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Happy Birthday, index funds!

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Die Emittenten wetteifern um die größten Tortenstücke. Quelle: Adja SchwietringThe issuers compete for the largest pieces of cake. Source: Adja Schwietring

DÜSSELDORF. The numbers speak for themselves: More than 600 products are listed in XTF segment for exchange-traded funds (ETFs) to Singapore – and rising. In the coming days and weeks have already announced a number of new issues. The segment started on 11 April 2000 with just two products.

The average monthly trading volume in ETFs is, according to the Deutsche Börse now around eleven billion Euro and has verfünfzigfacht that within ten years. The number of issuers rose from a start – that Merrill Lynch International to the LDRS family – to 14 vendors today. With Amundi ETF, the fund management subsidiary of Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, And AM indices were added this year already two new suppliers. GeradeMWIndices is still largely unknown.

This is based Marshall Wace LLP, a hedge fund company, which has only recently started with a single ETF in Frankfurt. Investor will be spoiled for choice, the offer is great. "Meanwhile, there are no more investment objective that can not be achieved with ETFs," said Dirk Klee Ishares. "On the other hand, the Ange-bot is increasingly unclear." The ETFs listed in Germany, according to the Deutsche Börse more than 400 indices.

"The main part is invested in ETF assets invested in equities. In the past two years, bond ETFs, however, become increasingly important," said Thomas Merz of Xmtch. The figures also show the Deutsche Börse. More than fifty percent of the papers reflect shares barometer and nearly 20 percent of bond indices. With some distance followed by so-called strategy ETFs. Raw materials make up a smaller share, currency ETFs are only a few. "That will ETFAngebot develop more," predicts Merz. "The price index is already very extensive, but also refined even further."

When investors come to the apparently well. In particular, the Strategy ETFs are enjoying growing popularity – and react to the Issuers. With these papers, for example, investors sat on falling prices (short ETFs), or pry an index. But even more complex indices – such as to hedge funds or private equity – are in demand. "The issuers are very inventive and bring even more often ETFs on unusual, little-known indexes on the market, or they can build special indexes for ETFs to go out then," said Torsten Baar of the Deutsche Börse.

But experts see the not uncritical. "The products are complex and this leads to a dilution," says Alexander Kempf, Executive Director of the Centre for Financial Research (CFR) at the University of Cologne. "With the strategy items, the path leads away from it what ETFs have confessed and have been praised." ETF was frequently? Simple, transparent and flexible translated ‘. "Transparent remain the papers, flexible in terms of easily tradable course," says ETF expert Kempf. "And of course they are buying more easy, but the indicators they depict are becoming more complicated."

Not only institutional but also private investors would ask for these products in search of new investment opportunities. Quite different ten years ago: At the time the offer was open, the indices were each investor an idea. It started with one paper on the Euro Stoxx 50 and Stoxx 50 The first-Dax ETF issued in January 2001 Index Change (now Ishares). Five products counted the young segment of it.

Götz Kirchhoff, at that time index change and now CEO of Avana Invest, remembers the early days: "The greater the uncertainty in the bitter exchange years 2001 to 2003 was, the greater the demand wanted for our products – institutional investors prefer to index to set as active with investments to lose even more. "

The product range has been increasing: in 2003, followed by the European fixed-income ETFs on German state and European corporate bonds. Dividend policy and commodity ETFs were added 2005th

A little more complicated, it was in 2006: An ETF Lyxor participation allowed in the performance of LevDAX, which is coupled with a leverage of two to the Dax-development. "Even on the financial crisis, the providers have reacted," said Baar. "When the rates went down, they emitted more short ETFs that allow investors could bet on falling prices further."

The number of ETFs is growing steadily: the end of 2008 there were 399 papers in the XTF segment, the end of 2009 for 547th Currently there are 617 ETFs. Also in view of the European market, the exchange-traded index fund is a success story: In January 2010, the number of European ETFs for the first time overtaken the U.S..

All over Europe were 896 ETFs listed, 791 in the U.S. Among the most popular in Europe today are the way, the Stoxx ETFs. More than 30 percent of the managed ETFVermögens is invested in products Stoxx indices. "We expect that issuers continue to expand their product ranges," said Baar. "There are but a few duplicates, such as more ETFs on the Dax come on the market, but white spots on the map ETF will be closed."

Stock markets in Portugal and Mexico are those white spots. In addition, the expert expects further strategy products. New products are launched, especially outside the traditional stock and bond segments, "" believes, however, Thorsten Michalik DB X-Trackers. "Basically, looking for investors ETFs in asset classes that are most weakly correlated with dembreiten stock and bond market, where they tend to have strong are invested. "

He expects new issues in the areas of commodities, currencies and alternative strategies such as hedge funds. Merz also Xmtch expert predicts that the product number will rise. should Lyxor CEO Thomas Meyer zu Drewer dares a concrete prediction: "We expect to end 2010 in Europe, a volume of 200 billion euros. In five years, the barrier will be reached 500 billion euros."

