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Pippa Russell, Russell Communications

Putting ETFs in their best light


Russell Communications | Best European PR firm for ETFs – Q&A with Pippa Russell, founder of Russell Communications.

Russell Communications | Best European PR firm for ETFs – Q&A with Pippa Russell, founder of Russell Communications.

Why do you think you won this award?

I am excited and honoured to have won this fantastic award and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who voted for us

I have worked in PR and communications for over 20 years and set up my own consultancy Russell Communications last year. I have always been very active in the ETF space and currently work with a large US ETF provider. I have considerable experience of working with ETFs, having worked in the past for a business that promoted ETFs from day one, I also had the opportunity to work closely with their in-house DFM manager, Copia Capital Management, who at the time, worked almost exclusively with ETFs.

I have spoken at and actively taken part in a number of industry conferences and events, many of which highlighted and brought to the fore a number of common misconceptions around the use of ETFs. Namely that ETFs are passive instruments and can be “risky” investment vehicles, none of which, as we know, are in any way accurate descriptions for what is essentially an extremely efficient and effective product wrapper.

The issues of managing ETFs on platforms is also an area I have been very active in. Up until quite recently many platforms were unable to effectively manage ETFs, this created issues for many DFMs and advisers wishing to run their own models on platform as they were pushed down to the “lowest common denominator” when it came to platform selection. I worked closely with DFMs, ETF providers and platforms in this space so was able to see first-hand some of the issues they were facing.

Finally, I am genuinely a passionate believer in ETFs. My personal money is invested in ETFs, so I am a big believer in what they can offer!

What trends have you seen over the past year?

The big trends I have noticed from speaking with ETF providers has been the rise in active and thematic ETFs, especially in areas such as cybersecurity. I think the growing interest in ESG will also continue, as will a rise in demand for safe haven funds. With the impact of the pandemic and the situation with Russia and the Ukraine creating volatile markets, people are looking for safe haven opportunities.

Recently we have also seen a big increase in the prominence of crypto funds. This is not something I have been much involved with to date, but, undoubtedly, we are seeing more and more of these coming into the market.

Where do you see the ETF industry going in terms of products over the coming year?

I think the trend away from traditional mutual funds and into ETFs is real and keeps rolling on. People are increasingly understanding the huge benefits that ETFs offer, namely their granularity, transparency, and cost-effective nature. Their ability to offer precise, specific, targeted investment opportunities, makes them a very useful as asset allocation tools which can work well for DFMs and wealth managers building and managing portfolios for their clients.

In terms of products, again it is the trends that we have already talked about. I believe the growth will be similar to what we have seen in the past year as volatile markets push investors to consider safe haven opportunities, with active management and thematics such as cybersecurity also high on the list.


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