Episodes

  • When markets plummet like they have this year, investors want to grab onto something—anything—that isn’t in free-fall. High-dividend exchange-traded funds, with their exposures to the energy and utilities sectors, have emerged as a rare bright spot, or at least a less-dim one. They’ve seen $25 billion in inflows already, which is a record—one that could double by the end of the year. 

    On this episode, Eric and Joel speak with Todd Rosenbluth, head of research at VettaFi, and reporter Suzanne Woolley about a category of ETFs punching above their weight. They discuss some of the noteworthy ETFs, including $VYM, $DVY, $HDV, $DHS; analyze holdings and performances, and share how investors can dabble with these made-for-the-moment products.



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  • Investing in stock and bond markets during a boring, decade-long bull market is easy enough. It’s a little more difficult when everything is trending downward, inflation is at record highs and even Cardi B is tweeting about recession jitters. And yet, strong flows into exchange-traded funds and index funds show investors are very much willing to follow this wealth-creation strategy.

    Eric and Joel speak with Nick Maggiulli, chief operating officer at Ritholtz Wealth Management, about his new book, “Just Keep Buying.” They discuss saving versus investing, the importance of income-producing assets, international exposure, index investing and more.

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  • Unlike most declines, stocks and bonds have been sinking together so far this year. Rising inflation and a hawkish U.S. Federal Reserve are providing little comfort to investors. And yet ETFs continue to see massive flows.

    Eric and Joel speak with Gina Martin Adams, chief equity analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, as well as Jon Maier, chief investment officer of Global X ETFs, about the search for the bottom, the odds of a recession, Fed policy, trending ETFs, Twitter’s love of the word “capitulation” and more.

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  • BlackRock and Vanguard collectively own about 15% of every US company, but are they voting their shares in a way that aligns with investors in their funds? One new exchange-traded fund company, Strive Asset Management, says they aren’t, claiming they’ve gone against their fiduciary duty by becoming too “woke” and forming an “ideological cartel.” Now it has plans to offer alternatives.

    We talk to Vivek Ramaswamy and Anson Frericks, co-founders of Strive. They plan to launch ETFs similar to those of BlackRock and Vanguard, but promise to keep politics and ESG concerns out of their voting. They discuss criticisms of ESG investing, stakeholder vs. shareholder capitalism and what Ramaswamy calls “excellence capitalism.” They also talk about how Strive will compete against the two biggest asset managers on the planet, and its noteworthy backers—including Peter Theil and Bill Ackman.

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  • Three years ago, Bloomberg’s Eric Balchunas and Joel Weber went to Jack Bogle’s office in Malvern, Pennsylvania, and recorded an episode of Trillions. That chat helped inspire Balchunas’s new book, “The Bogle Effect,” about the Vanguard founder’s influence on investing and the financial industry. 

    On this episode of the podcast, Balchunas and Weber are joined by reporter Annie Massa to go over some of the bigger points Balchunas makes in his book. They go over why Vanguard’s ownership structure was the real innovation, and how the rise of passive investing is pushing active managers to get way more active. They also discuss the writing process and Balchunas’s motivation for publishing his second book. 

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  • This past year has reminded everyone why they’re called “emerging” markets. But it’s gone further this time, with investors questioning whether they even want to own anything in countries ruled by authoritarian governments, such as those in Russia and China. The conversation, in other words, has evolved. 

    On this week’s episode of Trillions, we recorded live from the Exchange conference in Miami with Perth Tolle, founder of Life + Liberty Indexes, Jeremy Schwartz, chief information officer of WisdomTree and Bloomberg reporter Katie Greifeld. Tolle and Schwartz have a friendly debate about whether China and Russia deserve a spot in a portfolio. We also discuss currency-hedged exchange-traded funds and life as a small ETF issuer.

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  • Nobody deserves the nickname Mr. ETF as much as Reggie Browne, principal of GTS and a renowned market maker. He's had an amazing behind-the-scenes vantage these past few decades because almost everyone launching a new ETF comes to ask for his blessing—and seek his seed capital. 

    This special episode of Trillions was recorded in front of a live audience as a Bloomberg New Voices event. Eric and his guest co-host, Scarlet Fu of Bloomberg Quicktake, interview Reggie about how ETFs are born, whether they need a rating system, the prospects of a bitcoin ETF, and why theme ETFs such as ARK have staying power. Started in 2018, Bloomberg New Voices began as an effort to increase female representation on Bloomberg TV and in Bloomberg News coverage; it's since expanded to include Black and Latinx executives. For more information, or to participate in the Bloomberg New Voices media training program, please visit www.bloomberg.com/newvoices.