He believes in the benefits of passive index funds over actively managed funds: "The ETF market is all present, despite the prophecies of doom – the most active funds were in the 2009 retrospective grow much better than passive – next."

A growing market so fast, it is almost inevitable at some point to a consolidation – to supply as well as on the supply side. In the past ten years a total of 29 ETFs disappeared from the market. Reasons were merging or closing individual funds. "As in any industry in the future, I expect quite adjustments in product ranges, for many a side issue is simply subject to fashions, which in the outset can not see, unfortunately," Meyer says to Drewer. Lyxor also have last year, closed for three ETFs because of lack of demand again.

Also on the issuer side there were drawbacks. With Unico, the ETF provider of population and banks, for example, in 2006, an issuer has adopted from the market. The LDRS family, was with the Merrill Lynch 2000 ETFs launched in Germany, is now part of the Ishares family of Black Rock. The same applies to Index Change. Experts do not believe this is the last "goodbyes have been."

"ETFs are a mass market, there are clear economies of scale," says Kempf. Therefore be expected that providers will be merged or replaced. Also, the issuers themselves do not believe that survive all allies. Name but no one calls. "At a major consolidation, it is in our view, but not come before 2013," says Andreas Fehrenbach, CEO of ETFlab. With Lyxor is expected in one to two years so that one competitor gives up.

Before that could even other vendors come to market. The large pieces of cake, however, are distributed. "Currently, three providers to share about 80 percent of the market," said Baar of the Deutsche Börse. "But who will be innovative, secure its market." Whoever exclusively on standard indices ETFs offering – and duplicate – could certainly there are hard. "In the long term it is conceivable that determine in the first place some large suppliers and a few niche players the market," adds Xmtch expert Merz.

That it is becoming increasingly important to differentiate, also says Klee. Ishares sees the market is already largely divided into three groups: large "full range", a number of specialist suppliers with a clear product and customer segment focus and a series of "other" provider. "I think we will see in this third segment means a consolidation," said Klee.

Thorsten Michalik looks similar to the DB X-Trackers: ‘For the end of 2010 and early 2011, I expect a consolidation on the supply level. " But this will take place rather quietly, as is passive investing a huge trend in the coming years and nobody wanted to say goodbye completely. "Instead, ask yourself a number of companies need to determine if their set-up is timely and will do probably."

Götz Kirchhoff is convinced, however, that sufficient space is on the market to other providers. "Competition is good for business," he says. "I do not expect mergers, perhaps there is one now, because he is not in the market can claim, but I do not expect that really." Because often need the parent companies of the issuer, the ETFs for their own asset management.

Probably no one voluntarily leaves the competition field. The market will continue to grow rapidly: The trade volume increases, new documents are issued. "ETFs are still only beginning to develop. Only two percent of assets under management in Europe are in ETFs," said Michalik. "We are very confident that the market share of ETFs still clearly rising."

A growing demand, he expects mainly by large institutional investors such as pension funds, foundations and insurance companies. "First of all ETFs are modules for portfolio management," says Kirchhoff. Invest with Avana he offers a ETFDachfonds, the use of these modules.

"ETFs will continue to strengthen in the asset allocation included with institutional clients," says CEO ETFlab Fehrenbach. "Even in the enlightened private clients, we still see significant growth for the future." This looks to Thomas Merz of Xmtch Sun Yet the proportion of passive products in Europe is much smaller than in the U.S., "will grow steadily but more and thus become more important."

Especially with the private investors are catching up. Although 35 to 40 percent of completed transactions, they account for, the German stock market Orders for up to 25 000 in orders from private investors evaluated. But their share of ETF trading volume is just five percent.

"ETFs are used primarily by institutional investors, private study their benefits just to know first," says Kempf. For the exchange-traded index fund, let the risk of spreading easily and inexpensively. "Those who believe that markets are efficient, can this theory of index products implement wonderful."

Those who think he could itself or a fund manager to beat the market ought to set an active trading strategy. "Strategy ETFs can be an alternative," says ETF expert. They could put an investor on falling or rising markets on growth and value.

"Such a strategy must be an investor but check regularly and question, for it will not happen in every market phase." He was however convinced that many markets are so efficient that it is difficult to make permanent earn money with such strategies. The largest transactions were also made by the ETFs on the first generation, so papers reflect the current stock market barometer.

The party goes on and so the (birthday) cake is bigger from year to year.