ETF Usage Expected to Increase in 2009

Self-directed investors are more likely to allocate more of their portfolios to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) than adviser-directed investors.

But adviser-directed investors aren’t shunning ETFs. Both groups are expected to see an increase in ETF usage in 2009, according to a study of affluent investors by Cogent.

Equal proportions of both self-directed and advised investors use ETFs, but self-directed investors allocate slightly more of their portfolio to ETFs than adviser-directed investors, according to a release of the study results. The average allocation to ETFs among self-directed investors is 17%, versus about 14% average allocation among advised investors.

Cogent said the self-directed investor is defining the ETF product landscape. Self-directed investors’ awareness of several top ETF providers is almost twice that of advised investors, according to the study. Self-directed investors are also more loyal to their primary ETF provider than investors who purchase and own their investments through an adviser, Cogent said.

Usage of ETFs is expected to increase significantly in 2009 both groups, Cogent found. On average, one out of every four (25%) current ETF owners plans to increase their ETF holdings. Among self-directed investors, the proportion of likely increased use rises to 35%, according to the research.

“Everything we see in the data suggests that there is real, home-grown passion among investors—both advised and self-directed—for ETFs,’ said Christy White, founder and principal of Cogent Research, in the release. “At the end of the day, providers that are committed to promoting and supporting a dual distribution strategy will prevail in this growing marketplace.’

ETF Investor Brandscape by Cogent studied 4,000 affluent Americans.