Nate Most, who is credited with inventing the first exchange-traded fund, died at his home in San Francisco on Dec. 3. He was 90 years old, IndexUniverse.com reports. The last years of Most's life were packed with business trips to meet with associates in New York and Asia. He is remembered by colleagues as a gentleman with sharp mind and insatiable appetite for intellectual discourse. During the last 20 years of his life, Most helped pioneer the burgeoning $260 billion global ETF industry by drawing on years of experience as a commodities trader and mutual fund authority. His signature creation, the Standard & Poor's -500 Depositary Receipts, formally known as SPDRs, or Spiders, launched in early 1993 as a collaborative effort between the American Stock Exchange and State Street Global Advisors.
In the ensuing years, Most became a dedicated ambassador for ETFs who traveled the world to tell his story. Before entering the financial services industry, Most, a physicist by training, served in the United States Navy as an acoustics expert specializing in submarine technology. Some missions during the war involved dangerous trips in close proximity to Japanese submarines. After completing his military service Most traveled extensively throughout Asia marketing acoustical technology and later went to work at the Pacific Commodities Exchange. After the ETF industry blossomed years later, Most became chairman of the board at Barclays Global Investors' iShares Trust.