Index Investing & Smart Beta

This course is being finalised. Join the waiting list to be the first to attend Download brochure Join Waiting List

* Claim back your VAT
Find out more


Course Description

This is a new curriculum covering the indexing, ETF and “smart beta” markets, which are among the fastest growing markets in the world. 

Over the past two decades, trillions of investment dollars flowed into index-based vehicles, including thousands of ETFs and ETPs used by investors around the world. The explosion in breadth and depth is pushing the traditional definition of “index,” “indexing” and “ETF” into unchartered but important territory.

Any current conversation that includes those terms requires context and clarification, even among industry professionals. In many instances, explanations of rulemaking and methodologies, as well as detailed inspections of selection processes, stock screens and trading dynamics, are now the new normal.

The curriculum will provide participants with the intelligence and tools needed to navigate these markets.

What we’ll cover and how attendees will benefit:

  • Survey the origins of index-based investing and the underlying investment theory
  • Observe how indexes, including smart beta indexes, are created across asset classes
  • Identify critical differences among the growing array of available ETFs
  • Recognize how market structure within US and global equities, commodities, fixed income, and risk-based products impacts the economics of ETFinvestment opportunities in ETF Understand distinguishing elements of ETFs and their relationship to other capital market instruments. 
  • Analyze ETF trading mechanics and the definition of liquidity
  • Consider the relative performance between active and index-based (passive) investment vehicles.
  • Study the industry’s most recent developments and future direction


Venue to be confirmed

All our courses are held in 4 or 5 star city centre hotels. Further details will be sent on registration.

Related Courses



Do you have five or more people interested in attending this course? Do you want to tailor it to meet your company's exact requirements? If you'd like to do either of these, we can bring this course to your company's office. You could even save up to 50% on the cost of sending delegates to a public course.

To find out more about running this course in-house:

Our Tailored Learning Offering

If you want to run this course at a location convenient to you or if you want a completely customised learning solution, we can help.

We produce learning solutions that are completely unique to your business. We'll guide you through the whole process, from the initial consultancy to evaluating the success of the full learning experience. Our learning specialists ensure you get the maximum return on your training investment.


We can offer any of our public courses delivered at your office or we can devise completely tailored solutions:

Read more about our offering or complete a call back request to speak to a learning specialist.



Day 1

Course Introduction

  • Origins and early examples of indexes
  • Moving from simple market measurements to investment possibilities
  • Adopting an index-based approach to investing
  • Global demand coincides with advent of ETFs, a new investment vehicle
  • Comparing indexing with active asset management

US Equities

  • Defining the U.S. equity market
  • Early and recent developments in U.S. equity indexes
  • Comparing the leading U.S. equity index providers
  • Comparing the returns of different indexing approaches
  • Understanding the market for U.S equity ETFs

Global Equities

  • Defining the current global equity market
  • Early and recent developments in global equity indexes
  • Comparing the leading global equity index providers
  • Comparing the returns of different indexing approaches
  • Understanding the market for global equity ETFs

Case Study: Basics of index calculation

Building Indexes

  • Establishing an investment purpose
  • Component selection and weighting
  • Pricing and other data
  • Using screens in component selection
  • Weighting schemes make a difference
  • Mapping index components into an index value
  • Understanding an index methodology
  • Non-standard definitions of size, style and line of business
  • Sector and segmentation challenges
  • After the index is built ... Now what?

Building ETFs

  • History of ETF development and expansion
  • Depression-era securities laws and SEC requirements
  • Trust vs. fund structure
  • Basic construction, mechanics and operation
  • Creation/redemption units and their effects
  • Comparing ETFs and mutual funds
  • Exchange-traded notes: similarities and differences
  • How active ETFs and structured and operate
  • Current global AUM composition

Trading ETFs

  • Determining the price of an ETF
  • Understanding NAV
  • Premiums and discounts
  • Screen liquidity
  • Off-screen liquidity
  • Accessing the primary market
  • Trading non-equity ETFs

Case Study: Introduction to the ETF creation/redemption process


Day 2

Smart Beta

  • Defining (loosely) smart beta
  • Similarities and differences with factor-based investments, quant-based investments, and active management
  • Understanding the role of rules
  • Current global AUM composition

Case Study: Building a dividend index and the implications for ETF performance


  • Defining the commodities markets: cash, futures, equities
  • Commodities as a distinct asset class
  • Getting a handle on how futures markets work
  • Unique history and evolution of commodity index development
  • A major challenge for investors: the “roll”
  • Backwardation and contango
  • Analyzing the performances of different approaches
  • Understanding the market for commodity ETPs

Fixed Income

  • Defining the fixed-income market
  • Unique history and evolution of fixed-income indexes
  • Challenges: many varied securities, gathering data, achieving representation
  • Analyzing performance of different approaches
  • Comparing leading fixed-income index providers
  • Role of fixed-income indexes in an institutional portfolio
  • Understanding the market for fixed-income ETFs; more possibilities, yet few products
  • Next-generation product development

Case Study: Fixed income ETFs as institutional tool

Volatility, Risk, and Alternative Indexes

  • Defining and measuring risk
  • Is “risk” an asset class?
  • Volatility indexes, including VIX
  • Leveraged and inverse index ETFs
  • Hedge fund indexes are different
  • LIBOR and how it got into trouble

Business of Indexing & ETFs

  • Overview of primary and secondary index providers
  • Industry growth and trajectory
  • How index and ETF makers get paid
  • Is regulation an opportunity or a threat?


Why us

We have a combined experience of over 60 years providing learning solutions to the world’s major organisations and are privileged to have contributed to their success. We view our clients as partners and focus on understanding the needs of each organisation we work with to tailor learning solutions to specific requirements.

We are proud of our record of customer satisfaction. Here is why you should choose us to help you achieve your goals and accelerate your career:

  • Quality – our clients consistently rate our performance ‘excellent’ or ‘outstanding’. Our average overall score awarded to us by our clients is nine out of ten.
  • Track record – we have delivered training solutions for 95% of worlds’ top 100 banks and have trained over 250,000 professionals.
  • Knowledge – our 150 strong team of industry specialist trainers are world leading financial leaders and commentators, ensuring our knowledge base is second to none.
  • Reliability – if we promise it, we deliver it. We have delivered over 20,000 events both in person and online, using simultaneous translation to delegates from over 180 countries.
  • Recognition – we are accredited by the British Accreditation Council and the CPD Certification Service. In an independent review by Feefo we scored 96% on service and 95% on product