The Big Picture: A Cost Comparison of Futures and ETFs

Discover the liquidity, low cost and capital efficiency of futures.

When every basis point counts, access to cheap beta is critical. Today, as in the past, it is cheaper to replicate the S&P 500 with futures than with exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

Read our report to see how E-mini S&P 500 futures can help you reduce your costs to trade S&P 500 exposure and discover your potential savings with our Total Cost Analysis tool.

Get the Big Picture

See what futures can do for your portfolio. Download Futures are Still on a Roll with the Buyside by Aite and discover the cost-efficiency of futures compared with ETFs.

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The Total Cost Analysis Tool is designed to analyze the all-in costs of replicating the S&P 500 by trading equity index futures versus exchange-traded funds (ETFs).

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Separate Fact from Fiction

Not sure what tools are right for managing S&P 500 exposure?

CME’s E-mini S&P 500 futures:

  • Trade seven times more per day than all S&P 500 ETFs combined
  • Trade 2.5 times more per day than the entire U.S. ETF market
  • Trade more before the U.S. cash market opens than all three S&P 500 ETFs trade all day
  • Offer lower transaction costs and cheaper leverage for tactical, active, short, and leveraged investors
  • Offer a more tax efficient investment for international investors


What Customers Are Saying

"Our clients look to us to find cost effective and flexible ways to manage portfolio exposure needs on a daily basis. For the vast majority of our clients, we have found that futures may provide them the greatest flexibility to fulfill short-term risk management and performance enhancement goals such as cash equitization and securitization, portfolio rebalancing, currency hedging and transition management."

— Jack Hansen, Chief Investment Officer, Parametric -Minneapolis Investment Center

"With S&P 500 futures, investors receive the total return of the S&P 500 index less a money market rate-based funding cost, yet are only required to pay a small initial margin up front - in sharp contrast to the capital commitment plus fees required to own the S&P 500 via an ETF. This allows innovative equity investors, such as PIMCO, an opportunity to outperform the equity market simply by seeking a return on the remaining capital in excess of money market rates."

— Sabrina Callin, Managing Director and StocksPLUS product manager, PIMCO

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