EDHEC-Risk Institute has announced the results of the 12th EDHEC European ETF, Smart Beta and Factor Investing Survey, conducted as part of its Amundi research chair on “ETF, Indexing and Smart Beta Investment Strategies”. This survey, conducted since 2006, aims to provide insights into European investors’ perceptions, practices and future plans in the domain of ETFs and Smart Beta.
Here’s a selection of key findings in response to three key questions:
1. How do investors select and use ETFs?
According to the data extracted from the survey, ETF usage is becoming increasingly mainstream. In 2006 45% of respondents used ETFs to invest in equities, compared with 91% in 2019. As for governments and corporate bonds, the figures rose from 13% and 6% in 2006 to 66% and 68% respectively in 2019.
Furthermore, ETF usage is becoming more tactical. For the first time, the use of ETFs for tactical allocation was higher (53%) than for long-term buy and hold (51%). This more balanced usage suggests that the ETF market is maturing and users are becoming more proactive.
Achieving broad market exposure still tops the list, with 73% of respondents using ETFs frequently for this purpose. However, sub-segment usage has risen, probably reflecting the increasingly tactical role of ETFs in portfolios.
Answering the question about the main drivers for selecting ETF providers, the survey found that cost and quality of replication are the two main drivers for selecting ETF providers.
Finally, about two-thirds of respondents (66%) used ETFs to invest in Smart Beta in 2019, a considerable increase since 2014 (49%).
2. What are the key objectives driving the use of Smart Beta and Factor Investing Strategies?
In regard to the key objectives driving the use of Smart Beta and Factor Investing Strategies, the survey found that improving performance is the main motivation for using Smart Beta and Factor Investing strategies. Managing risk is also considered an important criterion. 68% of respondents feel that smart beta and factor investing bond solutions are especially useful in performance-seeking portfolios, primarily to harvest risk premia.
In parallel, about three-fifths of respondents believe that the three typical factors of the credit risk market, namely carry/level of the yield curve, credit and slope of the yield curve, are the most relevant in fixed-income markets (63%, 60% and 58% respectively).
3. What are the future developments in ETFs and Smart Beta Products?
31% of respondents want to see more SRI-based ETFs, while similar proportions are interested in ETFs related to multi-factor and smart beta indices (30% and 28% respectively). The cumulative percentage of those that already invest or are considering investing in smart beta and factor investing in the near future is still higher in 2019 (79%) than in 2018 (74%), which leaves room for further development of this investment in the near future.
When asked about the smart beta solutions they think require further development by providers, respondents cited fixed income, ESG, and alternative asset classes. They would also like more customised solutions to be developed.
Lastly, respondents show a significant interest in Fixed-Income Smart Beta solutions and plan to increase their investment in this area. However, they explain that their usage is limited because the current offer does not correspond to their needs in term of risk factor, and due to a lack of research in the area. The development of new products corresponding to these demands may lead to an even wider adoption of Smart Beta solutions.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Fannie Wurtz, Head of Amundi ETF, Indexing & Smart Beta, said, “The results shows once again the significant role of ETFs in investor’s portfolios and rising interest in Fixed Income ETFs. The demand for Smart Beta and Factor solutions keep increasing too, as well as solutions that apply ESG criteria. As the leading European asset manager and a pioneer on socially responsible investing, Amundi continues innovating to answer to investors’ needs”.
Professor Lionel Martellini, Director of EDHEC-Risk Institute, added, “The 2019 edition of the EDHEC European ETF, Smart Beta and Factor Investing Survey conducted as part of the Amundi research chair at EDHEC-Risk Institute on “ETF, Indexing and Smart Beta Investment Strategies” shows a true coming of age in investors’ perception and usage of ETFs, which have become mainstream investment instruments for asset owners and are increasingly used in active market, sector-specific but also factor rotation strategies. There is a substantial appetite for new development in the area of SRI and fixed-income factor investing, where academically grounded product innovation is still needed”.
This research was supported by Amundi as part of the research chair at EDHEC-Risk Institute on “ETF, Indexing and Smart Beta Investment Strategies”.
Hernaldo Turrillo is a writer and author specialised in innovation, AI, DLT, SMEs, trading, investing and new trends in technology and business. He has been working for ztudium group since 2017. He is the editor of openbusinesscouncil.org, tradersdna.com, hedgethink.com, and writes regularly for intelligenthq.com, socialmediacouncil.eu. Hernaldo was born in Spain and finally settled in London, United Kingdom, after a few years of personal growth. Hernaldo finished his Journalism bachelor degree in the University of Seville, Spain, and began working as reporter in the newspaper, Europa Sur, writing about Politics and Society. He also worked as community manager and marketing advisor in Los Barrios, Spain. Innovation, technology, politics and economy are his main interests, with special focus on new trends and ethical projects. He enjoys finding himself getting lost in words, explaining what he understands from the world and helping others. Besides a journalist he is also a thinker and proactive in digital transformation strategies. Knowledge and ideas have no limits.