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Mackenzie Investments Study Marks 30th Anniversary of World’s First ETF

Majority of Canadian retail investors plan to add ETFs to their portfolios within two years

TORONTO, ON – March 5, 2020 – To mark the 30th anniversary of the first Exchange Traded Fund (ETF)  listing in Canada, Mackenzie Investments today released the results of a study that shows a majority of Canadian investors (56 per cent) plan to either expand their ETF holdings or include them for the first time within their investment portfolios in the next two years.  Further, the study also found that most Canadian investors (61 per cent) prefer to purchase ETFs from Canadian providers.

The first-ever ETF (known as ‘Toronto Index Participation Fund’) initially tracked the TSE 35 index and started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on March 9th, 1990.  According to the Canadian ETF Association (CETFA) there are currently more than 760 ETFs listed in Canada, which account for CDN $211 billion in assets under management (AUM) as of January 31, 2020.

The study, which was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, revealed that this number will steadily increase given that:

  • 86 per cent of retail investors who currently have ETFs in their portfolios stated they will be increasing their holdings in the next two years; and
  • 52 per cent who do not yet own any ETFs reported they plan to start investing in them.

When asked what they thought were the biggest benefits of ETFs, 62 per cent identified low fees, 62 per cent diversification opportunities, and 59 per cent strong liquidity potential.

The study also found that there exist significant opportunities for Canada’s asset managers and financial advisors to further educate investors about the potential of ETFs, with 76 per cent of respondents feeling that retail investors would benefit from more information and resources on this investment fund category.

 “Canadians should take great pride in the fact that our country played a pioneering role in the development of ETFs,” said Michael Cooke, SVP & Head of ETFs, Mackenzie Investments. “The more retail investors  know about ETFs, the more likely they are to invest in them. Thirty-years is not a long time for an investment fund category to be around so there’s a huge opportunity for advisors to educate and inform their clients about ETFs and to consider integrating them into portfolios to enhance returns.”

Canadian Investors Tend to Prefer Local ETF Providers

Interestingly, the study found that 61 per cent of retail investors would prefer to buy their ETFs from a Canadian-based provider, believing local firms are more focused on Canadian investor needs and also citing the stability of the Canadian financial system.

“There are advantages to buying Canadian domiciled ETFs, including potential tax efficiencies and the ability of the provider to anticipate and respond to the often-unique needs of local investors,” said Barry McInerney, President & CEO, Mackenzie Investments.

Mr. McInerney noted that Mackenzie leverages its global presence and expertise to develop and engineer ETFs that are domiciled in Canada and that are specifically designed for the Canadian investor.  Mackenzie’s comprehensive suite of 30 ETFs span active, strategic beta and index solutions and has grown to more than $5.7 billion in AUM in less than four years. 

“Our ETFs are made for Canadians, by Canadians.  Mackenzie’s success in becoming one of the country’s leading ETF providers in such a short period of time can be attributed to our strategic approach that considers macro outlooks, total cost of ownership, product differentiation and design.”

About Mackenzie Investments

Mackenzie Investments was founded in 1967 and is a leading investment management firm providing investment advisory and related services. With $141.2 billion in assets under management as of January 31, 2020, Mackenzie Investments distributes its investment services through multiple distribution channels to both retail and institutional investors. Mackenzie Investments is a member of the IGM Financial Inc. (TSX: IGM) group of companies. IGM Financial is one of Canada’s premier financial services companies with approximately $168.9 billion in total assets under management as of January 31, 2020. For more information, visit


About the Pollara Survey

This study was conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights with an online sample of 1,500 adult Canadians and was conducted between February 14th and 20th, 2020.  Results from a probability sample of this size could be considered accurate to within ±2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 


For further information, please contact:

Rebecca Ellison
Mackenzie Investments