Over the past 6 years Amsterdam has been the scene for the yearly Inside ETFs Europe conference. I've been part of the ETF industry for the past 9 years and I've seen many conferences come and go. Certainly in the early days when ETFs were relatively new, conferences were being organised every 2 months or so.
Inside ETFs has survived this overkill simply by raising the bar in terms of quality. Almost all key players attend and from a content point of view the conference does its best to present a wide variety of topics. The novice in ETFs will certainly find all the info that is needed. The conference presents an excellent opportunity to do some networking and to catch up.
The presentations of Jeremy Siegel, Robert Arnott and Pippa Malmgren were excellent. Why? They presented an alternative way of looking at the industry and the world.
So all is good? Not 100%. For the more experienced professional the conference should sometimes go a step further. There are enough topics out there that relate to ETFs and asset management that allow for a more dynamic conversation. Example: a yearly returning session is "The future of ETFs in Europe". The panellists do not really enter into a debate or make statements that make you wonder. Instead, panellists answer to questions that have been agreed before. My advice? Stop this and start a real debate. Contributors & sponsors should be ready to answer to real questions instead of making general statements. With some small changes the sessions can become more dynamic and interesting.
So you might wonder: was the conference any good? Yes! ETFs are here to stay and the conference does an excellent job in educating people. I would advise anybody interested in ETFs to go.
You can info about the conference here. Also, make sure to check out ETF.com on a regular basis. The site provides useful info and good articles.