Meet Laurence Black, Interpreter of Indexes

There's a confusing profusion of new indexes behind ETFs and annuities. Laurence Black of The Index Standard says he can make sense of them. Watch as Tamiko Toland of CANNEX interviews Black (in photo) about his solutions. (There's a short video and a longer one.)

In these videos, Tamiko Toland, director of annuity research at CANNEX, the annuity data firm, interviews Laurence Black, founder of The Index Standard, an independent startup based in Manhattan. The firm “provides index ratings and forecasts that aim to make index and ETF screening simpler and easier.”

Here’s a link to the full-length, 50-minute video. Here’s a link to a three-minute sample.

A former head of indexes at Barclays and ABN MMRO, Black has now created tools for helping others understand and evaluate the indexes that power exchange-traded funds (ETFs), fixed index annuities (FIAs) and registered index-linked annuities, or RILAs.

The Index Standard aims to help self-directed investors, financial advisers, and Registered Investment Advisor platforms answer questions such as:

  • How do you know which index or ETF to buy?
  • How do you assess the best one?
  • Other than performance, what other factors do you need to consider?

With trillions of dollars invested in ETFs, with combined sales of index-based FIAs and RILAs close to $80 billion in 2020, and with many more intermediaries selling or recommending those products, the financial industry’s need for an index-rating tool is greater than ever. 

Before founding The Index Standard, Black was a managing director and head of Quantitative Indices and Strategies at Barclays. He led Barclays’ index partnerships with Yale economist Robert Shiller and Nouriel Roubini, as well as with Novus Partners. Before Barclays, Black was Head of Indices at ABN AMRO for seven years in London. He holds an MBA from the University of Warwick, and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cape Town.

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