Yes, folks, it has finally come to pass where I am now going to review a book which I haven't actually managed to complete reading every last word of before our editorial deadline loomed so large that, had it fallen on me, it would have left me seriously concussed.
However, I shall not remotely blame the 401 informative pages for my haste to ensure you can read this review. For, ladies and gentlemen, I would have felt as if I was harbouring a guilty secret had I maintained this tome on my desk and elegantly savoured its every last insight prior to reviewing it on these virtual pages next month. There are lots of books which maintain a façade of comprehensivity but tell us little. With the Exchange Traded Funds Manual, I am delighted to report that Gary Gastineau, a figure instrumental to their creation, lavishes detail on every layer of the ETF process. What's more, he does it with a style and smoothness which makes the process a wonderful read.
For those of you who have been living in a concrete bunker for the past few years and missed their appearance, ETFs are a truly marvelous thing. They manage to mix all the benefits of index tracking in a fashion which leaves them prone to arbitrage if they ever start to get ahead of or lag the performance of the market. In other words, the old problems of discounts (as with Investment Trusts for instance) are irrelevant here while the fees are usually ultra competitive compared with equivalent mutual funds. Likewise, the whole liquidity and transparency issue which goes with the exchange traded nature of ETFs makes them, as Gastineau himself so eloquently describes it "a favourite toy of that poster child of the financial market revolution: the on-line trader."
Gastineau's tome does the manual thing in that comprehensive fashion which makes it a pleasure to own - and if you have the remotest inclination to play the ETF game (from any angle) then own this tome you must. Indeed, where manuals end and encyclopedia's begin would be an interesting aside to discuss here, as this is veritably encyclopedic stuff. Within every chapter there are great sections with nuggets of information. The essay on "Single Stock Futures - Their Significance For Exchange Traded Funds" helps promote a sound, sensible, rational understanding of how complementary these products can be - with a few added insights of course. Indeed, as a whole chapter eight (which includes the SSF essay) is simply excellent throughout from its title: "Trading ETF Shares Without Angst" through to its answering questions such as "Does the Liquidity of Exchange-Traded Funds Encourage Excessive Trading?"
The remarkable issue about exchange traded funds is that they have already come a very long way but have truly exponential possibilities throughout the world. Even in a decade's time when ETFs are undoubtedly a basic component of every investor's portfolio, I would suspect it will be difficult to find a book better placed to explain the multiplicitous facets of the product than Gary L. Gastineau's Exchange Traded Funds Manual. If only every product could be covered in such a comprehensive fashion, the financial world would be an easier place to understand. There's no point saying any more, if you have any involvement in equity markets, you have got to read this book. And not only will you find it a very rewarding journey, you may even applaud me for subverting the rules of book reviewing in my haste to share with you my first impressions of this splendid tome. Right, now I'm off to complete chapter nine and the Appendices...
Our Rating: AAA
Patrick Young, erivativesreview.com
The book is a comprehensive look at the history and applications of the relatively new investment products that have attracted investors of all stripes. Gastineau covers every conceivable topic of interest that could arise for the investor or advisor interested in ETFs. The book is a practical guide on how to compare and use ETFs in a portfolio, focusing specifically on asset allocation, risk, and reward. Gastineau explains why ETFs are cheaper, more flexible, and more tax efficient than traditional open-end index funds. However, the book goes beyond the basics and gets into the strategy and tactics involved in building an ETF portfolio. Indexfunds.com
Gary Gastineau, a managing director at Nuveen Investments and the author of The Options Manual (1988), has now written what is perhaps the most detailed account in print of open-ended exchange-traded funds: how they work, what are their distinctive characteristics, who trades them (largely, specialists, market makers, and hedge funds), who owns them (largely, brokerage firms clearing and carrying the ETF shares for specialists, market makers, or hedge funds), and what are their advantages and disadvantages over other sorts of investment for various investors.
...Mr. Gastineau's manual is directed chiefly at investment advisers and financial planners as a reference volume, and it serves that purpose quite well. Advisers and planners, and of course their clients, face a bewildering variety of issues pertaining to these relatively new vehicles-issues of tax efficiency, risk management, trading costs and spreads, etc. In many offices, this book will be a welcome aid in sorting out all of that. (HedgeWorld.com)
"...Gary Gastineau...lavishes detail on every layer of the EFT process. What's more, he does it with a style and smoothness which makes the whole process a wonderful read...if only every product could be covered in such a comprehensive fashion, the financial world would be a much easier place to understand...you have got to read this book..." (erivativesreview.com 20 March 2002)