Winners of the etf.com 2023 Awards

Lifetime Achievement, Best ETF, Best New ETF named among 15 categories.

RonDay
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Managing Editor
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Reviewed by: Lisa Barr
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Edited by: Sean Allocca

The ninth annual etf.com awards Tuesday night recognized the hard work and success of many participants in the $7 trillion industry.  

Winners were named in 15 categories, from Best ETF to Best New Ticker. The event, the first held in-person since the pandemic forced it to go virtual, acknowledged 30 years of industry growth that began with the launch of the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY) in the U.S., as well as the market tumult last year.  

“The etf.com Awards has been such an integral part of our industry for so many years that we are honored to bring it back in 2023,” said Sean Allocca, editor-in-chief of etf.com. 

 

 

Lifetime Achievement Award 

Joanne M. Hill, Ph.D., won this year’s etf.com Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently the chief advisor for research and strategy at Cboe Vest and a board governor for the CFA Institute, she has been involved in the financial sector for more than 40 years. Hill has held previous roles at Brown Brothers Harriman, Goldman Sachs and ProShares. 

She is also currently an adjunct professor with the College of Charleston School of Business and was previously an associate professor at the University of Massachusetts.  

In addition to Hill’s roles with ETF issuers and service providers, she has made a major impact on the industry as one of the founders behind Women in ETFs, an industry group that supports women working in the field of ETFs, as well as being a former co-president of the group. Few possess Hill’s experience, and she has been instrumental in the ETF industry’s growth.

ETF of the Year 

The actively managed JPMorgan Equity Premium Income ETF (JEPI) won the fund that has done the most to improve investor opportunities and outcomes in 2022. Launched in 2020, it has since accumulated $24.6 billion in assets.  

Its strategy leverages JPMorgan’s research capabilities to select a portfolio of defensive U.S. stocks, which it combines with an overlay involving out-of-the-money S&P 500 options. The fund was ideal for the rocky markets of 2022, and that year it declined 3.5% versus a drop in the broad U.S. market of nearly 20%. JEPI also pulled in $12.8 billion during the same time period. The fund comes with a net expense ratio of just 0.35%, making it one of the lower-cost actively managed ETFs.  

Best New ETF 

The US Treasury 3 Month Bill ETF (TBIL) is a first-of-its-kind product from F/m Investments. The fund launched last August and is now a $762 million fund—significant growth for a new issuer.  

F/m entered the ETF market with a unique premise for its U.S. Benchmark Series. The issuer’s products all track indexes from the ICE and Bank of America that represent the on-the-run bond, bill or note for each tenor of Treasury securities, rolling into the newest securities as they become available. By investing in the on-the-run security for a particular tenor, the investor is exposed to the price most similar to what is quoted in the media. 

ETF Issuer of the Year  
Dimensional Fund Advisors entered the ETF market in 2020 and has since created a lineup of 30 actively managed ETFs, with more than $84 billion in combined assets under management.  

Founded in 1981 by David Booth, Rex Sinquefield and Larry Klotz, who all studied under Eugene Fama and Kenneth French, it has a reputation for investing in broad swaths of the market while tilting the exposures of its strategies toward the value, profitability and size factors, something it has continued with the ETFs it markets.  

In 2022 alone, Dimensional launched 17 funds.  

New ETF Issuer of the Year 

BondBloxx Investment Management, founded by a consortium of mostly ETF industry veterans last year, debuted in the first quarter of 2022 with the launch of seven sector junk bond ETFs.  

The issuer exclusively focuses on providing targeted exposure to different slices of the fixed income space. In 2022, BondBloxx launched 19 funds, more than any other issuer, surpassing even iShares and Direxion. In addition to different slices of the high-yield bond space, the list of ETFs it rolled out last year includes a range of target duration U.S. Treasury funds and an emerging market bond fund. 

Best New U.S. Equity ETF  
The award went to the Capital Group Growth ETF (CGGR). The actively managed fund primarily targets large cap U.S. growth stocks and was among the first six ETFs that rolled out from Capital Group when it entered the ETF market in February 2022.  

CGGR currently has $1.8 billion in assets under management with broad institutional ownership. It’s one of the largest actively managed U.S. growth ETFs, and comes with an expense ratio of just 0.39%.  

Best New International/Global Equity ETF  

The BNY Mellon Global Infrastructure Income ETF (BKGI) took home the global equity award. With global markets in perilous waters in 2022 and supply chains still suffering from the effects of the pandemic, investing in the companies that keep things running seemed a fairly safe bet to many. Although the category didn’t generate positive returns in 2022, infrastructure funds still performed better than the broader equity markets. 

On the BNY Mellon fund page for BKGI, the investment argument for the fund notes that infrastructure assets have “inflation links,” which means they can adjust their prices based on an inflation indicator such as the producer price index or consumer price index.  

