The European ETF Market: What can be done better?

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Growing demand in recent years for low-cost, easily tradeable, liquid and transparent investment products, resulted in the global expansion of the Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) industry. Since 2007, global assets under management in ETFs skyrocketed from €0.8 trillion to €4.7 trillion – the market climbed 37% just in 2017. However, and despite the fact that US and European markets have each grown at a yearly average rate of approximately 18%, the latter represents only 16% of the global market. 

The lag in the European ETF market demonstrates that: i) it is highly fragmented with multiple listings across many exchanges, ii) Europe’s capital markets have not been successful in attracting retail investors, iii) more on-exchange ETF trading is necessary, and iv) regulation and innovation can further develop and harmonise the market to move it towards more transparency and cost-efficiency.  

Apostolos Thomadakis, PhD, is Researcher at the European Capital Markets Institute (ECMI).