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Index Funds or ETF Provider of the Year


Europe’s largest asset manager, with €987 billion in client money at the end of March 2016, has committed itself to making an impact on the ETF stage. At the end of 2014, Amundi said it wanted to double its indexing and ETF assets to reach $100 billion over the following three years. The Paris-based manager is betting on smart beta to grow these businesses and has grouped the two lines into a distinct unit, which had €54 billion ($60 billion) in assets at the end of March 2016. While there is still a way to go to hit the $100 billion target, its ETF business had taken new net assets of $4.2 billion in 2015, with a further $556 million in the first half of 2016. In June 2014, Amundi launched its first smart beta strategies to be made available through ETF and indexing products, and a ‘multi-smart beta’ offering arrived on sale in January 2016.

BlackRock (iShares)

iShares has comfortably conquered the ETF industry. By the end of June 2016, the company’s global $1.17 trillion in assets had secured it a 36.8% market share, according to figures from ETFGI. In 2015, iShares gathered $139 billion in net new assets, $33.6 billion of which came from European investors. This inflow outside of its home US market continued into 2016. In the first six months of the year, the company gathered more than double the net new assets of the entire rest of the field combined from European investors – $11.6 billion versus $4.4 billion. By the end of June, it had a 48% European market share. But size isn’t everything.

ETF Securities

With $18 billion in client money at the end of May 2016 in an industry dominated by giants, what ETF Securities may lack in assets, it makes up for with innovation. The firm was the first to market with gold and oil exchange-traded products and has continued to innovate in exchange-traded products, offering exposure to commodities and currencies alongside equities and fixed income. It was also the first to offer a Ucits ETF in Europe. In the past 18 months, the company has launched the world’s first ETF offering exposure to the fast-growing global cybersecurity industry, the latest in its Future Present range of disruptive technology ETFs. It partnered traditional fund manager Lombard Odier Investment Management to launch 12 smart beta fundamental fixed income ETFs and has entered markets outside its domestic base and launched products in the US, Australia and Asia-Pacific. ETF Securities’ submission said: “We are a small company, which punches above its weight, in part because we are nimble and able to collaborate with leading third parties to provide innovative products for investors.”

Legal & General Investment Management

LGIM’s range of pooled index funds provides huge choice and the ability to pursue specific benchmarks efficiently, according to the company’s 2015 annual report. In addition, institutional clients have segregated solutions that provide large scale customisation against established market capitalisation weighted and alternative indices, it said. With £274 billion in index funds, LGIM’s assets managed by its passive units are similar in size to the entire client bases of its largest UK peers – and they are set to grow further. Parent company Legal & General’s 2015 annual report said: “One of our core strengths is managing index funds… [and we] are well placed to benefit from the growing global trend towards a greater use of index funds.”

Lyxor Asset Management

With a whisker below a 10% market share in Europe, Lyxor’s ETF and index business is the continent’s third largest – and the group CEO has aims to double the $50 billion in assets it managed at the end of June 2016 by the end of 2018. The firm said: “With more than 200 ETFs listed on 13 regulated exchanges across the world, Lyxor provides investors with a highly flexible opportunity to diversify their allocation across all asset classes.” The Paris-based team collaborates with independent academics on the ETF Research Academy to produce white papers on issues facing the sector and has explored a factor-based approach for its products. The company said it has been a “pioneer since 2009″ and has built “a team of experts, both on the active and passive side of smart beta. Lyxor manages over $11.4 billion at the end of 2015 for clients in such strategies, across both equity and fixed income, via segregated mandates, index funds and ETFs.