State Street Global Advisors elevated three executives at the top of its exchange-traded fund business in a bid to strengthen management in a global business that experienced sharp volatility last year.

The Boston-based company, the investment arm of State Street Corp., said it named Jim Ross chairman of the global ETF business and funds management.

Two other State Street veterans, Nick Good and Rory Tobin, will now each become co-heads of the global ETF business under Ross.

The moves put distribution and oversight of ETFs under one group. Exchange-traded funds are like mutual funds, owning a basket of securities, but they are cheaper and trade more easily, like a single stock. They can be priced all day, instead of just once at day’s end, like mutual funds.


Regulators have been placing greater scrutiny on ETFs since last August, when problems trading numerous stocks led to ETF trading problems, and a massive drop in markets.

The Investment Co. Institute, a Washington trade group for mutual fund companies, recently began tracking ETF flows because the sums are so large they are now dwarfing mutual funds. For the week ending May 4, for instance, investors pulled $3 billion out of stock funds, while they pulled $10.4 billion out of stock ETFs.

State Street, with $443 billion in ETF assets, is one of the world’s largest seller of ETFs.

Ron O’Hanley, chief executive of State Street Global, said Ross “will be taking on an even more active role in advancing our ETF strategy and shaping the global ETF markets.”

Ross, in a statement, said he would be working with clients to “shape better outcomes for investors.” He also will be working more closely with regulators.

Beth Healy can be reached at beth.healy@globe.com. Follow her
on Twitter @HealyBeth.