new york - Despite their growing popularity, exchange traded funds face substantial obstacles to continued growth, according to industry executives. Foremost among those obstacles are the heavy concentration of assets in a few products and the narrowness of their appeal, the lack of understanding of the products, the need for education and the high cost of entry into the market, according to executives who spoke at a conference on closed-end funds here last week sponsored by IBC USA Conferences of Westborough, Mass.

There have been four years of rapid growth of over 100 percent leading to 79 exchange-traded products with assets of over $56 billion, said Deborah Fuhr, vice president and global head of marketing for Opals and exchange-traded funds for Morgan Stanley & Co. International of London.

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