Fuhr Sounds Off On ETFs
September 24, 2012
Earlier this year, Deborah Fuhr, who formerly served as Global Head of ETF Research and Implementation Strategy at BlackRock and Barclays Global Investors, and co-founders Shane Kelly and Matthew Murray started London-based research company ETFGI.
The firm's mandate is to provide a number of services including thought leadership and independent research to investors, industry regulators and others related to the growing exchange-traded fund industry. Money Management Executive recently spoke to Fuhr about her latest venture and trends that she's seeing within the ETF space.
Why have you located your company in England?
This was my home. I had been working here when friends said I should open my own firm, that there was a need for this type of service. I decided that because of so many regulatory and tax changes and the growth in the number of ETF providers, they were right. Also, this is a good base relative to time zones. I'm able to speak to people easily in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and the U.S. In Europe you have the ability to talk about products globally, whereas in the U.S., you should really only be talking about U.S. funds, registered for sale in the U.S.
You've stated that ETFGI provides "better independent education, research and customized assistance to investors seeking to navigate the vast array of ETF products." What do you do that's different?
Having extensive firsthand experience in the industry and being independent are important. When I started covering them in 1997, there were only 21 ETFs and $8 billion invested in them. Researching and writing about ETFs, and engaging with people globally who are designing them as well as with brokers, investors and exchanges, is a unique proposition. Once when I was at an airport I figured out I had visited over 52 countries educating people on ETFs. These included sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, mutual fund managers, hedge funds, regulators, advisors, private banks, family offices, and banks and brokerages trading ETFs. Also, we're researching ETFs globally. Many companies tend to look at them only in one country.
How do you plan on marketing your research?
I plan on speaking at events and calling people directly, and we've had inquiries about consulting projects. I also have quite an active LinkedIn group, ETF Network, with over 6,500 global members. Our forthcoming website will allow people to access our reports and other tools, and we'll also be offering an annual subscription service that will have more detailed reports than what we now offer. We'll report on flows into net asset classes, or where the "smart" money is going, for example, as well as on providers of ETFs regarding market share, trading volumes, and so forth.