About The Index Standard®

The Index Standard® provides actionable insights. We use our industry knowledge and data platform to provide objective ratings and forecasts on indices, which help you make smarter, more informed decisions about your investments. If you need more information to make your decision, then there are also informative guides that demystify complex index concepts.

The Index Standard® is independent of index and product issuers. Our ratings are the result of meticulous analysis, based on more than 30 qualitative and quantitative criteria, designed by industry veterans. Our ratings and forecasts are updated regularly and factor in current market movements, along with other economic conditions. Our goal is to provide clarity and awareness that enables you to make sound decisions, leading to better outcomes.

The Index Standard® uses plain, everyday language. Nobody should need a Ph. D in finance or a dictionary to understand indices. Our mandate is clear. We call this "approachable finance."

Meet the Founder

Laurence Black Founder of The Index Standard®

Laurence Black is the founder of The Index Standard® and an index advisor to Robert J Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University.

Before founding The Index Standard®, Laurence was a Managing Director and Head of Quantitative Indices and Strategies at Barclays. During his nine years at Barclays, he oversaw the development of the Barclays index family, with billions invested in the indices. His responsibilities also covered index partnerships, where he worked with clients to deliver customized solutions based on their specific needs. In addition to designing some of the first smart beta/factor indices, Laurence spearheaded Barclays' index partnerships with Professor Robert Shiller and Nouriel Roubini, as well as Novus Partners.

Before Barclays, Laurence was Head of Indices at ABN AMRO for seven years in London, where he successfully launched indices with well-known investors such as Jim Rogers and Joel Greenblatt. Before ABN AMRO, Laurence worked at Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank, and Credit Suisse.

Laurence holds an MBA from the University of Warwick, and a Bachelor's degree from the University of Cape Town. Laurence resides in New York City with his wife, two children, and a dog. When not thinking about financial matters, he can mostly be found on a tennis court.

How It Began

1996

Laurence has spent over two decades creating and managing indices globally. His experience in the field established the foundation to create The Index Standard®, a platform to share what he knows and to help guide investors.

When his debut index attracted many retail investors, Laurence realized that index creation carries a considerable duty of care and responsibility to investors. Because he was trusted with the hard-earned money of ordinary folks, and not just big Wall Street money, Laurence realized that there was a serious need for more information on indices, which would be more understandable, and more readily available to a broader audience.

When it comes to investments, most people invest in the hope of making a profit, but are they aware of the risks? Do they know what they are buying? How much do they really understand when it comes to the particulars of stocks and indices?

Consider the case of Laurence’s friend who was close to retirement age and needed some investment advice. The friend was invested in some highly speculative stocks, but they had not performed well. His savings had dwindled, and because of this, there was a possibility that he would have to delay his retirement to make up for this.

Instead of single stocks, what if he had invested in safer, diversified indices?

2018

2019

Unfortunately, there isn’t much independent information about indices, which is available to investors. ETFs have prospectuses, but they are difficult to read, complicated and rife with industry jargon.

Laurence is also keenly aware that Wall Street lingo sounds like a foreign language to most people. He has seen the risks that come with investing when people don’t fully understand the investment products they're buying. As a result, he wanted to provide more in-depth knowledge and greater clarity to individuals who are interested in indices — he wants to share what he knows in plain, straightforward language.

2020

The Index Standard® aims to serve as an objective resource for index evaluation, information, and insights. It helps all types of investors make better, more informed decisions.

The Index Standard® aims to serve as an objective resource for index evaluation, information, and insights. It helps all types of investors make better, more informed decisions.