15 years since the first ETF hit Europe

While much has been made that today is the 15th anniversary of the first exchange-traded fund (ETF) launched on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), Deutsche Börse was the first European exchange to list such a product.

In both cases they were iShares products, owned at the time by Barclays, and now by BlackRock.

The year 2000 was characterised by fear that the Y2K bug would bring down civilization, but in fact turned out to be a year of great financial innovation.

The first products, launched on April 11 that year on the Deutsche Börse, offered exposure to European equities and were the iShares Stoxx Europe 50 Ucits ETF and the iShares Euro Stoxx 50 Ucits ETF.

They were followed by the LSE’s launch of the iShares Core FTSE 100 Ucits ETF launched in London on April 28 the same year.

A lot has changed over the years. As well as BlackRock now owning iShares, there are also a total of 45 providers offering 269 different exchange-traded products in Europe, which are listed in 22 countries.

The industry holds $494 billion (€454 billion) in assets and the original London-listed iShares FTSE 100 fund that is 15 years old today, has grown to become the largest UK equities ETF with £3.7 billion (€5.3 billion) in assets under management.

Rachel Lord, head of Europe, Middle East and Africa at iShares says: “ETFs domiciled in Europe continue to grow rapidly, despite recent economic and geopolitical uncertainties. In fact, the growth in uptake of ETFs here is far higher than the global average, and Europe is a major contributor to the shape and size of the global market.”

She says European ETFs will surpass $500 billion “any day now”, and are expected to be greater than $1 trillion by 2019 within a global market of $6 trillion.

©2015 funds europe

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