Standard & Poor's, the world's leading index provider, today announced that it has licensed 7 major European ETF sponsors, and is in discussion with others, to create and list Exchange Traded Funds based on the S&P 500, the premier gauge for U.S. stock market performance and the leading barometer of health for the financial markets.
The seven new S&P 500 ETFs are expected to list on exchanges in major European cities beginning today and throughout the month of May, and marks a significant milestone for Standard & Poor's and the European ETF industry as more investors in more markets will be able to trade the S&P 500 in real-time on their local exchanges.
Widely regarded as the best single gauge of the U.S. equity market since it was first introduced in 1957, the S&P 500 Index has over US$3.5 trillion benchmarked to it globally, with index assets comprising approximately US$1 trillion of this total. The Index includes 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy.
"There is strong, pent-up demand across all of Europe for access to U.S. market returns, as measured by the S&P 500," says Alex Matturri, Executive Managing Director at S&P Indices. "By licensing major ETF sponsors in strategic markets across Europe, Standard & Poor's is ensuring that investors of all types - from institutional to active traders to self-directed retail investors - will have direct access to the S&P 500 through as many distribution channels as possible via leading product sponsors."
"Demand has also been very strong across Europe for our other core indices, as this year alone, 15 ETFs throughout Europe have been launched based upon Standard & Poor's family of global indices," adds Matturri. "Our strategy is clear: provide greater access to more markets for more investors throughout the world."
The S&P 500 licensing agreements are part of Standard & Poor's aggressive push to provide expanded access to the U.S. equity markets for global investors, and comes on the heels of Standard & Poor's licensing of the National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) to create and list Indian Rupee-denominated futures contracts on the S&P 500. That groundbreaking licensing agreement, jointly from S&P and S&P-licensee Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) to NSE, is part of a landmark cross-listing arrangement announced by CME and NSE on March 10, 2010 that provides for CME and NSE to create and list new derivatives products based upon Indian and U.S. equity benchmark indices.