Once set on becoming a dancer, Marie Chandoha's initiation into the finance world was an article about mortgage-backed securities sent to her by a friend. "I was fascinated," Chandoha recalls.
Her curiosity eventually led to a job as a mortgage-backed securities analyst on the floor at Morgan Stanley. "In no time, I was hooked," she says. "I moved to the asset management side of the business mid-way through my career to be closer to the end client and help investors achieve their financial goals."
That early fascination now guides her future outlook of the industry for mutual fund and ETF providers. The President and CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management, Chandoha voices concern about the proliferation of products, many of which she says have the potential to be too complex, expensive and ultimately detrimental.
According to the Investment Company Institute, 654 mutual funds opened in 2014, compared to 535 in 2004.
The growth in the more nascent ETF industry has clearly been a sharper increase. In 2014, there were a total of 1,411 ETFs, compared to just 152 in 2004.
Over the past year, Chandoha says she has focused her efforts on lowering costs of fund products, helping Schwab reduce the operating expense ratios on its market-cap ETFs by 0.07%. As a result, they offer the lowest operating expense ratios in their respective Lipper categories.
Chandoha predicts it's the low-cost ETF providers that will continue to be successful. She also thinks that multi-asset strategies and solutions like target date funds and other types of asset allocation strategies are going to continue to experience huge growth.