When it comes to index-tracking exchange-traded funds, the fund itself seems like the sexy part and the index the unsung workhorse. But according to a recent survey, many financial advisors and other investors put a lot of importance on the index brand when they choose an ETF.
Two surveys covering more than 1,000 readers of IndexUniverse’s ETF Report found that 50 percent of respondents said the index brand is of equal or greater importance to the ETF brand itself. The results of the surveys, which was conducted by IndexUniverse and Brown Brothers Harriman, will appear as the first annual advisor survey in this month’s issue of ETF Report. Shawn McNinch, BBH’s senior vice president and global head of ETF services, said the majority of survey respondents were advisors.
Among the other findings, readers said the asset class where indexes matter most was equities (50.3 percent), followed by fixed income (19.3 percent) and alternative assets (14.8 percent).
There are a lot of well-known––and not so well-known––index providers, but McNinch says the survey didn’t ask which specific index providers scored highest in brand recognition.
Elsewhere in the survey, advisors said the most important factor that goes into choosing an ETF is the fund’s strategy/exposure (58.5 percent), followed by its brand (13.3 percent) and expense ratio (12.5 percent). Tracking difference, historical performance and trading spreads were way down on the list.
As for the percentage of a client’s equity allocation placed in ETFs, 24.3 percent of respondents said zero to 10 percent. Another 17.8 percent put that allocation at 11 percent to 20 percent, while 16.1 percent chose 21 percent to 30 percent. More than 17 percent of respondents had an ETF allocation of more than 75 percent.