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A Stock Pickers Guide to ETFs



A Stock Pickers Guide to ETFs

Learn about the Asset Allocation revolution, the impact from asset allocators, how passive ownership affects your alpha opportunity, what ETFs can add value to your investment process, and how to read ETF volume and flow data in the right way. A Stock Pickers Guide to ETFs

The Asset Allocation revolution is redefining the investment landscape… ETFs are just (a big) part of that

The growth in ETFs is not just the result of a passive management phenomenon. They are rather the result of growing investor demand for multi asset investment solutions implemented via efficient building blocks. Traditional managers should reassess their ability to offer multi asset solutions and/or efficient building blocks in order to remain competitive.

Passive ownership (p/o) has redefined stock market dynamics and alpha opportunity

The Asset Allocation revolution has brought about the rise of the Asset Allocator and its respective market impact as average passive ownership for US stocks grew four times to about 16% in the past 15 years. As a consequence of high p/o some sectors such as Real Estate and Utilities have become more of a beta play due to a reduced alpha opportunity. Among size segments, the impact from p/o is not as relevant, although Small Caps exhibit some impact which could reduce alpha opportunity on names with high p/o. On the other hand, we found that stocks with lower passive ownership can provide a more abundant source of alpha.

ETFs have become an institutional vehicle also used by retail investors

Institutional investors continue to increase their usage of ETFs reaching an ownership level of 58% at the end of 2014. In addition, the number of institutional investors using ETFs rose above 3,000 at the end of last year including most of the major asset managers among investment advisers, brokers, private banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, and pension funds. Moreover, our research shows that ETF volume and cash flow activity is clearly dominated by institutional investors. Therefore the common belief that ETFs are a retail instrument is a misconception.

Every Stock Picker should know about the “Cash Management” and “Pseudo Futures” ETFs

It is difficult to keep up with the almost 1,500 ETFs listed in the US; however every Stock Picker should be acquainted with at least the relevant ETFs within the group of 105 ETFs which we call the Cash Management and Pseudo Futures ETFs. These ETFs can add value to investors’ portfolios in several ways that do not conflict with an active manager’s investment philosophy. In addition, understanding the different characteristics of these ETFs such as VIX elasticity of volume or flow patterns can help investors understand market trends in a more accurate way.

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