White Paper: Regulatory History Frames Current Issues for the ETF Industry


ACA Group and K&L Gates

Publish Date



  • Distribution

The first exchange-traded funds (ETFs) were novel and intriguing, while today, they are an integral - and increasingly impactful - part of the investment management industry. ETFs have evolved to touch the global retail and institutional markets and even the crypto industry.

The “ETF story” may be relatively brief compared to other investment vehicles, but, nonetheless, contains a variety of evolutions. In this paper, we summarize some of the key milestones in the last 30 years, such as the introduction of actively-managed and semi-transparent funds, as well as explore recent changes and future developments, such as those relating to funds offering exposure to spot bitcoin and ETF share classes. We also review the key themes of the “ETF story”, including the approach of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to approving the initial ETF and all modifications to that initial model. These themes are likely going to guide the continuing evolution of ETFs.

Download our white paper to learn about the journey of ETFs over the past 30 years and what we can expect to come for this investment vehicle.


How we help

ACA Foreside partners with over 200 ETF issuers across 975 ETFs to launch new funds or convert existing funds, including many of the most recognizable brands in the space. Our diverse and expansive client base, coupled with our strong industry partnerships, allows us the benefit of being on the front lines to discern developing trends and determine best practices for navigating the ETF space. 

Since our launch in 2005, we have been working with asset management firms throughout the world to facilitate compliance and product distribution through legal underwriting, registered rep licensing and chaperoning, and DTCC/NSCC fund sponsorship. We have experience working with all types of pooled investment vehicles such as traditional mutual funds, ETFs, alternative products, closed-end interval funds, and private placements.

If you would like to get in touch with one of our team today, we're ready to help. Start a conversation with us here.