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Legal & General enters ETF market with Canvas platform deal

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Legal & General enters ETF market with Canvas platform deal

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By Lawrence White and Simon Jessop LONDON (Reuters) - Legal & General <LGEN.L>, is entering the exchange traded fund (ETF) market by buying Europe-focused platform Canvas along with $2.7 billion (2.05 billion pounds) in assets from ETF Securities Limited. The deal comes amid growing demand from fee-conscious investors to buy cheaper index-tracking products, and follows recent moves from rivals including Invesco, Vanguard and Wisdomtree to expand operations. Vanguard, one of the world's biggest providers, has said continental Europe will be a key growth market in the future, fuelled in part by new regulations aiming to remove inducements for financial advisers to push higher-cost funds. Unlike straight index funds, ETFs are classed as an equity and traded on a stock exchange, making it easier for investors to buy and sell. Already the UK's largest asset manager with around $1.2 trillion in assets, Legal and General's fund arm currently runs around a third of that in index-funds, although none are ETFs. The deal for the UK and Ireland-based Canvas platform will help it break into the booming European ETF market via the 14 countries in which it is licensed for distribution. Legal & General did not disclose a value for the deal. "The ETF market is one of the fastest growing segments in asset management," said Mark Zinkula, CEO of Legal and General Investment Management, in a statement on Wednesday. "A number of long-term macro trends, including the increasing use of passive vehicles and the drive to digitalisation, will lead to a growing demand for ETF products." Investors have increasingly put their money into exchange-traded products and funds in recent years, with the global market reaching a record $4.6 trillion at the end of October. While European ETF assets are just a small slice of that, at around 550 billion euros, Morningstar data to end-2016 showed, the pace of growth is higher. (Editing by Mark Potter)
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