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Trillions

Money goes where it's treated best. That simple truth is a big reason why more and more money—trillions, in fact—flows into a powerful, low-cost tool that's quietly transformed investing in recent years. Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, let you invest in everything from the stock market to gold like never before. This biweekly podcast will demystify them—and delight you in the process.

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A Conversation With ETF Issuer Jan Van Eck

When you are an ETF issuer, you typically have some products doing well — and other ones doing less well. No better example of that than VanEck Vectors, an eclectic brand of ETFs that reflect the many phases of this year's wild ride. On this episode Trillions, Joel and Eric chat with the firm's CEO, Jan Van Eck, about the Fed's ETF plans, fallen-angel bonds, high-yield munis, video games, and the juxtaposition of offering both green and coal ETFs.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

23mins

16 Apr 2020

Rank #1

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The Jealousy List, ETF Edition

Covering ETFs this year was like trying to hit a constantly moving target. Businessweek's annual “Jealousy List” -- stories by other outlets that the magazine's staff wish they would've published -- inspired Eric and Joel to bring an ETF version of the idea to Trillions. On this episode, Katherine Greifeld, Claire Ballentine, and Yakob Petersseil of Bloomberg News, who specialize in covering ETFs, join them to discuss a few of the articles they wish they had written this year, about topics such as ETNs, volatility, target date funds, and concerns about index funds. Honorees include New York's Josh Barro; ETF Trends's Dave Nadig; WSJ's Akane Otani, Sebastian Pellejero and Chana Schoenberger; and Institutional Investor's Leanna Orr. Eric also highlights some of his favorites by his colleagues at Bloomberg News. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

33mins

24 Dec 2020

Rank #2

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Halftime Report: A Roundtable Discussion

The first six months of 2020 has felt more like five years, at least in ETF terms. So much has happened: the lockdown, the selloff, the rebound, the Fed, not to mention oil, airlines, ANTs, ESG, and day-trading on Robinhood. On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel invite the Bloomberg Intelligence team of analysts, including Athanasisos Psarofagis, James Seyffart and Morgan Barna, to discuss and debate all the big ETF topics from the first half, as well as themes to watch in the second half. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

32mins

25 Jun 2020

Rank #3

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Is Direct Indexing Coming for the ETF?

ETFs compete with just about everything, including mutual funds, options, derivatives, and even single security investing. Another competitor is direct indexing, which means investing in a customized portfolio directly -- bypassing the fund's "wrapper" altogether. On this week’s Trillions, Joel and Eric sit down with Brian Langstraat, the CEO of Parametric, the largest direct indexing provider. He explains what direct indexing is, who it's best for, what the benefits and drawbacks are, and why it isn’t really an “ETF killer,” as some have claimed. Morgan Barna of Bloomberg Intelligence joins the discussion as well.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

38mins

14 Nov 2019

Rank #4

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Hot Takes: The Outlook for ETFs in 2020

There’s rarely a dull moment covering ETFs. And this year, as well as the past decade, was no exception. The industry has solidified itself as the hottest destination for new cash, new firms and new ideas. On this last episode of the year for Trillions, Joel and Eric talk to Rachel Evans of Bloomberg News and Todd Rosenbluth of CFRA in a round table format getting their expert takes and outlooks on everything from flows, returns, issuers, launches, fees, active, ESG, themes, marketing and regulation. Eric and Todd also make a new bet!See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

44mins

26 Dec 2019

Rank #5

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Welcome to the World of VIX ETPs

Despite -99% returns, burning through billions, and the occasional controversy, exchange-traded products (ETPs) that track a volatility index called the VIX are flirting with record flows and volume this year thanks to a loyal audience of traders who love their jackpot potential. On this episode of Trillions, Greg King, who was behind some of the most popular products before founding Rex Shares, and Luke Kawa of Bloomberg News, who often writes about volatility, join Joel and Eric for the ultimate power-tool discussion. The group gives an overview of what investors need to know about the products, how they gained some infamy with the 2018 termination of XIV, and some developments to look out for.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

34mins

31 Oct 2019

Rank #6

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Biotech ETFs Vs. The Coronavirus

