State Street Global Advisors
on Tuesday held an educational session for advisors, analysts and reporters, christened SPDR University. The day-long event, held at midtown Manhattan's Lighthouse Conference Center, sought to educate attendees on the benefits of ETFs.
The goal of the program can best be summed up by a comment made by Jim Ross
, senior managing director of SSgA during the day's first session. "one you educate the advisor, some brand loyalty develops," he said.
Other members of the day's first panel included Tom Lydon
, president of Global Trends Investments & ETF Trends; David Musto
, associate professor in finance at The Wharton School; and Cliff Weber
, senior vice president of the exchange traded fund marketplace at the American Stock Exchange. The panel was moderated by ETF analyst extraordinaire, Mariana Bush
of Wachovia Securities.
The panel discussed topics ranging from what an ETF is and how it works to the current state of the ETF market. As for that current state, Lydon said the "land grab" phase of the market is ending and now more thought is going into the demand for the products during their creation.
In her opening remarks, Bush also put in her two cents as to the state of the market, saying that the launches of exchange traded products were down nine percent so far this year. She mentioned this was probably a good thing because the market was at a saturation point.
The panel also took a moment to discuss the so-called holy grail of the ETF industry, active ETFs. Weber said that he sees a very bright future for the products once the looming disclosure question is answered. Ross took a different track, saying the current active ETF products in the marketplace do not deliver on the original promise of active ETFs. He added that full transparency is a high barrier to the fund's managers.
Lydon also commented on the current active products out there, saying that all other actively managed products need at least a three-year track record to be considered for investment. Active ETFs do not have that yet, he noted.
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