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November 17, 2018 | Passive Investing Madness: 50,000 Stocks vs 3.7 Million Indexes

Mike 'Mish' Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.
There are 3.7 million ways you buy stocks and bonds without owning a single issue outright.

Bloomberg reports there were 438,000 New Indexes Created Over the Last Year.

Benchmarking giants like S&P Global Inc., MSCI Inc. and the London Stock Exchange Group Plc’s FTSE Russell created 438,000 new indexes over the 12 months through June 30, according to a study from the Index Industry Association. Gauges tracking bonds and companies that address environmental, social and governance issues helped fuel the rise.

There are now more than 3.7 million benchmarks globally, the survey showed. That dwarfs the roughly 50,000 stocks that trade on exchanges around the world.

Index providers generate billions in fees by licensing their benchmarks to providers of passive investment vehicles like exchange-traded funds. S&P, MSCI and FTSE together took in more than $2 billion in revenue last year despite issuers taking fees on many indexed funds down toward zero. Licensing more benchmarks, which typically is an asset-based payment, helps offset the lower charges.

I would be curious to know how many indexes hold the FANGs: Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix.

Passive investors think they are diversified. That’s doubtful. More importantly, it will not matter in another big decline.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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November 17th, 2018

Posted In: Mish Talk

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