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Alternative Market Briefing

ITG research looks at factors behind ETF failures during flash crash

Friday, June 04, 2010

From Kirsten Bischoff, Opalesque New York:

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFS) marked two major anniversaries this year: 20 years since the launch of the first ETF, and 10 years since ETFs were introduced in Europe. ETFs are one of the biggest growth sectors in finance, and their transparency and liquidity allowed for continued growth even as the global financial crisis unfolded. However, in a newly published paper, research firm Investment Technology Group Inc raises some questions regarding the potential of failure in price discovery for ETFs in severe market distress, a glimpse of which we saw during the recent May 6, 2010 market plunge.

"In a world where investment products come and go with the blink of an eye, ETFs might be considered one of the most innovative financial products in the last two decades. They have fundamentally changed how both institutional and retail investors construct their investment portfolios," says the BlackRock April 2010 ETF Industry Review. The firm, which has been referred to as the "kingpin of the ETF industry" provides some astounding numbers on the growth trends within this sector:

- There are currently 2,189 ETFs holding $1,113bn in assets and there are 872 additional ETF launches currently in the plann......................

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