John Prestbo’s Indexed Investor: Beware of exotic new ETFs making big promises

The ETF industry continues on its record-breaking growth trajectory, but with less and less concern for the welfare of indexed investors.

At September’s end, assets in exchange-traded funds and similar financial products totaled $3.41 trillion globally, up 21.7% from a year earlier, according to research and consulting firm ETFGI LLP in London. Meanwhile, the number of ETFs and similar products grew 9.2% to 6,526 globally.

The U.S. remains the epicenter of the ETF explosion. Assets in U.S.-listed ETFs jumped 22% from September 2015 to $2.42 trillion. The number of U.S.-listed ETFs and similar products rose 8.1% to 1,932. So far this year, ETFGI says, investors have poured $152.54 billion into these funds.

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