much-needed independent research on etfs

With the continued heat surrounding the ETP market, recently ratcheted up by ESMA’s release of its long-awaited consultation, there could be no better time for the launch of a independent firm concentrated on the controversial vehicles.

much-needed independent research on etfs


In steps Deborah Fuhr, one of the best-known names in the sector, and her new research and consultancy business ETF Global Insight.

Fuhr has an established pedigree in the world of ETF research and strategy, having headed up operations at BlackRock from 2008 to 2011. Prior to that she worked at Morgan Stanley for 11 years where she was MD and head of the investment strategies group based in London.

Now Fuhr, alongside two of her former team-mates at BlackRock, Shane Kelly and Matthew Murray, plans to provide a service that will among other things offer advisers a tool for selecting and comparing different exchange-traded structures.

She said the team are working on a tool that will have the ability to screen ETFs based on all the different criteria an adviser can think of and with the advent of RDR and proposed changes in the offing with Mifid II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) Fuhr said it seemed like a great time to just "go for it".

"For many years people have been saying we should set up a company and do bespoke research for clients as well as offer research to people trying to uderstand and compare all the various types of ETFs and exchange-traded products out there.

"For many people there is not an awareness that some of these products are not ETFS and we plan to work with and cover the whole ETF ‘eco-system’ – investors, ETF managers, brokers, exchanges, index managers, regulators etc."

Best option

But the firm will not just concentrate on ETFs, and will explore options for clients in futures, credit swaps, or other alternatives if they might do a better job of getting portfolios the exposure they are aiming for.

"ETFs will not always be the best option in all situations and for all investors and there are times when ETFS will not exist for the exposure the investor wants, which is usually a certain benchmark or index."


As well as bespoke client services, ETF Global Insight will publish industry-wide reports, examining specific areas or issues within the ETF market.

The first of these is expected to be ready within the next two months, although it should be noted that in her time at BlackRock Fuhr distributed research papers to over 13,000 professional investors, and even won awards for them.

She has also written extensively for industry titles and was featured in last month’s Portfolio Adviser discussing the on-going "bickering between the physical and synthetic ETF camps" and the regulatory changes this could provoke.

Research from Fuhr and the rest of the team has also been used to inform papers from the IMF and Bank for International Settlements (BIS) on various ETF topics.

Now with a formalised approach Fuhr hopes to be able to delve even deeper into the industry.

For those of us with a flimsier grasp on ETFs and their various permutations, she will provide a welcome education.

Do you think there should be more independent education and research on ETFs? Let us know below.




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