IT IS a victory for the humble—for the investment equivalent of a puttering hatchback over a gleaming Porsche. The exchange-traded-fund (ETF) industry is now bigger than the more established business of hedge funds. Assets in the global ETF industry were $2.971 trillion at the end of June, according to ETFGI, a research firm, $2 billion ahead of the hedgies’ $2.969 trillion, as calculated by Hedge Fund Research (see chart 1). In 1999 the ETF industry was less than a tenth the size of its ritzier rival.
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