Asset Management Awards for Excellence 2019 – Best Fund Provider – ETF

Best Fund Provider ETF


iShares by BlackRock


Geir Espeskog

managing director, head of iShares Asia Pacific distribution, BlackRock

“iShares offers the greatest breadth of ETF products to private banks in Asia, allowing us to cater to a broad range of client needs as they aspire to build low-cost, efficient investment portfolios.

We believe our consistent approach to ETF training and education in the region sets us apart from other ETF providers. In addition, value-add services such as ETF trading advice, risk analysis, and portfolio construction expertise allow us to have value-add discussions with our clients, as opposed to conversations that are purely based on our product offering.

We have witnessed the evolution of how our clients use ETFs. Not only have users become more sophisticated, but they are now also accustomed to using ETFs to build their business models where asset allocation plays an integral part in generating alpha in both DPM and fee-based advisory. As such, iShares is working closely with our clients in the region to help them realise the true potential of ETFs so they can use ETFs as building blocks when constructing robust asset allocation solutions.

We look forward to helping our clients evolve their investment offerings in 2019, whether that be through sustainable investing, factor investing, or the application of model portfolios.”

Winners rationale

iShares by BlackRock, a major driver — and benefactor — of the exponential growth in the Asia market for ETFs over the past decade continued to assert its dominance in the index investing space as private banks emphasise portfolio diversification and lower management fees.

During the first three quarters of 2018, iShares’ ETF products attracted healthy net inflows of approximately US$814 million from private banks in the region, an almost 24% year-on-year increase. Currently, iShares’ specialised ETF strategies, including both fixed income and smart beta, rank among the top ten holdings for its Asian private bank clients, having grown in popularity since 2016 when the majority of client holdings comprised cap-weighted equities1.

Demonstrating the viability of fixed income ETFs in providing efficient exposure via single trades in an asset class where liquidity tends to be elusive, iShares posted an uptick in the penetration rate within their private bank clients’ portfolios, from 10% at the beginning of 2016 to 19% as at June 20182.

iShares has also witnessed recent inflows to floating rate exposures as investors brace themselves amid a rising rate environment. Likewise, on the smart beta front, iShares has enjoyed a strong uptake as private banks increasingly take a shine to utilising ETFs for asset allocation purposes in recognition of their feasibility in helping mitigate risk, or to target specific outcomes for investors.

To keep abreast of evolving client needs, markets, and regulations, iShares has in place a dedicated distribution team addressing the unique investment needs of the private banking and wealth management audience. The team offers customised training based on clients’ existing ETF knowledge and investment needs, wider proprietary educational programmes, as well as thought leadership and market outlook materials, amongst other initiatives.

With its robust product performance and a client-centric approach to delivering up-to-date and relevant solutions, it comes as no surprise that iShares by BlackRock is, once again, Asian Private Banker’s Best Fund Provider – ETF.

1. Source: BlackRock; data as of 16 November 2018.
2. Source: BlackRock; data as of 16 November 2018.

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