Analyzing ETF Success & Failure: A Five Year Look Back

In a recent paper published by CFRA, Analyzing ETF Success and Failure: A Five Year Look Back, our ETF experts, Todd Rosenbluth, Head of ETF & Mutual Fund Research and Aniket Ullal, VP, ETF Data & Analytics provide an exclusive look into the top trends and ETF successes and failures over the past five years. These trends, summarized below, stem from an unprecedented deep dive into the ETF ecosystem, aided by CFRA's recent acquisition of First Bridge Data.
Learn more about the Top Five Trends in ETFs:
  • “Winner Take Most” Concentration Effect
  • Two Firms Dominate; Many Others Also Grow
  • Macro Timing A Significant Factor of Strategy Based ETFs
  • ETNs Account for a Large Share of Industry’s Sizable Closer Rate
  • 30 ETFs in the Studied Universe Had Objective Change

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Our analysis concentrates on the ETF universe that existed between year-end 2014 and August 2019.

By incorporating all ETFs that existed during this period including those that subsequently closed, we avoid 'survivorship bias'.

This gives us insight into the long-term factors driving ETF asset-gathering success.

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Todd Rosenbluth, Head of ETF and Mutual Fund Research, CFRA
Todd Rosenbluth is Senior Director of ETF and Mutual Fund Research at CFRA where he leads the firm’s holdings-based research efforts. Todd publishes regular thought leadership content on equity and fixed income products, supports the quantitative fund models and interacts with clients. He also serves as a member of CFRA’s Investment Policy Committee. Todd has frequently provided ETF education at Inside ETFs conferences and been quoted in media outlets, such as Barron’s, New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Todd also held the position of Senior Director of ETF and Mutual Fund Research for S&P Global Market Intelligence. 
Prior to joining CFRA, Todd previously served in other financial positions at S&P Global, such as International Mutual Fund Sector Specialist, Large Cap Value and Large Cap Growth Analyst and has served on the Fund Services Asset Allocation Committee. Prior to joining S&P Global in 2001, Todd was managing editor of Value Line Mutual Fund Survey and Senior Large Cap and Small Cap Value Mutual Fund Analyst. He was also a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley. Todd holds a B.G.S in Finance from the University of Michigan and an MBA in Finance from New York University.
Aniket Ullal VP, ETF Data & Analytics
Aniket Ullal is VP, ETF Data and Analytics for CFRA, one of the world’s largest providers of independent investment research. Aniket founded First Bridge Data, a leading source for global ETF data and analytics that was acquired by CFRA in August 2019. 
Prior to starting First Bridge, he had product management responsibility for S&P’s US indices, including the widely followed S&P 500 and S&P/Case-Shiller indices. These indices have over $1Trillion in ETF assets tracking them. Aniket is the author of 'ETF Investment Strategies' (McGraw-Hill; 2013). He is a graduate of Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management and the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad.