INSIGHTS & STRATEGIES

WisdomTree Blog

ETFs are built on a backbone of transparency, while mutual funds are opaque in nature. And although mutual funds trade at NAV, it doesn’t mean the execution cost is free. Michael Barrer explains.

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No matter where an investor is on the spectrum of sophistication when it comes to using ETFs, what is paramount is to recognize that ETF execution affects their total return. Investors spend the majority of time on asset allocation, but when it comes time to execute, it is imperative to know what resources you have to obtain the best pricing possible.
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The ETF structure is one of transparency and equality. The trade on September 28, 2016, when more than $139 million of an approximate $157 million Fund was sold in one execution is a perfect example of how investors are protected in the structure and how there is more to an ETF than its AUM and ADV. 

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Many investors judge ETFs for investment candidacy based just on their on-screen characteristics of assets under management, average daily volume and bid/ask spread. By doing that, they may be ignoring the majority of ETFs out there and potentially missing out on some helpful investment tools.

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As we mark the one-year anniversary of August 24, investors may be asking what has been done since that volatile and chaotic day and if it could happen again. 

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August 24, 2015 marked an influential day in the marketplace when we awoke to extremely volatile global markets. Although not the cause of the issues on 8/24, many ETFs were affected by a collision between market volatility and market structure. One of the key factors in why market participants had difficulty pricing ETFs during the opening minutes of 8/24 centered on a little-known and antiquated rule by the NYSE, called Rule 48. 

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