In the "new normal" that follows this recession, exchange-traded funds will be ideally positioned for a new world of lower expenses, lower returns and exposure to a wide variety of asset classes, experts say.

"Bring your standards down for what you expect," said Bill Gross, managing director and co-chief investment officer of Pacific Investment Management Co., at an online webinar titled "ETF Insights" last week. A return of 3.5% isn't a lot of money, he said, but it's better than the 0.01% that some money market funds are yielding.

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