The inaugural Exchange: An ETF Experience conference in Miami Beach, Florida, last week drew a gathering of ETF sponsors, advisors and service providers not seen since before the pandemic. The conference halls, marketplace and after-hours discussions were humming with product innovation, future collaborations and debates about digital assets, inflation and geopolitical events.

Nine Gregory FCA team members joined 14 clients on-site, reuniting and making new connections with peers, journalists and industry friends (see video below). A lot has changed since we last met in-person as an ETF community, but what hasn’t is the drive to innovate and create more efficient, accessible and profitable products for investors. Over the course of the four-day conference, a few important themes stood out: 

Crypto isn’t going anywhere. While digital assets had a strong presence at Exchange, the 25,000 attendees at Bitcoin 2022 in Miami Beach the previous week reinforced the massive interest and rapid growth of the decentralized financial market. At Exchange, conference organizer Matt Hougan played a recurring role throughout the programming. Along with crypto pioneers such as Michael Saylor and Michael Sonnenshein, he shared insights on the next phase of growth for crypto, Web3 and the macro case for bitcoin.

Active and passive. During a breakfast panel, Hougan, Cathie Wood of ARK Invest, Dave Gedeon of Bloomberg and Eric Balchunas of Bloomberg Intelligence all arrived at a similar conclusion that passive management has made active managers better. Active and passive management have found a way to coexist across themes such as ESG, crypto and quantitative strategies.

Expect the unexpected. The past two years have proven you can’t predict what’s around the next corner, whether it’s a global pandemic or geopolitical conflict overseas. Investors are seeking solutions that will help them navigate this era of heightened uncertainty, and leading market strategists Richard Bernstein, Cameron Dawson and Shannon Saccocia were just a few thought leaders who shared their insightful perspectives.