As we continue to walk through the story of the empowered investor, we’re excited to share the insights from our today’s guest, financial expert and exchange-traded fund (ETF) pioneer, Gerry Rocchi.

In the last few shows, we’ve taken a deep dive into why we’re such big fans of ETFs and we’ve spoken a lot about ETFs as accessible investment vehicles that give investors access to a diversified pool of investing at an affordable price.

Gerry is a retired senior executive and corporate director with experience in investment management, environmental finance and financial regulation and corporate governance. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Barclays Global Investors, Canada (BGI) from 1997 to 2005, which later became BlackRock. Gerry was instrumental in the ETF industry progression because, alongside his team, he developed the whole iShares ETF product line and launched the world’s first bond ETF.

In this episode, Gerry, Ruben, and I talk about how ETFs came to be and how they developed into the revolutionary place they currently hold in the investment world. We discuss Gerry’s role in the indexing revolution, the challenges and obstacles Gerry and his team had to overcome to realize their vision for ETFs, how ETFs a part of Gerry’s mission for changing the investing world for good, and so much more!

Key Topics:

  • Gerry’s role as a pioneer in the ETF industry (1:10)
  • How Gerry started in investment management (6:57)
  • Transitioning to the sell-side of the industry after 16 years (7:59)
  • The 1990s vision for ETFs as a mutual fund alternative for BGI (10:05)
  • BGI’s short-term objectives for ETFs (11:03)
  • How participation units operated before ETFs were introduced (12:05)
  • Why it was important for BGI to make each index provider successful (13:22)
  • The obstacles on the road to the first bond index ETF (14:51)
  • Developing on-the-run bonds (18:32)
  • The biggest challenges BGI faced when trying to build up ETFs as a retail franchise (20:10)
  • A mission to do good in the world of investing (21:56)
  • Gerry’s big dream for ETFs (23:02)
  • Early ETF roadshows for a wide cross-section of investors (24:24)
  • Why I was excited to attend those early ETF roadshows (25:50)
  • The tipping point for investor acceptance in Canada and the US (26:50)
  • How ETFs have proven skeptics wrong (28:51)
  • Why ETF adoption has been slower in Canada versus the US (32:10)
  • Why Gerry sees the ETF explosion as a revolution (34:30)
  • The future of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ETFs (37:00)
  • Anticipated evolution in the ETF market over the next five to ten years (39:29)
  • Why you need to know about decumulation strategies (41:05)
  • Gerry’s current projects (43:02)
  • How Gerry defines success (46:35)
  • And much more!

Mentioned in this Episode:

Thanks for Listening!

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Keith Matthews

Partner & Portfolio Manager

Ruben Antoine

Portfolio Manager