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Vanguard Meets Advisors’ Demands for Online ETF Research


Vanguard, the third-largest U.S. ETF issuer, recently launched the ETF Knowledge Center to help address financial advisors’ questions about the increasingly popular investment vehicle.

The money manager is seeking to become the place for ETF education as Vanguard aggregates its published educational pieces in an easy-to-access central location, writes Jackie Noblett for Ignites.

In a phone interview with ETF Trends, Martha King, Managing Director of Vanguard’s Financial Advisor Services Division, describes the education center as a “giant leap forward.

The site “brings ETF education to beginners and experienced advisors alike, and all of Vanguard’s resources would be available,” King said.

ETFs have been around for a while, but the investment vehicle is still relatively new, compared to the established mutual fund industry. Consequently, education remains a key component in increasing advisor awareness and adoption.

According to a 2013 Cerulli Associates report, advisor education is a key priority for ETF providers as a way to coach advisors new to the ETF industry, as well as advanced training for those acquainted with the products.

In a preliminary survey of financial advisors attending the ETF Virtual Conference, the majority of respondents revealed that they are using ETFs to lower fees. Advisors pointed to risk and portfolio construction as the top reason for learning about ETFs, followed by alternative ETF investments.

Vanguard’s push into an online forum will reach the changing way advisors are researching investment opportunities. The ETF Virtual’s preliminary survey showed that the majority of financial advisors utilize online sources to gather investment research. The research center has been tailored for online perusal, notably for smartphone and tablet viewers on the go.

“Vanguard’s ETF Knowledge Center includes expanded support beams from technology to provide an interactive online experience for advisors,” King added.

The new ETF Knowledge Center will touch upon five categories: fundamentals, structures, indexing, strategies and trading.

King points out that the the online forum tries to meet the different needs of various advisor from passive to active, along with those seeking to revamp portfolios where ETFs were previously not a part of the investments.

Pennsylvania-based Vanguard hauled $55 billion in new ETFs last year, compared to BlackRock’s iShares $40 billion in inflows and State Street’s $14 billion in new assets. The firm had $330.7 billion in ETF assets as of Jan. 2, $60 billion behind State Street’s (STT) State Street Global Advisors and just over half the $655.6 billion in ETF assets held by BlackRock’s (BLK) iShares.

Investors and financial advisors have sought out Vanguard ETFs for the low-cost, index-based strategies. Vanguard led asset growth over 2013, bringing in 32 cents out of every dollar invested in an ETF, Bloomberg reported.

For instance, the Vanguard Total International Bond ETF (BNDX)  and Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF (VWOB) have been among the top new ETFs by asset growth for 2013. [These 10 New ETFs Have Rapidly Gained Assets]

Financial advisors interested in browsing through Vanguard’s compendium on ETFs can take a look at the ETF Knowledge Center.

For more information on the ETF industry, visit our current affairs category.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.