While many Americans were preoccupied with the NCAA college basketball championships, some institutional investors were participating in a different kind of March (and April) Madness. More than 2,000 portfolio managers, traders, market strategists and their brethren were busy predicting the best performers among iShares exchange-traded funds while the college hoops competition geared up. These competitive, ETF-obsessed whiz kids were contestants in the third annual iShares Fund Frenzy, sponsored by BlackRock Inc., New York, owner of iShares.
The contest mimicked a college basketball tournament bracket: In each of four rounds, participants paired up 16 iShares ETFs into eight contests. The winners were decided by the total return performance over five trading days. The contest ran from March 21 to April 15, according to a BlackRock news release.
The overall winner, with 41 of 44 possible points, was Marc Warren, a trader at Quantlab Financial LLC, Houston. Mr. Warren said in the release that his strategy was to focus on non-U.S. dollar denominated and small- and microcap stock ETFs in every round. Mr. Warren donated his $20,000 charity prize to his children's school, Sephardic Gan Torat Emet school in Houston.