market with an ETF wrapper.
As named Administrator to numerous ETF clients, Ultimus is a proven industry leader providing turnkey administration solutions for entry to the ETF marketplace while making valuable introductions to various partners within the ETF ecosystem.
Ultimus partners with investment managers to provide customized services throughout the entire life cycle of a variety of registered funds, including ETFs. Click here to learn more about all aspects of launching and operating ETFs. Or fill out the Contact Us form at www.UltimusFundSolutions to speak to an Ultimus professional.
ETFs are subject to market risk, including loss of principal.