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Panel: SEC Opening Door For Outsized ETF Growth

A proposal to ease the launch of exchange-traded funds that is before the Securities and Exchange Commission will help to propel growth in the industry

 The SEC has proposed that startups can receive exemptive relief to launch a lineup of ETFs rather than having to file individually for each ETF launch. Passage of the proposal would be "a landmark event" that would make it almost as easy to set up an ETF as it is to set up a mutual funds, said Richard Morris, deputy general counsel at WisdomTree Investments. He added that the move would encourage more advisors to consider ETFs and said, "It's time for mutual fund sponsors to think, are you comfortable with the [current] product line?"

Kathleen Cuocolo, managing director at Bank of New York, said ETFs are growing at a faster pace than mutual funds and will reach $1 trillion in assets under management next year. She said that while investors in ETFs had been overwhelmingly institutional, retail has been gaining and now represents 30% of ETF ownership.

Jack Gee, director of fund administration at Barclays Global Investors, said that the growth of the industry will cause ETF providers to think about how to react to more competition. 

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