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ETF Awards: Best, Worst and What to Watch in 2014

By Eric Balchunas - 2013-12-19T16:50:25Z

Photograph by Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

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Where the Action Is

Exchange-traded funds: They don’t clutch statuettes or thank spouses and agents without whom they would not be here. 

But the world of ETFs – which are essentially funds that trade like stocks -- got so much more colorful in 2013 that we decided to roll out the red carpet. 

Sure, the classic S&P 500 ETFs did great (shout-out to the Fed). But many narrower, previously unloved ETFs in niches ranging from clean energy to social media to frontier markets became wildly successful. 

The industry’s rapid pace of innovation is likely to continue in 2014, when the ETF spotlight should shift to new ways of investing in emerging markets and innovative approaches to active management. 

To come up with the awards, Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas weighed performance, inflows and a fund’s ability to get investors’ attention, or even capture their imagination. 

(Data compiled by Bloomberg from Dec. 31, 2012, to Dec. 16, 2013.)