While much of the stock market has suffered over the past few weeks thanks to fear of the new coronavirus and its global economic fallout, there are a handful of stocks and exchange traded-funds that have managed to avoid damage, and even flourish.On this coronavirus-themed episode of Trillions, Bloomberg Intelligence Senior ETF Analyst Eric Balchunas and Bloomberg Businessweek Editor Joel Weber dive into the world of niche biotech ETFs.Joining them are Paul Yook and Ryan Cinalli of LifeSci Index Partners, who have launched Virtus LifeSci Biotech Product ETF and Virtus LifeSci Biotech Clinical Trials ETF, and are currently working on a third.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

25mins

5 Mar 2020

Rank #7

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Goldman's Hit ETF Looks Like the Future of Active Investing

In the ETF Terrordome, nothing comes easy for issuers -- even if your name is Goldman Sachs. The asset management arm of the storied Wall Street firm launched its first ETF five years ago. Investors have put about $20 billion into the funds to date, a decent start for a relative newcomer. Half those assets are in $GSLC, which was a true game-changer in the smart-beta category and may represent the future of active investing. On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel -- along with Katherine Greifeld of Bloomberg News -- interview Cole Feinberg, an ETF specialist with Goldman, about how the firm views the industry, where the team sees white space, what's behind GSLC's success, and how a project like $JUST comes together with Paul Tudor Jones. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

35mins

17 Sep 2020

Rank #8

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Disruption as an Investment Thesis

Cathie Wood, founder of ARK Invest, is a successful stock picker in the era of passive. Her actively managed ETFs, which focus entirely on disruptive themes, have overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to find success both in returns and flows. Her bold calls, high conviction and transparent approach has attracted fans and investors -- along with some haters. On this episode of Trillions, Cathie and Rachel Evans of Bloomberg News join Joel and Eric to discuss her approach to picking stocks, identifying disruptive companies and the importance of thinking outside the box. We also explore the risks of being in such a high conviction, high active share ETF. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

46mins

11 Jul 2019

Rank #9

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ETF Tank

The market for exchange-traded funds is getting nasty. Especially for new ETFs. Carving out a niche for one is becoming increasingly difficult. There are already more than 2,000 exchange-traded products out there and the market has started to feel saturated. Only about 1 percent of new ETF proposals actually ever make it to market. And of that 1 percent that do, 10 of them flop when they get there for every one that takes off. A great concept, a clever ticker symbol and a sharp pitch -- something that’s both clear and powerful -- are crucial. So too is lining up seed capital. An ETF’s chance of success increases markedly if it comes with some initial money behind it. So, given this trend in the market, we dedicated this episode of Trillions to a competition in the Bloomberg newsroom -- a Shark Tank-esque sort of showdown -- to see who could come up with the best pitch for a new ETF.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

52mins

4 Apr 2019

Rank #10

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Tell Us Something We Don’t Know About QQQ

If ETFs had a Mount Rushmore, QQQ (aka 'The Qs') would definitely be on it. This $72 billion legend of an ETF just turned 20 years old and is now the second most traded security in the world. But how much do investors really know about it?  On this week’s Trillions Carolina Wilson of Bloomberg News sets out to the Midwest with microphone in hand to talk to those who built the original index and the ETF as well as tracked its changes over the years. Her journey lead to some interesting discoveries as well as a trip to the Chicago zoo, where she actually got a lion to roar. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

22mins

16 May 2019

Rank #11

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Are Multi-Factor ETFs the New Active Mutual Fund?

Multi-factor ETFs are one of the fastest growing ETF categories. But what exactly do they do? Is the sum more than all the parts? Are they active or passive? These are the questions Bloomberg News' Annie Massa sought to answer at the recent Inside Smart-Beta conference. In this special field report for Trillions, Annie interviews analysts, advisors and issuers to get to the bottom of the multi-factor trend.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

29mins

5 Sep 2019

Rank #12

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The Heartbeat Trade

ETFs provide unique tax capabilities. And according to a recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek, some of those unique capabilities are being utilized to their fullest potential. While that might actually benefit the average investor, should society examine a deal this sweet more closely? Zach Mider and Rachel Evans of Bloomberg News join Joel and Eric to discuss their reporting, the nuances of heartbeat trades, and the controversy surrounding the article.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

26mins

18 Apr 2019

Rank #13

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The Secretive Committee Behind the S&P 500

