'Ownership' of investment boosting ETF popularity

Increasing “ownership” of investment decisions is lifting the popularity of exchanged traded funds (ETFs) within the SMSF industry, according to Russell Investments.

Russell Investments portfolio manager Scott Bennett told SMSF Adviser that investors are taking greater control over their assets, which is being seen in the growth of the SMSF industry.

Furthermore, these investors are controlling their wealth by implementing traditional stock options themselves.

“We’re seeing a growing number of investors start managing their super or their assets on an unmediated basis,” Mr Bennett said.

“So, in terms of the role of advisers, we’re seeing investors take a lot more ownership of that investment decision, and when they increase their ownership they usually are doing that by implementing traditional stock options.”

“One of the great things about ETFs is that they actually trade on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) so it’s quite easy for an investor to actually hold that allocation, because it trades on the same basis as the rest of their portfolio.”

Mr Bennett said that SMSF trustees, along with retail investors, make up a majority of ETF investors in the Australian market.

ETF traits such as lower fees than managed funds, access to franking credits and tax efficiency are part of the reason why SMSF investors continue to grow in the ETF space.

Mr Bennett said he expects the momentum in the ETF industry to continue through 2013.

“Across our broad suite of ETFs, we’ve seen tremendous pick-up in terms of volume throughout 2013 and I think we kind of expect to see that continue to come on board just as investors are more willing now to take on a bit more equity risk in their portfolio,” Mr Bennett said.

“So as we start to see that money come back in, we’ll continue to see the growth of ETFs.”

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