Inside conversation with Dave Nadig


Each week, Evan Harp sits down with one of Exchange’s founders to learn more about them, their perspective on life, and what they hope Exchange can bring to the industry.

This week, he meets Dave Nadig, the CIO and research director of ETFs Trends ( and ETFs Database ( Dave previously served as CEO and CIO of, where he spent 10 years helping to build the editorial, analytical and conference businesses before they were sold in 2015, when he briefly served as head of exchange-traded funds at FactSet Research Systems, the purchaser of Analysis activity.

Dave has been involved in investment management industry research, reporting and analysis for over 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 surprises you?

David Nadig: I grew up on a farm.

Harp: What inspires you creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

Nadig: Nature. The outside world. There’s nothing quite like standing on top of a mountain or on a shoreline that does.

Harp: What profession other than your own would you like to try?

Nadig: Oh, I would love to run a small restaurant, like a greasy spoon restaurant. It just inspires you. I like to cook for people to start with. It’s ridiculous, but like breakfast, it’s my favorite meal of the day no matter what. Only traditional American and British breakfasts are my all time favorite food. There’s just something about that experience of meeting a friend for breakfast at a restaurant that was – it resulted in 10 of the best conversations of my life. That’s how we met in person!

There’s just something about bringing people together around food. I’m not good enough to run a real restaurant. So I’ll have a whistle stop dinner.

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 that everyone already had an opinion on before entering, is really uninteresting. It’s really easy for an event to evolve in there. So with Exchange, I think we had the opportunity to take this break from the pandemic, this break, and rethink what we wanted when we could finally get back together. And the answer was real conversations with real people about the hot topics of the day.

It may sound like Pollyanna, it may sound like “Well, every lecture means that.” But if you look at how we put together this event and, more importantly, if you look at the people who are going to be on stage, I think we’re going to have conversations that are a little different than what people would expect at a normal finance industry conference.

Harp: What are you looking forward to most from Exchange?

Nadig: Just seeing people, right? the ETFs the industry is a small community. Historically, you would go to these events, and there were a thousand advisors and a couple hundred industry people. Well, over 15 years, that’s a lot of the same few hundred people in the industry. But now the advisor pool is made up of tens of thousands of advisors who focus on that part of the market, but it’s still a community, and it’s still surprisingly small. There’s something about bringing groups of people together to have conversations that just don’t get resolved with a Zoom happy hour or something. So for me, I just look forward to seeing people if we shake hands and wear masks, I don’t know. I do not care. Whatever the rules, I will follow them. I just want to get there and see people face to face.

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