Thomas Bartolacci
Head of ETF Capital Markets, Europe @ Vanguard

Thomas’ professor recommended Vanguard when he was exploring internship opportunities. Almost 10 years later, Thomas is still at Vanguard and leads the Vanguard ETF Capital Markets team within the Vanguard Equity Index Group. He and his team are responsible for improving the liquidity of Vanguard ETFs, managing relationships across the trading community, and assisting Vanguard sales teams with product support and trading strategies.

Jobs in ETFs caught up with Thomas to get insights into “why Vanguard” and ask for a preview of his core message he will discuss at the next week’s Inside ETFs Europe conference in London.

Jobs in ETFs: Please tell us about yourself and your experience. How did you get into the ETF industry and how did it progress?

Tom: I have been with Vanguard just about 10 years with most of that time actually spent as a trader in the Vanguard Fixed Income Group helping to manage Vanguard’s active investment grade credit funds. In 2015, I began leading the US ETF Capital Markets and transitioned last year to build out the European team. The journey has been extremely rewarding as the Cap Markets seat offers the opportunity to positively impact the investment outcomes of our clients whether that be educating clients about the ETF ecosystem or improving the liquidity of Vanguard ETFs.

JE: Why did you choose Vanguard and how would you describe Vanguard’s company culture?

Tom: A professor recommended Vanguard as I was exploring internship opportunities at university. After only a short 10 week summer placement I was convinced it was the place I wanted to build a career. The aspects of Vanguard’s culture that originally attracted me to the firm are still present and even stronger today: An environment that fosters collaboration, leaders passionate about their crew’s development and an entire company with an unrelenting focus on its mission of do what is best for clients.

JE: What would your career advice be to people wanting to enter the ETF industry now?

Tom: First off, the attraction to the space is obvious. There has been tremendous growth which is poised to continue all the while there is still room for innovation and new ideas. I can’t think of a more dynamic space position oneself within the financial industry. There is certainly a strong need for top talent. I would focus on developing a skillset that combines deep technical knowledge and demonstrating the ability to build strong relationships. The technical knowledge can really be any number of relevant experiences you have whether it be product development, portfolio management, trading etc.  It’s also important to be able to articulate why you have a passion for the ETF space/product type other than the growth seen in the industry.

JE: You’ll be speaking at Inside ETFs Europe event next week about Fixed Income ETFs and how they are revolutionising the bond market. Can you give us a preview of your core message?

Tom: While fixed income ETFs currently have a smaller market share relative to equity ETFs, I believe that in the near future via greater client education (like our session!) and familiarity with the products set the two asset classes will be on equal footing. The session aims to provide insight into the uses/benefits of fixed income ETFs, discuss some of the nuances of fixed income relative to equities as an asset class within an ETF wrapper and most importantly dispel any misconceptions that may exist.

JE: The growth of ETFs has been phenomenal. What would you say are the biggest trends that will shape the industry going forward?

Tom: While ETFs have benefited many investors as low-cost and diversified tools to save and build wealth, the transparency surrounding the cost of investing continues to increase. It will be exciting to see this transparency shift the attention of investors and lead to greater retail adoption of ETFs across Europe.