ETFs are a wonderful invention. In the USA, the first ETFs came on the market as early as the 1970s, thanks to the Vanguard Group and its founder John Bogle. But in Germany ETFs only started in 2000, and became big only after 2005.

The largest providers of ETFs in Europe are iShares (BlackRock), db x-trackers (Deutsche Bank) and Lyxor (Société Générale). They market hundreds of ETFs in Germany, so there is no lack of choice. And their costs are low! Annual costs vary from less than 0.1% (e.g. S&P 500, Euro Stoxx 50) to a maximum of 0.9% (e.g. Emerging market equity). Compare that with managed funds where the annual management fees are 1.5%-2.5% per annum, not to mentioned their entry fee of typically 2.5%-5%.

You don’t have to pay expensive fund managers (who don’t beat the market) when you buy ETFs, you can save 70%-95% of the costs and keep your return high (higher).