Morningstar ETF strategist Scott Burns got a promotion Monday to director of fund research for the Chicago-based firm, and will lead teams in the United States and Canada. But that didn't stop him from sounding off about his first love, exchange-traded funds, at the company's annual investment conference in the Windy City, running through Friday.  

When asked about the widely held prediction that mass consolidation would occur in the ETF space, and if it's yet happened, Burns responded, "There's a certain level of creative destruction that never happened all at once in the mutual fund space. Creative destruction happens in the mutual fund space, but it can be masked easier by rolling closed funds into other funds, for instance. The rapid maturation of the ETF space meant that the creative destruction would be just as rapid—and more high profile."

For those advisors that are looking to use mutual funds as straight trading substitutes, as opposed to those that want to use them as straight mutual fund substitutes, he said ETF companies will "keep their menu options open" and not consolidate, for the simple fact that the companies can't predict what geographical market will hit when, "so they want to be ready for when Malaysia, for instance, decides to take off."

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