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Howard Atkinson, president of BetaPro Management Inc.Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Exchange-traded fund pioneer Howard Atkinson, president of Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) Inc., will be retiring from the firm at the end of this year.

"Howard Atkinson has not only been the face of Horizons ETFs for the last decade, but in many ways has also been the face of the Canadian ETF industry," Steven Hawkins, Co-CEO of Horizons ETFs, said in a statement. "Howard joined Horizons ETFs when it was just a start-up and has been vital to building our business to become one of Canada's largest ETF providers."

Mr. Atkinson joined the firm almost a decade ago in 2006 as executive vice-president and was later appointed president.

In 2011, he took on the additional role of global head of ETF sales and marketing for parent company Seoul-based Mirae Asset Global Investments.

Prior to joining Horizons ETFs, Mr. Atkinson was responsible for the exchange traded products business at Barclays Global Investors Canada Ltd., now BlackRock Inc.'s iShares.

With his longstanding experience in the ETF community, he became the first chairman of the Canadian ETF Association – a role he held until this past May.

Mr. Atkinson will spend the next two months with Horizons ETFs' senior management team working through an orderly transition of his day-to-day responsibilities.

Horizons ETFs currently has more than $5.1-billion of assets under management and has 70 ETFs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Mr. Atkinson was not available for comment.