A few weeks ago, a boutique asset manager called the iShares capital markets desk with a request to take a $248 million position in the iShares Barclays US Treasury Bond Fund exchange-traded fund. Because the boutique firm had never executed such a trade before, the cap markets desk helped the manager walk through the steps necessary to make the trade.

It was the first time the asset manager took such a large position in the fixed-income ETF, but it won’t be the last, according to iShares officials. Indeed, a recent Greenwich Associates study of institutions’ use of ETFs suggests that more and more institutional-size asset managers are making monster trades, without disrupting the bond markets, because ETFs trade on indexes rather than on the underlying securities.

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