Before the advent of the ETF, there was no easy way to invest in the Nasdaq composite index. Even when ETFs first were released into the market in 1993, they were primarily for the institutional investor and known only as index shares.

After looking at the Nasdaq composite, John Jacobs, executive vice president of global information services at Nasdaq, and his team determined the Nasdaq-100 would be a more effective index for the first Nasdaq ETF, prompting the 1999 launch of the QQQ and creating a path for retail investors. The fund, also known as the Qs, has since grown to more than $40 billion in assets, and paved the way for the development of today’s ETF industry.

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