Every week, Evan Harp sits down with one of the founders of Exchange to learn more about them, their perspective on life, and what they hope Exchange can bring to the industry.
This week, he sits down with Dave Nadig of ETF Trends (ETFTrends.com) and ETF Database (ETFdb.com). Dave previously served as the CEO and CIO of ETF.com, where he spent 10 years helping build the editorial, analytics, and conference businesses before they were sold in 2015, when he briefly served as FactSet Research Systems’ director of exchange traded funds, the acquirer of the ETF.com Analytics business.
Dave has been involved in researching, reporting, and analyzing the investment management industry for more than 25 years, and recently co-authored a definitive book on ETFs, “A Comprehensive Guide To Exchange Traded Funds” for the CFA Institute.
Evan Harp: What is something surprising about you?
Dave Nadig: I grew up on a farm.
Harp: What inspires you creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Nadig: Nature. The outside world. There’s nothing like standing at the top of a mountain or on a shoreline that does it.
Harp: What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Nadig: Oh, I would love to run a small diner, like a greasy spoon diner. It just inspires you. I love cooking for people to start with. It’s ridiculous, but like breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, no matter what. Just traditional American and British breakfasts are my favorite food of all time. There’s just something about that experience of meeting a friend for breakfast at a diner that has been — it’s resulted in like 10 of the best conversations in my life. It’s how we met in person!
There’s just something about getting people together around food. I’m not good enough to run a real restaurant. So I’ll take a whistle stop diner.
Harp: Why did you want to launch Exchange?
Nadig: So the traditional form of conferences where you have panels of five white men on stage talking about topics everybody already had an opinion on before they walked in, is really uninteresting. It’s really easy for an event to devolve into that. So with Exchange, I think we had the opportunity to take this break in the pandemic, this pause, and rethink what we wanted when we could finally get back together. And the answer was real conversations with real people about the interesting topics of the day.
That may sound Pollyanna, that may sound like, “Well, every conference wants to say that.” But if you look at how we put this event together and, more importantly, if you look at the people who are going to be on the stage, I think we’re going to have conversations that are a little different than what people would expect at a normal industry conference for finance.
Harp: What are you most looking forward to at Exchange?
Nadig: Just seeing people, right? The ETF industry is a small community. Historically, you go to these events, and there would be a thousand advisors and a couple hundred people from the industry. Well, over 15 years, it’s a lot of the same couple hundred people in the industry. But now, the advisor pool is tens of thousands of advisors who are focused on this part of the market, but it is still a community, and it is still surprisingly small. There is something about getting groups of people together to have conversations that just doesn’t get fixed with a Zoom happy hour or something like that. So, for me, I’m just looking forward to seeing people whether we’re shaking hands and wearing masks, I don’t know. I don’t care. Whatever the rules are, I’ll follow them. I just want to get there and see people face to face.
To learn more about Exchange, visit www.exchangeetf.com.
For more news, information, and strategy, visit ETF Trends.