September 2023


Tokenization is paving the way to ETF transformation

State Street’s Lou Maiuri and ETF industry pioneer Jonathan (Jono) Steinberg discuss key developments in the 30 years since the launch of the first US ETF ꟷ and how tokenization will lead the market’s transformation and growth during the next 30 years. 

Established in 2006, investment manager WisdomTree is well known for its ETF innovation, having launched smart beta ETFs in 2016, and introduced currency hedged ETFs to the market. Today the firm is leading the way on ETF tokenization, which Steinberg describes as “the wrapper of the future.”

Much as active ETFs gained traction over time as investors recognized the funds’ ability to generate alpha, Steinberg believes that blockchain-enabled finance and tokenization will help move local products such as GLD into global markets, enhancing functionality to where savings, investment and payments are seamless.

Celebrating 30 years of ETF innovation
2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the launch of the industry’s first US-listed exchange-traded fund. Co-created by State Street Global Advisors, the Standard & Poor’s Depositary Receipts ꟷ better known as the SPDR® S&P 500® ETF, or SPY ꟷ revolutionized index investing, liquidity, asset allocation, intermediary distribution, portfolio construction and overall market access.

Today, among the nearly 12,0001 ETFs in existence, SPY is the largest2, most liquid3 and most heavily traded4 ETF in the world. Our ETF@30 video series examines the past, present and future of ETFs ꟷ and their impact on the world’s financial markets and industries.

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