There are two contributions to the ETF industry that Lynn S. Blake takes pride in claiming.
One effort is her involvement at State Street Global Advisors with a group known as the Diversity Council. Its goal is to achieve better diversity at the firm through hiring, retention and advancement, as well as eliminating unconscious biases when it comes to career development and promotions.
"I mentor five women at SSGA and foster discussions on leadership development, networking and having a strong voice, but I also try to bring men into the conversation because they still represent upwards of 90% of the industry at the C-suite level and therefore their buy-in and support is critical," says Blake, SSGA's executive vice president and chief investment officer of global equity beta solutions.
Her other achievement this year is producing new ETFs focused on smart beta strategies.
Since May 2014, Blake has helped SSGA to launch 13 of them. Its most recent offering in April was a core U.S. equity exposure. Advisors have taken to the funds, but her main distribution channel has been through institutional investors.
Towers Watson's institutional investment clients globally allocated over $8 billion to smart beta strategies during 2014, bringing the total exposure to around $40 billion. At the end of 2013 its clients had a $32 billion exposure to smart beta.
Blake has seen a similarly sharp pickup in these products. During the past several years, she says SSGA has seen its smart beta strategies business increase by around 25%.
Blake oversees a team of 60 portfolio managers globally, and more than 1,800 portfolios with assets in excess of $1.5 trillion across all equity index and advanced beta strategies.
"To be profitable and minimize operational risk, my team and I are always working to review our processes and incorporate new technology to be more efficient and meet our client's expectations," Blake says.