The 20th anniversary is fast approaching of the launch by State Street Global Advisors in 1993 of the first investment fund that could be traded throughout the day like a stock.

Today, $1.3 trillion in assets are held in more than 1,455 exchange-traded funds and other exchange-traded products. That is still dwarfed by mutual funds, which hold roughly 10 times as much. However, ETFs are on pace to set another record with $135.2 billion in net inflows so far this year, according to the ETF Industry Association.

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