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NYSE Is Losing ETF Listings To Nasdaq & BATS As Competition Heats Up

The king of ETF listings is losing ground to its two main rivals, with the NYSE set to post negative year-over-year ETF listing growth for the first time in at least five years.

Over 30 ETFs defected from the NYSE this month alone, in fact, heading instead to the Nasdaq and BATS exchanges. The most high-profile of these migrations were the 27 PowerShares funds that Nasdaq lured away.

Nasdaq and BATS still have a long way to go to catch NYSE, but the trend should be alarming to its owner, Intercontinental Exchange Inc (NYSE:ICE). From the Wall Street Journal:

While NYSE Arca is still the industry leader, with 1,543 listings and $2.3 trillion in assets, the competition is intensifying following high-profile market failures last year and the departure of some of NYSE’s top ETF talent.

The reasons for the departures are very simple: money and exposure:

NYSE’s competitors have made inroads by offering cheaper or fee-free listings along with other sweeteners, like advertising on Nasdaq’s huge electronic billboards in Times Square. Bats even pays incentives to issuers if certain targets are met. While they have successfully attracted listings, they have a combined $200 billion in exchange-traded assets, just a fraction of NYSE’s.

Volume is also a huge factor, with Nasdaq and BATS taking on massive ETF trading volume. Additionally, many ETF issuers want to diversify their listings, spreading them out across the three major exchanges. BlackRock cited exchange diversification as a key factor in its decision back in January to move 11 of its ETFs to Nasdaq and BATS.

Just like the ETF fee war going on right now between issuers, this new listing war probably won’t end anytime soon. The ultimate result will generally be good for investors and money managers, who are bound to see the trend of lower fees continue in earnest.

Intercontinental Exchange Inc (NYSE:ICE) was trading at $57.28 per share on Wednesday morning, up $0.46 (+0.81%). Year-to-date, ICE has risen 11.77%, versus a 12.29% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

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