financial services

Exchange-Traded Funds

Advancing the success and growth of ETF sponsors around the world

Dechert’s financial services group has a leading exchange-traded funds (ETFs) practice. Our 30-plus ETF lawyers represent more than 20 ETF sponsors, comprising a significant percentage of the universe of sponsors competing in the marketplace.

Our lawyers advise on ETF fund formation and the development of new products in the United States and Europe as well as on related regulatory matters. We have been at – and remain at – the forefront of the ETF market’s development and expansion, and have played an integral role in helping clients form innovative funds and receive novel regulatory relief.

Dechert lawyers are also leaders in the development of exchange-traded commodities (ETCs) in Europe, where they advise on the formation of commodity and currency ETFs and related commodities regulatory issues. Further, our team has extensive experience in drafting and negotiating every variety of operational document for ETFs and ETCs.

Our ETF practice has received many industry accolades for excellence and leadership. We recently were placed on the ETF Legal Services Shortlist for the Fund Action ETF Innovation Awards (2017). ETFExpress named us “Best ETF Legal & Compliance Firm” (2017). Our team also earned “Best ETF Lawyer” honors at’s US Awards Dinner (2016-2017) and “Best Funds Lawyer” honors at’s 2nd Annual Europe Awards Dinner (2015). In 2017, profiled our practice in a special report, noting that Dechert “is one of the leading law firms for ETFs” and “knows the ins and outs of the industry and its structure.” The practice was also described by as “truly second to none.”

ETF leadership built on a foundation of global excellence

Our leading ETF team is part of the firm’s award-winning financial services and investment management group. With more than 200 lawyers in 15 of our 27 offices worldwide, we believe that we have built the world’s largest practice covering the financial services and investment management industry.

Dechert harnesses its extensive reach, deep resources and practical expertise to serve its financial services clients globally. Our firm represents 24 of the 25 leading global asset managers in some capacity, including a significant percentage of the universe of ETF sponsors.

ETF "Firsts"

Our lawyers have been at the forefront of the development and expansion of the ETF market – often advancing first-of-its-kind innovations. Their work in obtaining novel regulatory relief and forming innovative funds includes the:

  • First exemptive order from the SEC permitting actively-managed ETFs
  • First ETFs to convert from index to actively-managed
  • First ETF focused on investment in senior loans
  • First ETF of China A-Shares
  • First ETF of securities traded in the “Dim Sum” bond market
  • First ETF of master limited partnerships
  • First reverse convertible ETF
  • First ETFs of ETFs and of closed-end funds
  • First swap-based ETCs anywhere in the world (now recognized as a separate market segment on many major international stock exchanges)
  • First ETCs on platinum and palladium
  • First Bitcoin ETF regulated under the U.S. Investment Company Act (regulatory approval pending)
  • First post-moratorium 19b-4 order to permit an actively-managed ETF to invest in derivatives without limitation
  • First exemptive order allowing a more flexible framework for offering ETFs which track indexes provided by an affiliate
  • The first actively-managed ETF authorised by the Central Bank of Ireland
  • First cryptocurrency-linked ETP transaction facilitated by the SIX Swiss Exchange program


View and download our Exchange Traded-Funds brochure

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