In the media, we love to mark beginnings and endings. We are quick to make predictions and fast with “I told you so.” In between, not so much.
Ever since exchange-traded funds were introduced in 1993, media and finance types have been predicting the rise/fall of ETFs relative to mutual funds and even stocks. Telling the story of ETFs, and the struggles between/among providers, has been chalked up to “inside baseball,” as I’ve been told.
My latest article and infographic in the Wall Street Journal and a few recent stories in Barron’s and The Financial Times serve up a product market in transition. While there may be close to one thousand ETFs in the U.S. market that are not economically viable, such small products make up a tiny segment of all assets in ETFs. (28% of SPY by assets.)
But there’s no reason that any one of these thousand little guys can’t make it in its own right or stay afloat longer than the media would like for a good story.
The financial product market is in constant transition. Yesterday’s top hedge fund is today’s implosion and tomorrow’s genius. That the ETF market is one of whales and minnows is only a footnote to the macro trend.