Best New U.S. Fixed Income ETF 

The award for Best New U.S. Fixed Income ETF went to the Schwab Municipal Bond ETF (SCMB). Charles Schwab has a long history in the ETF space of offering broad coverage at rock-bottom prices, and this fund is no different. SCMB has an expense ratio of 0.03%, which is the cheapest in the entire muni ETF category, undercutting even Vanguard’s funds in the space. 

The ETF tracks a very similar index to that tracked by the $32.3 billion iShares National Muni Bond ETF (MUB), the largest muni bond ETF currently trading, but it costs 4 basis points less.  

Best New International/Global Fixed Income ETF 

Perhaps not surprisingly, the New Issuer of the Year should also be the issuer of the winner of the Best New International/Global Fixed Income ETF. The BondBloxx JP Morgan USD Emerging Markets 1-10 Year Bond ETF (XEMD) launched midway through 2022 and has gathered just over $180 million in assets so far.  

There’s no shortage of emerging market bond ETFs, but this is the first to specifically target bonds with short- and intermediate-term maturities. XEMD tracks the JP Morgan EMBI Global Diversified Liquid 1-10 Y Maturity Index. Its portfolio holds 355 securities from 54 different countries.  

Best New Active ETF 

The Dimensional US Small Cap Value ETF (DFSV) launched in February 2022 and captures two of the pillars of Dimensional’s core strategy, which targets smaller cap stocks demonstrating strong value characteristics as well as strong profitability. DFSV is benchmarked to the Russell 2000 Value Index.  

When compared with the largest similar fund, the passively managed $23.4 billion Vanguard Small-Cap Value ETF (VBR), there’s quite a bit of differentiation. DFSV has a broader portfolio of roughly 980 securities and absolutely no overlap with those of VBR in its top 10 holdings. It’s also outperforming its rival by several basis points year to date.  

Best New ESG ETF  
The winner was also one of the biggest launches in 2022. The iShares Paris-Aligned Climate MSCI USA ETF (PABU) tracks an index of companies seen as well-positioned to participate in the transition to a lower-carbon economy and aligning with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.  

Not only does the MSCI USA Climate Paris Aligned Benchmark Extended Select Index screen out U.S. companies traditionally eschewed by ESG strategies, such as those involved in alcohol, weapons, fossil fuels or major controversies, it homes in on companies within its universe that have lower greenhouse gas intensity.  

Best New Smart Beta or Factor ETF   
The winner is the Invesco NASDAQ Future Gen 200 ETF (QQQS). The fund offers exposure to 200 Nasdaq-listed stocks ranking below the ones included in the 100-stock Nasdaq-100 Index and Nasdaq Next Generation Index in size but falling within the components of the Nasdaq Composite Index. Companies are screened to include those with the most valuable patent portfolios relative to their size, and are equal-weighted within QQQS’ index.  

It provides exposure to the small cap segment of the market.  

Best Thematic ETF of the Year   
The award goes to the Engine No. 1 Transform Climate ETF (NETZ). The fund is actively managed and invests in U.S. companies that are both driving and benefiting from the transition to a lower carbon economy. The premise behind NETZ is that because only 200 companies account for more than 80% of greenhouse gases produced by corporations, net zero can’t be achieved without their support or participation.  

Index Provider of the Year  
S&P Dow Jones Indices benchmarks underlie more than 380 ETFs, or 12% of all U.S.-listed ETFs, more than any other index provider. A total of $2.3 trillion in assets, essentially one-third of all U.S.-listed ETF assets, is invested in those ETFs, the largest of which is the $377.1 billion SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY).  

In more recent years, S&P DJI has become known for its factor indexes, on which it issues regular reports.  

New ETF Ticker of the Year 

The ticker for Roundhill Cannabis ETF (WEED) may be irreverent and perhaps a bit too on-the-nose, and will elicit a giggle from anyone viewing it. And certainly, in just four letters it lets the investor know exactly what they’re buying. At just over a year old, WEED has $1.5 million in assets under management.  

 

Contact Ron Day at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @RonDayETF  

Ron Day is Managing Editor at etf.com. He joined the company in October 2022 and previously served as editor and deputy managing editor.

Ron covered business and financial news at Bloomberg News for 20 years, working on the breaking news, technology, commodities, headlines and First Word teams. He was previously senior editor at ESG news outlet Karma Impact and filled the same role at Boundless Impact. He also covered a variety of beats at New Jersey daily papers including the Daily Record in Parsippany, the North Jersey Herald & News and the Asbury Park Press. Ron's freelance work has been published in AARP.com, Investopedia.com and BigThink.com.

Ron is an advocate and fan of literacy. He hopes to one day master his Telecaster, rather than the other way around. His wonderful family includes a 10-lb. malti-poo named Emmy.