ETF-Forum 2022: “The ETF success story continues”

ETF-Forum 2022: “The ETF success story continues”

The entire industry came together at the Deutsche Börse ETF Forum on 5 May to exchange views on developments and trends in the ETF and ETP sector at the Hilton Hotel in Frankfurt am Main. 

“We want to offer a platform where we can exchange views on the key developments in the ETF segment and learn something from you. We can only further develop our offering in a targeted manner to meet the needs of investors if we know the investment trends and are in close exchange with you and the product providers. This is exactly what our event today is designed to do”, Eric Leupold, Head of Cash Market, welcomed the 245 guests. He emphasised that ETFs have evolved from a niche investment option of the 1990s to one of the most popular financial products in the investment and asset management industry: “The ETF success story continues. Last year, invested assets in the ETF segment of Deutsche Börse exceeded €1 tn for the first time and were thus 39 per cent higher than in the previous year.” 

Global economic outlook marked by pandemic and geopolitical tensions

The programme then began with an economic wrap-up including a global economic outlook: Ulrich Kater, Chief Economist at DekaBank, gave his assessment of the economic recovery: “Once the genie of inflation is out of the bottle, it's hard to get it back in.” According to Felix Hüfner, Chief Economist at UBS Investment Bank, the looming energy crisis may push the economy into recession. 

Alternative investment forms in the ETF sector are trending

The panel was followed by an insightful debate on the appropriate investment strategy in the light of current market developments. Whether crypto or commodities – numerous alternative forms of investment are possible in the ETF sector, and the range is diverse. “However, investors should be aware of the different risks depending on the type of investment and understand the respective product,” advised Stephanie Lang, Head of Portfolio Strategy for Continental Europe at BlackRock. 

The following panel on thematic ETFs highlighted how different the possible uses of ETFs can look: in recent years, ETFs on future topics and megatrends such as biotechnology and artificial intelligence have met with great investor interest, “but our ETF for pet products, the first of its kind in Europe, is also very popular,” added Florian Berberich, Associate Director at Rize ETF. 

Which significance do ESG ETFs have and which challenges do they face?

“Sustainability has now established itself among all investors – you can no longer afford to do without it,” emphasised Dag Rodewald, Head ETF & Index Fund Sales at UBS, in the following panel. “Regulatory issues in particular have brought the topic into focus: with the introduction of the European Union's new ESG guidelines, the preparation of a sustainability report will become mandatory for all companies offering financial products in Europe,” explained Lydia Sandner, Vice President, ISS Institutional Shareholder Services. 

Are crypto ETNs safe?

In the next round on crypto ETNs, the topic of security was particularly relevant: “It would take more than all the computers in the world to break the blockchain and run it backwards,” exsaid Patrick Heusser, CEO at Crypto Finance (Brokerage) AG. “However, all the security in the world is of no use if you don't remember the key to your wallet,” reminded Bernhard Wenger, Head of Northern Europe at 21Shares. 

To conclude the forum, an interesting roundtable on corporate governance provided the participants with an opportunity to learn more about how passive investment methods can actively influence corporate governance.

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