Brokers and ETFs

On Monday, the WSJ ran an article about brokers warming up to the use of ETFs in their client portfolios – see Brokerage Firms Show ETFs Some Love.

We took a quick temperature check for how much love the large brokerage houses are giving ETFs by conducting a Google site search for the term. Here’s what we found:

Merrill Lynch (www.ml.com)

Nothing about ETFs. To be fair, Merrill was an early pioneer in the field with a product termed HOLDRs. However, the latest reference to HOLDRs on ml.com is from 1999.

Morgan Stanley (www.morganstanley.com)

As a big proponent of indexing, Morgan Stanley has 27 references to ETFs on their site. The company is the majority shareholder of MSCI Barra, a leading index supplier to ETF sponsors.

UBS (www.ubs.com)

UBS was an early entrant into the ETF market as a licensee of Morningstar indices and later as an ETF sponsor. As a result, UBS has 5 Google pages of links to the term ETFs.

AG Edwards (www.agedwards.com)

One of the points made in Ian Salisbury’s article is that brokers are now offering ETF-only model portfolios. It turns out that AG Edwards has made the ETF-only portfolios available to its clients since 2001 making the firm a true leader in the deployment of ETFs.

For more information, see the firms’ websites.

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