Kathleen Moriarty Obituary, Death – Kathleen Moriarty, 69, one of the first female ETF pioneers, died on Tuesday. She was a lawyer who helped develop the first exchange-traded fund in the United States 30 years ago. Her death was confirmed by Chapman & Cutler, where she was senior counsel in the firm’s New York office at the time of her death. She died following a “brief illness,” according to Reggie Browne, principal of GTS Securities in New York. Moriarty was asked to assist in the development of a mutual-fund-style investment that traded on stock exchanges like a stock. The SPDR S&P 500 Trust (SPY), which was founded in 1993 for State Street Corp., is presently the world’s largest ETF, with $368 billion in assets.
After being referenced in scores of articles, Moriarty was designated one of the “Legends of Indexing” by ETF.com. In a recent audio interview with ETF.com Managing Editor Heather Bell, Moriarty reflected on being one of the few women in the early days of the ETF market. She considers herself “lucky” to have worked on several first-of-a-kind funds, including INDEXIQ, gold, and precious metals funds. Moriarty has also been an outspoken supporter of a bitcoin spot ETF.
She noted that progress for women in the ETF business has been patchy, with much of space for improvement. “There are subtle [changes], but I don’t think they’re significant,” Moriarty said. According to her profile, Chapman received her law degree from Notre Dame Law School in 1980 and her undergraduate degree from Smith College in 1975. Moriarty served on many boards, including Women in ETFs, the Investment Management Regulation Committee of the New York Bar Association, and the American Bar Association’s Task Force on Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, and Investment Management.
She received the Nate Most Award for “Greatest Contributor to the ETF Marketplace” in 2017. The award is named after the ETF’s originator. Moriarty was a driving force behind the establishment of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust, the first attempt by a US applicant to register a bitcoin ETF in the US, as well as the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD). “The ETF sector would be a very different place without her,” Browne observed. “Her family and profession have suffered tremendously.”