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First Trust

First Trust Parent Rating

Average

First Trust meets the industry standard for stewardship, but it could do more to align itself with investors.

It earns an Average Parent rating.

This is a team-oriented organization that eschews star managers. While exchange-traded funds represent the bulk of the firm's assets, First Trust bypasses the competitive market for low-cost beta funds, instead opting for complex strategies with higher management fees. However, the firm's focus on ETFs for future product development underpins its commitment to tax efficiency and transparency. Some of its thematic strategies appear trendy, but it stands behind them and rarely liquidates funds.

The firm is a private partnership, controlled by Jim Bowen, the CEO. Many senior managers are limited partners. This ownership structure helps the firm stay focused on the long term and promotes retention, which has been strong for the investment team. The firm has grown considerably over the past decade and is among the largest providers of actively managed ETFs, as well as unit investment trusts. As it has grown, the firm has expanded its investment team and beefed up its technology infrastructure.

First Trust's focus is on educating advisors and providing them solutions. This may benefit investors indirectly, but First Trust could do more to directly align with investors by cutting fees and limiting trendy strategies.

First Trust Investments

Market

US Open-end ex MM ex FoF ex Feeder

Total Net Assets

2.37 Bil

Investment Flows (TTM)

−779.24 Mil

Asset Growth Rate (TTM)

−25.27%

# of Share Classes

15
Morningstar Rating # of Share Classes
0
4
3
6
1
Not Rated 1

Exchange-Traded Funds

See All First Trust ETFs

Market

US ETFs

Total Net Assets

154.25 Bil

Investment Flows (TTM)

4.91 Bil

Asset Growth Rate (TTM)

3.47%

# of Share Classes

233
Morningstar Rating # of Share Classes
10
25
59
50
12
Not Rated 77

Morningstar Mentions

These actively managed exchange-traded funds earn high ratings from Morningstar in 2024.

Quick Definitions: Key Morningstar Terms

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