According to Gary Gastineau, author of “The Exchange-Traded Funds Manual,” the first real attempt at something like an ETF was the launch of Index Participation Shares for the S&P 500 in 1989. Unfortunately, while there was quite a bit of investor interest, a federal court in Chicago ruled that the fund worked like futures contracts, even though they were marginalized and collateralized like a stock; consequently, if they were to be traded, they had to be traded on a futures exchange, and the advent of true ETFs had to wait a bit.

The next attempt at the creation of the modern Exchange Traded Fund was launched by the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1990 and called Toronto 35 Index Participation Units (TIPs 35). These were a warehouse, receipt-based instrument that tracked the TSE-35 Index.

Three years later, the State Street Global Investors released the S&P 500 Trust ETF (called the SPDR or “spider” for short) on January 22 of 1993. It was very popular, and it is still one of the most actively-traded ETFs today. Although the first American ETF launched in 1993, it took 15 more years to see the first actively-managed ETF to reach the market. (For related reading, see An Introduction To Corporate Bond ETFs.)

Barclays entered the ETF business in 1996 and Vanguard began offering ETFs in 2001. As of the end of 2018, there were more than one hundred distinct issuers of ETFs.

(source: Investopedia – A brief History of Exchange-Traded Funds)

So, what are the oldest ETF funds in Edgefolio’s platform? Here is the list!

Oldest ETF Funds 

Rank Company Fund Name Track Record YTD Last Month 3 Years CAGR


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