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Schwab Study Finds 22% Rise In Demand For ETFs

Fourth graph, second sentence of release should read: Schwab ETFs™, including the new Schwab Fundamental Index* ETFs, had $14.2 billion in assets as of September 30, 2013. (sted Schwab ETFs™, including the new Schwab Fundamental Index* ETFs, had $114.2 billion in assets as of September 30, 2013.).

The corrected release reads:


Nearly One in Ten Investors Now Hold at Least 50 Percent of their Portfolios in ETFs

For a growing number of investors, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are being embraced as a mainstay of a diversified portfolio. According to the 2013 ETF Investor Study by Charles Schwab, half of respondents plan to increase their ETF holdings over the next year – a 22 percent increase over those who said the same in 2012. Nearly one in ten investors (nine percent) now hold 50 percent or more of their portfolios in ETFs, more than double the four percent seen last year. Cost and fees continue to be critical factors when making ETF buying decisions, but topping expense ratios and trade commissions is the concern among investors that ETFs could contain hidden fees.

“Demand is up across the board, and investors who own ETFs appear to be more interested in the product than ever,” said Beth Flynn, vice president of ETF platform management at Charles Schwab. “We’re seeing less discussion of ‘if’ and more about ‘how’ investors will buy and use ETFs. We’re seeing an upward shift in sophistication among ETF investors, and a hunger to learn more.”

The 2013 ETF Investor Study by Charles Schwab is an online survey of more than 1,000 individual investors between the ages of 25-75 with at least $25,000 in investable assets and who have purchased ETFs in the past two years and/or are considering purchasing ETFs in the next two years. Similar surveys were conducted in 2012 and 2011, and certain questions were repeated in 2013 for benchmark purposes.

A leader in the retail ETF market, Charles Schwab had $179.3 billion in ETFs custodied on its platform as of September 30, 2013. Schwab ETFs™, including the new Schwab Fundamental Index* ETFs, had $14.2 billion in assets as of September 30, 2013.

Investors Prefer Transparency, Eager for Education

According to the study, investors have a strong reaction to lack of transparency when it comes to cost: 94 percent say understanding an ETF’s total cost is important. Interestingly, clarity about a fund’s redemption fees or other hidden fees is considered the #1 cost factor, with 71 percent saying it is extremely important. This ranks ahead of expense ratios at 61 percent and trade commissions at 54 percent.

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