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As the ETF industry grows, it’s only going to intensify the competition for new entrants. Despite that, three providers in particular have already managed to get off to a solid start.

The ETF industry is a tough one to break into, yet three relative newcomers to the space have set up shop and by all appearances, they’ve gained a solid foothold.

Ian Salisbury for The Wall Street Journal reports that PIMCO, Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW), and ETF Securities are among those newer entrants who have managed to achieve success to a degree this past year and have promising futures in the ETF industry.

It’s no small feat. The industry’s three largest providers – BlackRock (NYSE:BLK), State Street (NYSE:STT) and Vanguard - have historically given some tough competition.

ETF Securities leads the way among new entrants, amassing $1.5 billion in four physically-backed metals funds. ETFS already had a big commodity ETF presence outside the United States, and stayed within its niche with its gold, silver, platinum and palladium ETFs.

PIMCO, a world-renowned expert on bonds, also stayed in that category by issuing a range of funds that cover Treasuries, muni bonds and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS).

Schwab’s line of ETFs covering core categories has also done well, thanks in part to the Schwab name, free trading on Schwab’s platform and a set of well-diversified funds that cover major asset classes.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

Disclosure: None

Source: No Small Feat: Three ETF Providers Gain Foothold in Uber-Competitive Industry