Influence of the growing ETF industry on active investor relations work26 Fundamentals of passive investments and ETFs Thematic ETFs Thematic ETFs focus on specific themes and trends particularly on potential market opportunities which are expected to be successful in the future Thereby thematic ETFs are not reduced to subsec tors but make selections according to structural or macroeconomic movements Graytok 2021 As at the end of December 2020 51bn were invested in thematic ETFs in Germany making up 9 of the total invested volume in stock ETFs Especially the health and technology sector as well as trends like eSports artificial intelligence AI and blockchain technology were popular investment topics The lat ter recorded a success mainly due to the generally growing demand of cryptocurrencies such as Bit coins or Litecoins Graytok 2021 Although returns of up to 50 in 2020 were achieved thematic ETFs usually have higher cost ratios and a return average below the one of classic indices such as the MSCI World Capital 2021 p 114 However the mapping of thematic investments can lead to valuation dis tortion for some individual illiquid small caps as small caps are often used disproportionately in theme vehicles Meyer and Urbahn 2021 p 4 Hedged ETFs leverage ETFs inverse ETFs Other variants of passive ETFs are for example hedged leverage or inverse ETFs Hedge fund ETFs aim to achieve a high return despite low costs and at the same time guarantee high liquidity by bringing together the advantages of hedge funds and ETFs Nevertheless many are restricted and less transparent than other ETF types Leveraged ETFs seek to benefit from the perfor mance of leverage rather than the tracked perfor mance of an index Deutsche Börse 2018 pp 29 Unlike conventional ETFs leveraged ETFs are a higher risk investment option but high returns can be generated Stevenson and Tuckwell 2019 p 83 With inverse ETFs investors can bet on falling prices The price movement of short ETFs is exactly opposite to that of the underlying index Eibl 2008 p 126 2 2 3 2 Smart beta ETFs and factor ETFs Most of the indices are weighted by quantitative criteria such as volume or market capitalization By using this method an index can be dominated by only a small number of companies Smart beta ETFs use different methods and replicate alterna tively weighted indices which are not weighted by market cap or price Stevenson and Tuckwell 2019 p 5 Smart beta ETFs contain both passive and active investment elements They either aim to outperform the market and thus to achieve an above market return or to replicate it with less risk which corresponds with the aims of active investments Riedl 2015 Hence smart beta ETFs replicate an underlying index and therefore come with the same advantages as passive ETFs this investment product can be counted as a subcat egory of ETFs The construction differs from the design of purely passive ETFs since smart beta ETFs use additional data for the selection of secu rities as well as for the weighting of the chosen index securities A replication of an index by using the plain vanilla method is not applied Bloch 2020 Beta indicates the volatility of an individ ual stock compared to the overall market Often a master tailored new index is generated to create a new smart beta ETF Once the selection process of finding and isolating factors to form an index is fulfilled the smart beta ETF tracks exactly the underlying index similar to a purely passive ETF Stevenson and Tuckwell 2019 pp 42 p 50 p 54 This data is sometimes hard to obtain Smart beta ETFs charge higher fees resulting from higher expenses caused by less automated investing processes compared to truly passive ETFs and less competition Even though smart beta ETFs have a higher cost ratio than classic ETFs the overall fees charged are still far below the one of active investment opportunities Riedl 2020a

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