U.S. Exchange-Traded Fund Markets 2021

Reaching a Growing Investor Base

Explore ETF Product Innovation

  • Monitor the continued rollout of active and semi-transparent active ETFs
  • Analyze increased competition to reach ETF investors as more firms build out proprietary product lines
  • Discover ongoing ETF innovation and continued build-out of direct indexing capabilities, which may threaten ETF assets


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Report US exchange traded fund markets 2020 Detail

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Ryan Hanratty

Ryan Hanratty

Account Manager


Examine the U.S. exchange-traded product industry from the perspective of existing issuers and new entrants, as well as those using their products, including advisors, institutions, and households. Monitor ongoing industry trends such as fee compression, the shift toward a wider variety of products, including actively managed equity (transparent and semi-transparent) and fixed-income ETFs, and identify other product trends.

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Each report is lead authored by a senior Cerulli analyst with significant industry experience. The report incorporates qualitative and quantitative inputs, based on Cerulli’s proprietary research process. For more on our research process, click here.

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A Note from the Author

ETFs Go Active

Daniil Shapiro, CFA

Daniil Shapiro, CFA


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Daniil Shapiro, CFA

Daniil Shapiro, CFA


Daniil is part of Cerulli’s Product Development practice, where he works on the identification, analysis, and reporting of asset management industry trends with a focus on exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and alternative investments.

Prior to joining Cerulli Associates, Daniil was part of the Product Management and Business Intelligence teams with the MainStay Funds, part of New York Life Investment Management. At MainStay, Daniil supported sales efforts via fund and ETF competitive analysis, product research, and development of marketing materials, as well as performance reporting. Before New York Life, Daniil was part of the risk management practice at Accenture, and held risk and compliance roles at HSBC’s investment bank.

Full biography here.

Existing exchange-traded fund (ETF) issuers as well as legacy mutual fund managers looking to launch active ETFs are seeking to identify their market entry approach—whether via launching transparent or semi-transparent product, converting existing mutual funds to ETFs, or via Vanguard’s dual-share-class structure, which goes off-patent in 2023. Cerulli finds that launching transparent active product is likely the most significant asset-gathering opportunity—70% of polled ETF issuers are either currently developing or planning to develop transparent active ETFs.

Semi-transparent offerings also hold promise–50% of polled ETFs issuers report they are developing or planning to develop semi-transparent active ETFs. Among those looking to launch semi-transparent product, ETF issuers appear most interested in using the Fidelity structure (42% report they are either very or somewhat likely to use the structure). ETF issuers consider the structures to be similar and therefore are seeking the one that offers the best distribution advantage

Learn more about the paths firms are taking to launch active ETF products in our latest report, U.S. Exchange-Traded Fund Markets 2021. Understand key product development and distribution trends and explore the most attractive opportunities for managers.

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