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September 23, 2011

Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) Conference

I attended the Morningstar ETF Invest Conference September 21-23rd.  The uses of ETFs have increased dramatically.  The first ETF was introduced in the US in 1993 (The Standard & Poor’s 500 Depository Receipt).  The concept originated in 1989 in Canada.  
Tax efficiency is often mentioned as an advantage.  However the importance of lower costs, better transparency and intraday liquidity are significantly more important.  As the acceptances of ETFs have grown, there has been a demand for new ETFs.  The strategies and make-up of the newer ETFs expands the use of ETFs.  The variations within ETFs increase their versatility. 
There were sessions on how ETFs function and various ways they can be used in meeting the investors’ needs.  Each speaker was an expert and most aspects of ETFs were covered. 
There were also broad topics.  The views about the US economy ranged from good news to very slow grow.  It was enlightening to hear the factors and reasoning of the different views.  Implicit in both presentations was the inadequacy of what the media publishes. 
Jeffrey Zaslow spoke about what he learned from Randy Pausch.  Jeffrey was the co-author of “The Last Lecture” and is a columnist with the “Wall Street Journal”.  This presentation helped put things in perspective. 
The interaction with industry leaders, analysts and other practitioners created excitement and enthusiasm.  I will apply some of the ideas presented at the conference.  Other ideas will help me recognize future developments. 

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