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Understanding How and Why to Consider Thematic ETFs 


Thursday, April 16, 2020 at 1:00 PM ET | 10:00 AM PT

Advisors are increasingly looking to ETFs to incorporate long-term investment themes, while benefiting from diversification. However, the supply of related products has grown, making it harder to sort through the variety of choices and understand how they fit in with an existing asset allocation strategy. Still in their early days, as of December 31,2019, thematic ETFs held about $28 billion, out of $4.4 trillion in the overall ETF space, representing just 0.6% of the industry, across 121 funds. Yet assets in thematic ETFs have approximately quintupled since 2015 as interest in these strategies continues to grow rapidly.

We explored this topic further in a webinar discussion led by Todd Rosenbluth, Head of ETF & Mutual Fund Research at CFRA, and featuring Jay Jacobs, Head of Research & Strategy at Global X and Jon Maier, Chief Investment Officer at Global X.

Topics covered:

  • The thematic ETF landscape, which includes fast growing areas like robotics & artificial intelligence, cloud computing, video games & esports and e-commerce.
  • The underlying investment case for certain themes and what makes them unique.
  • How advisors can use these products in a diversified portfolio.



  • Todd Rosenbluth, Head of ETF and Mutual Fund Research, CFRA
  • Jay Jacobs, Head of Research & Strategy, Global X
  • Jon Maier, Chief Investment Officer, Global X




Jay Jacobs, Head of Research & Strategy, Global X

Having joined Global X in 2013, Jay leads the firm’s research team, which originates the firm’s unique insights on the markets and ETFs. He also guides the planning and development of the firm’s strategic direction. Jay is a frequently cited expert in the financial media, including CNBC, Bloomberg, and The Wall Street Journal.

Prior to joining Global X, Jay was a business analyst at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), in the ETF and Indexing Group, where he helped to launch hundreds of ETFs on the NYSE Arca trading platform.

Jay holds a BA from Emory University in International Studies and an MBA from Columbia Business School. He is also a CFA charterholder. He can be followed on Twitter @JayJacobsCFA



Jon Maier, Chief Investment Officer, Global X

Jon joined Global X in 2017. He works to shape the firm’s market outlook, to lead the construction of model portfolios, to craft the firm’s investment strategy, and to contribute to the development of ETF products.

Previously, Jon worked at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, where he was the Senior Portfolio Manager for its ETF Model Portfolio business within its CIO Office. Prior to joining Merrill, he held positions with UBS and its predecessor firm, PaineWebber. Earlier, Jon was a financial analyst with American International Group and served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Kiev, Ukraine, focusing on privatization projects.

Jon received his BBA from Emory University.




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.




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