etfs 4

RIA Trend Report - Exchange Traded Funds: Strategic Role of ETFs in the Portfolio

ETF usage for directional market positions declined to 30% from 35% last year.

While the overall usage numbers demonstrate a trend towards moderation in the rate of increase in utilization of ETFs, it is important to assess how these products are being deployed within client portfolios. While using ETFs for core portfolio positions and for sector exposure remain dominant roles cited by RIAs, we note some interesting changes in this year’s responses that parallel the observations in Figure 1. Specifically, while we observe a small increase in ETF usage for factor or asset class exposure, we note decreases across the other specific use cases. For example, ETF usage for directional market positions declined to 30% from 35% last year. We note even larger declines for country/region exposure and alternative exposure. Given the wide variety of ETFs that are available to achieve specific portfolio objectives, it cannot be a lack of viable options that explains these changes. Rather, these findings are consistent with equity markets driven by extremely loose monetary policy that seems to overwhelm fundamentals and valuation considerations.

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