Myth-Busting: ETFs Are Eating the World

More like nibbling the world.

This research note was originally published by the CFA Institute’s Enterprising Investor blog. Here is the link.


  • ETFs are a negligible owner of US stocks
  • Primary and secondary ETF trading has not grown quicker than total stock trading
  • The impact of ETFs on stocks is less strong than frequently suggested


“Software is eating the world.” The venture capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote these words back in 2011. From today’s perspective, with companies like Alphabet, Microsoft, and Meta dominating the stock markets, Andreessen’s observation seems to have held up.

Had BlackRock CEO Larry Fink made similar comments about exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 11 years ago, he likewise would look prescient today.