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There is simply no proof that outcomes have improved, or that risks have diminished from the proliferation of new ETF products. Instead, this has been little more than marketing to appeal to over-saturated advisors who desperately seek the next “story.”

To view the proper role that new product development should take in the context of an outcome-oriented industry, consider medicine.

Practice management consultants frequently compare investment advisors to doctors. Advisors, we are told, should conduct a thorough examination of our clients’ fiscal health, screen all possible investments, and prescribe effective investment strategies towards the objective of improving financial well-being. I too have used medical analogies and have told clients that net worth is their most important vital sign.

However well medical analogs work in communicating with clients, there is very little comparison to the way that the investment industry and the medical industry creates new products.

For example, cancer drugs have followed a mostly positive century-old continuum from radiation to chemotherapy to immunotherapy. At each stage not only has the treatment become more effective, it has become less invasive.

Radiation in the form of X-rays was first used in treatment in the early-20th century surprisingly soon after it was first discovered. Later, during World War II the U.S. military adapted peaceful uses of a medicinal form of mustard gas to fight lymphoma, becoming the first chemotherapy. This agent killed rapidly growing cancer cells. Then, in 1953 the structure of DNA was discovered by Watson and Crick. The medical applications were quick and revolutionary. Armed with the realization that DNA is the carrier of genetic information, doctors could make changes within patients’ cells to stimulate the immune system to fight cancer naturally. Immunotherapy was born. In recognition of this near miraculous achievement the Nobel Prize was recently awarded to two cancer immunotherapy researchers, James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo.

All three treatments are still in use because, in some cases, radiation and chemotherapy are more effective. However, the path has been one of focused objectives with continually improved outcomes.

The bounty from these innovations is that the U.S. cancer death rate has dropped 27% in 25 years. This is a glowing testament to the power of medical innovation.