Advisors are expected to up the exchange traded fund allocations in their clients’ portfolios in 2013, according to Cerulli's Exchange Traded Fund Markets 2013 report. The average allocation is expected to rise from 7.1% in 2011 to 7.8% in 2013.

Alec Papazian, associate director in Cerulli's asset management practice said: "This is notable because growth has been stagnant in previous years."

Papazian identifies several opportunities in the report for ETF providers to gather assets.

The first is institutional distribution. Cerulli finds that "broad institutional" ETF distribution will be available only for the largest ETF sponsors. The study's authors suggests that a well-managed ETF lineup at a smaller firm can attract interest from institutions that may want to use the firm's strategies , but in another vehicle.

The second is the active ETF space. Cerulli identifies three components for firms to succeed in this space: performance, distribution strategy and quality of the firm, the same factors responsible for the success of traditional mutual funds.

The third is product diversification. The study says that there are more domestic equity ETF products than any other type, leading to opportunity in other assets classes such as international equity and fixed-income.

Lastly, the study's authors mention distribution though ETF strategists or ETF Managed Portfolio providers is flourishing.