London Stock Exchange celebrates the 15th anniversary of the first ETF listing in London

BlackRock opened market this morning to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the first ETF listed on the UK’s London Stock Exchange on 28 April 2000, the iShares Core FTSE 100 UCITS ETF.

Europe entered the year 2000 nervously; with fears the Y2K bug would damage systems dependent on global technology. But having sailed through this test it became a fertile year for innovation of many kinds, including in the European financial markets where the first exchange traded funds (ETFs) were launched.

There are now 2,269 different exchange traded products in Europe, listed in 22 countries across the continent by 45 different providers. The industry holds US$494 billion in assets and the original UK ETF, iShares Core FTSE 100 UCITS ETF, has grown to become the largest UK equities ETF with £3.7bn in assets under management. 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.

Rachel Lord, Head of EMEA iShares at BlackRock, commented:

“ETFs are one of the success stories of twenty-first century investing in Europe. In just 15 years, this financial market has grown from scratch into an industry on the cusp of US$500 billion, by providing levels of efficiency, transparency and value-for-money that have democratised investing for those across the continent.
 
“There have been many developments over this time, especially from funds tracking niche and alternative markets like commodities and real estate. Alongside ongoing innovation in areas such as smart beta, we believe investors will continue to turn to ETFs when choosing their core equity and bond market-weighted investments.
 
“We see growth coming from investors who have previously deployed capital using products traded over-the-counter - bonds and futures especially – who are turning to ETFs for the first time because of the liquidity and low costs. There is a clear trajectory ahead, and we’re welcoming new European investors to ETFs every day.”