Few organizations in finance are as mysterious as the committee that oversees the S&P 500 — a group that recently decided to exclude Tesla despite the company seeming to check all the required boxes. On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel — along with Katherine Greifeld of Bloomberg News — speak with David Blitzer, who headed the S&P index committee from 1995 until his retirement in 2019. They discuss the Tesla tantrum, why the identities of committee members aren’t public, how the group makes decisions, criticisms of passive indexing, and even the hypothetical path Eric would need to take to get a seat at the table.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

40mins

1 Oct 2020

Rank #14

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The Unsung Art of Managing the First (Almost) Trillion Dollar Fund

Most passive investors take for granted that their fund “tracks an index.” Well, that’s actually something of a feat because there’s so much more going on than meets the eye. And it’s all to effectively end up tied with the index. This job isn't automated, either. Rather, a team of people must work together, playing defense against hedge funds and corporate actions and also offense through securities lending and trading desk acumen. On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel — along with Annie Massa, a reporter with Bloomberg News — interview Vanguard’s Gerry O'Reilly. A portfolio manager overseeing many of Vanguard's biggest funds, including the $940 billion Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund, O’Reilly helped rebate more than $200 million to investors through this unsung art of passive portfolio management. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

39mins

20 Aug 2020

Rank #15

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Half of America Doesn't Own Stocks. Here’s Three Ways to Change That.

ETFs have democratized investing -- everything under the sun is available with the click of a button, and for cheap. Yet this really only applies to the half of the country with the ways, means and desire to invest. What about the other half? How do we get more of them benefiting from the markets?Joel and Eric speak with financial consultant Tyrone Ross, who's passionate about getting the "unbanked" more involved. Smartphones and services such as Cash App make his mission easier, he says, but it's still an ongoing challenge that requires what Ross calls the three Es: exposure, education and empowerment. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

32mins

9 Jan 2020

Rank #16

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The 2019 ETF Halftime Report

As the second quarter comes to a close, Trillions reflects on some of the interesting trends and takeaways that have emerged so far this year -- and also explores a few things that may yet come to pass. Joel and Eric are joined by Todd Rosenbluth, ETF analyst for CFRA, and Sarah Ponczek, an ETF and markets reporter for Bloomberg News and co-host of the new What Goes Up podcast. Topics discussed by the group include fixed-income ETFs, sectors, new launches, ESG, marijuana, the non-transparent active ETF model, Michigan sports, Tom Hanks, and Family Ties. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

33mins

27 Jun 2019

Rank #17

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Welcome to 2021 With Barry Ritholtz

It’s a new year, and maybe a new you. There’s also a completely new political landscape in Washington DC and probably another big round of stimulus money. What’s an investor to do? Talking to a financial advisor seems like a good first step.On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel are joined once again by Barry Ritholtz, CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, who’s fielding all kinds of questions from clients right now. They discuss the new administration, his economic outlook, plus his views on Tesla, Bitcoin, ARK, and more.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

38mins

21 Jan 2021

Rank #18

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Is ARK the New Janus Twenty?

Cathie Wood of ARK is not the first highly concentrated active manager to shoot the lights out for half a decade while sparking a stampede of flows into their funds. There have been many throughout history but perhaps the one that most echoes ARK today is the famous Janus Twenty Fund, which dominated the latter half of the '90s and early 2000s with very similar returns and flows to what ARK is experiencing, albeit one met with a 50% downturn when the Internet bubble burst. On this episode of Trillions, we speak to Scott Schoelzel, the former PM of the Janus Twenty during the fund's magical stretch from 1998 to 2007. Having lived through the ups and downs of cycles, he gives us his thoughts on the current situation with ARK, advice for the firm's investors as well as his takes on the state of active management, ETFs, the Fed and what he's up to these days living out on his farm in Colorado. See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

41mins

7 Jan 2021

Rank #19

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How to Invest in All These New Public Companies

A number of high-profile companies have gone public this year -- Lyft, Uber, Beyond Meat, Slack, and Zoom, to name just a few. Yet these new entrants into the public markets aren't included in major indexes at their launch, limiting most investors' exposure to the companies' early trading. While investors can always buy individual stocks, a few ETFs specialize in a catch-and-release strategy of buying companies that have recently listed and then holding them for only a few years -- and they have a history of outperforming their benchmarks. Gina Martin Adams of Bloomberg Intelligence and Carolina Wilson of Bloomberg News join Eric and Joel to discuss the recent flurry in IPO activity and what the holdings of these ETFs can bring to a portfolio.See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

29mins

25 Jul 2019

Rank #20