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  • If ETFs were living creatures, they might be cockroaches—they can survive almost anything. And yet Russia's invasion of Ukraine has presented a rare test. The VanEck Russia ETF, or $RSX, has seen its trading halted; the product holds shares of Russian companies, many of them in the energy and financial sectors. Investors may end up recovering only a fraction of their exposures; retail traders who used options to short the ETF ahead of its mid-February nosedive may not be able to collect their winnings, either. Elsewhere in the world, the exchange-traded product $VXX went haywire recently, with Barclays temporarily suspending share issuance. What's happening here?

    On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel discuss these recent events with Dave Nadig of ETF Trends, and Katie Greifeld, ETF reporter with Bloomberg News and the co-host of ETF IQ on Bloomberg TV. They go over the unprecedented nature of RSX's circumstances and what it all means, and they explore why the best days of exchange-traded notes might be behind them. Eric also adds audio from his native habitat: the Philadelphia train station.

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  • One of the best-performing categories since the beginning of last year has been commodities. Everything from oil to wheat to palladium to gold is up, due in large part to inflation worries. But how much room is there left to run? And how big a portion should commodities make up of a portfolio? 

    We discuss these questions and more with Mike McGlone, commodities strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence. McGlone explains why higher prices in general tend to cure higher prices in commodities, the outlook for energy and the increasingly competitive relationship between gold and Bitcoin. 

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  • Everybody has a friend (or three) who's gone "full crypto." So Joel’s ears perked up when a friend from high school and college, Char Boger, told him about her interest not in Bitcoin — the more common refrain — so much as publicly traded Bitcoin-mining companies.

    On this episode, Eric and Joel venture into Bitcoin mining by welcoming Boger, a DIY investor and soccer mom, to the podcast as well as Ethan Vera, who’s the co-founder of both Luxor Mining and Viridi Funds, which launched the first Bitcoin mining ETF ($RIGZ) in 2021. The group discusses Bitcoin mining and Vera's ETF, with Boger providing the perspective of a passionate retail investor.

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  • It looks like the "easy money" days of the last two years may soon end as the Federal Reserve readies to raise interest rates and fight inflation. Markets are already off to a rocky start; monitoring ETF flows shows how assets are being repriced and how investors are repositioning their portfolios. But is this temporary or the beginning of a new regime? What's the 40,000-foot view for ETF investors? And how scary will this rollercoaster ride get?

    On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel speak with Carl Riccadonna, Bloomberg Intelligence's Chief Industry Economist, and Gina Martin Adams, Bloomberg Intelligence's Chief Equity Strategist, about the Fed's plans as well as what it means for the economy and the stock market. Plus, Eric reveals which ETF could be the next ARKK. 

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  • Everybody loves the 60/40 portfolio. And why not? It's worked really well for a long time, especially the past decade when both stocks (the 60) and bonds (the 40) went up. Yet investors fear the current inflationary environment could push both down. Enter “return stacking,” which attempts to solve this conundrum. Investors get the standard 60/40 allocation, only it’s leveraged in a way to add diversification and protection. (Oh, and by the way, that frees up a chunk of your portfolio for other exposures so you can have your cake and eat it, too….or at least that's what the backtest shows.) 

    On this episode, Eric and Joel speak with Corey Hoffstein, chief investment officer of Newfound Research, and Rodrigo Gordillo, president and portfolio manager of ReSolve Asset Management. Together, the two pioneered the concept with a widely-circulated research paper (which you can find at returnstacking.com) and an open-source model portfolio that allows anyone to implement the concept. The approach means higher fees than most ETF-based portfolios, but as the group discusses, inflation and rising rates mean investors might want to consider reconsidering their toolbox.

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  • What do copper miners, the metaverse and carbon credits all have in common? Absolutely nothing, except they are all tracked by ETFs that made Bloomberg Intelligence's 22 ETFs to Watch in '22 annual report. The report, which is published each December, features ETFs that the ETF research team is thinking about, obsessed with or taps into a big trend or theme. 

    On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel are joined by all of the analysts who contributed to the list, including Athanasios Psarafagis, James Seyffart, and Rebecca Sin. They debate and discuss the full list: BITO, VOTE, IGHG, GBTC, FRDM, CTRU, COPX, BITS, FOVL, SARK, BKLC, SPSB, C02, ARKK, META, DRIV, KWEB, TLT, VTI, USMV, MVPS and AVDV.

