Something in the Air: AMEX Wasn’t Alone in Designing the First ETF

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Just as Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak weren’t the only two geeks in a garage working on a computer in the 1970s, the AMEX wasn’t the only exchange looking to get a market basket instrument listed. The late 1980s saw multiple attempts to create something like an ETF, including SuperShares, Equity Index Participation Shares, Cash Index Participation Shares and the Toronto 35 Index Participation Units. 

Ultimately, SPY gets – and deserves – the lion’s share of the credit as the first ETF. But by no means was AMEX alone in the race; they were just the winners. This episode looks at the race, the players involved and why their products became historical footnotes. 

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