An Exchange Traded Fund -- a.k.a. ETF -- is a type of security that you can buy or sell through a brokerage firm on a stock exchange. Unlike traditional stocks, an ETF isn't a share of an individual company. Instead, it's a basket of securities that brings together many different companies, often around a shared theme or industry.
ETFs are available for virtually every conceivable asset class, from traditional investments to so-called alternative assets like commodities or currencies.
EFTs have been available since 1993 and represent more than $5 trillion in assets as of 2018. ETFs are commonly used by individuals, pensions, sovereign wealth funds and endowments to gain exposure to broad markets.