Even many investors in foreign developed markets would rather buy their exchange-traded funds in U.S. markets.
That’s what a Credit Suisse official said on Friday, noting that, despite having fewer listings than in Europe, the U.S. continues to dominate the ETF business.
Phil Mackintosh, a managing director of Credit Suisse’s investment banking division, told a meeting at the Nasdaq Market site of the Journal of Indexes editorial board that the U.S. has the bulk of the world’s $2 trillion in ETF assets.
“The U.S. has about a third of the listings globally but it has about three quarters of the assets globally,” Mackintosh said. “And it’s not as though Europe and Asia aren’t trying.”
The relatively new product has become popular with both institutions and individuals, he added. CS says institutions have a little more in ETF assets than individuals, 52 percent to 48 percent.
“The ETF industry has tasted success so far this year with an array of products entering into the space this year targeting a variety of segments,” according to a recent report by researcher Zacks.com. “In this environment, several ETFs experienced massive inflows and posted double-digit gains buoyed by positive sentiments.”
Why the popularity of the product and why does the product sell well here?
Part of the reason, Mackintosh said, is price. One can get equity ETF exposure for an average of 22 basis points. He added that commodity, international and emerging market ETFs are costing between 40 and 60 basis points. “And that’s pretty cheap,” he said.
The large majority of ETF trades, he added, have spreads of less than 10 basis points. The ETF, he noted, can have a spread that is less than 10 percent of the underlying stock. And for the institutional investor, such as the hedge fund, ETFs are a desirable product because they are easy to trade, Mackintosh said.
For trading pros, these are all good points, but what about the average investor? Aren’t these also good points for the individual investor looking to diversify his or her portfolio? Can he or she actually construct an entire portfolio with these unique portfolios that turn over 7,000 percent in a year and make money?