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  • It will be tough to beat this year for ETFs, which saw record flows of nearly one trillion dollars as well as 450 new launches. Meanwhile, the S&P 500 returned an absurd 26%. Can this all this carry on and be repeated in 2022? Or should we brace for a much tougher landscape? 

    Eric and Joel speak with Katie Greifeld of Bloomberg News and Todd Rosenbluth of CFRA about 2022 including flows, crypto, themes, mutual fund-to-ETF conversions—and yet another steak-dinner bet between Eric and Todd. 

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  • While the media — us included! — bestows a lot of attention on “shiny objects” in the investment world, almost all the real money goes to the massive firms such as BlackRock. The world’s largest asset manager is fast approaching $10 trillion assets under management, almost a third of which is in ETFs — many of them low-cost veterans.

    Eric and Joel speak with Salim Ramji, the head of BlackRock's global ETF business, about areas of growth for ETFs, the widening investor base, potential threats such as direct indexing, mutual fund-to-ETF conversions, and when a iShares crypto ETF is coming out (probably not soon).  

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  • The day that Mark Zuckerberg announced he was changing the name of Facebook to Meta Platforms, the Roundhill Ball Metaverse ETF ($META) found a new trajectory. Since then, the ETF—which holds companies such as Nvidia, Roblox, Unity, Microsoft, and, well, Meta—has seen assets grow 6-fold and volume jump 50-fold. Much like $HACK, which also benefited from being the right idea at the right time, META is fast on its way to becoming a billion-dollar ETF—mostly because of a big news event.

    Eric and Joel explore the metaverse—and the investing opportunities it could bring—with Matthew Ball, managing partner of EphyllionCo and the brain behind the ETF; Matt Kanterman, who covers gaming as a senior analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence; and Rebecca Sin, an ETF analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence. The group discusses how to think about the metaverse, what's at stake for companies, why investors are so excited, AR and VR applications, the size of the virtual economy, Robux vs crypto, and more.

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  • A new batch of ETFs seeks to appeal to right-leaning investors who want an alternative to "woke" Corporate America and ESG activism. While political-themed ETFs aren't a new idea, they've never really managed to attract meaningful assets. With Americans more polarized than ever before, could this be the moment that these ETFs actually find an audience?

    Eric and Joel speak with Bloomberg Businessweek national correspondent Joshua Green about his magazine story on 2ndVote Advisers, which will soon introduce a new fund to complement their existing offerings ($EGIS and $LYFE). They also discuss the infighting with the $MAGA ETF, the practical considerations of putting these funds into a portfolio, and why this version of conservative investing is so challenged. 

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  • The quest for a bitcoin ETF has lasted more than eight years. Countless filings have ended in rejection. Then, finally, it happened—the SEC allowed a bitcoin ETF to come to market, albeit one that tracks futures as opposed to holding bitcoin. The unlikely winner of this race? ProShares, whose ETF $BITO broke all kinds of records for a new launch. Valkyrie's version, $BTF, was also approved. 

    On this episode, Eric and Joel speak with ETF lawyer Jeremy Senderowicz of Vedder Price, Katie Greifeld of Bloomberg News, and James Seyffart of Bloomberg Intelligence about these developments. Their discussion includes how Greifeld's reporting moved the price of bitcoin, why the SEC allowed futures-backed products, who benefits from these investments, and what comes next.

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  • ETF strategists are professional investors who create model portfolios that financial advisers can bring to their retail clients. You can think of them almost like chefs — experts who know how to combine the right ingredients into recipes that, if everything goes as planned, can achieve a desired outcome.

    On this episode — a special episode that coincides with the debut of their new Bloomberg Quicktake show, “Trillions Presents: ETF Master Chefs” — Eric and Joel host ETF strategists Shana Sissel, CIO of Spotlight Asset Group, John Davi, founder of Astoria Portfolio Advisors, Tushar Yadava, Investment Strategist at BlackRock and Ben Lavine, CIO of 3D Asset Management Group. The group discusses the investing process, portfolio construction, and, of course, everybody’s favorite tickers.

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  • Exchange-traded funds have a special super power: tax efficiency. Investors pay taxes when they sell, but not when others in the fund sell. Yet that super power is suddenly in jeopardy. A recent bill proposed by Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore) would repeal a tiny section in the tax code that allows for ETF's in-kind creations and redemptions to be non-taxable events. 

    On this episode of Trillions, Eric and Joel invite Professor Jeffrey Colon of Fordham University, a tax expert who's critiqued ETFs before and influenced Wyden's bill, and Dave Nadig, director of research for ETF Trends, to discuss the proposal. Some chaos ensues. 

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