iShares, the world’s largest ETF provider, is making another major marketing push by filing paperwork detailing plans for several new ETFs, four of which would expand on equities funds the company already offers by increasing the scope of securities they cover in each respective region.
Calling it their “investable market” funds, iShares is basically serving up a one-stop-shop opportunity for investors via ETFs that cover 99 percent of a region’s investable equities rather than segmenting exposure through market-capitalization tiers that often exclude some of the smaller companies in a given space.
Perhaps its most timely addition given the increasing popularity of developing economies at a time of stagnant growth in the U.S. and in Europe would be the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Investable Market Index Fund—an ETF that covers companies of all market capitalizations across 21 countries and replicates an MSCI index that comprises more than 2,600 securities.
The new ETF is in many ways like iShares’ MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (NYSEArca: EEM) on steroids. EEM is the world’s second-largest emerging markets ETF, with some $32 billion in assets, but the fund carries a tilt toward mid- to large-cap names, something that iShares’ new fund would address.
Investable market funds go directly against the trend for increasingly narrow-focused strategies because they are perhaps as broad and comprehensive an exposure as investors can get in a given stock market. But it remains to be seen whether the new funds will find a following amid a crowd that seems perfectly content with other highly successful iShares ETFs, such as EEM.
The other investable market ETFs iShares plans to launch include:
iShares ACWI Investable Market Index Fund, which would expand on the $2.7 billion iShares MSCI ACWI Index Fund (NYSEArca: ACWI). The fund’s underlying index taps into some 44 countries and holds more than 8,600 securities.
iShares MSCI ACWI ex US Investable Market Index Fund, which would join the $986 million iShares MSCI ACWI ex U.S. Index Fund (NYSEArca: ACWX). The strategy’s benchmark comprises some 6,170 securities focused primarily on financial, industrial and materials companies.
iShares MSCI EAFE Investable Market Index Fund, which would expand on the $34.4 billion iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (NYSEArca: EFA). The fund invests in equities of all market-capitalization tiers across 22 developed markets.
iShares plans to replicate these indexes through representative sampling strategies, meaning the funds will only hold a portion of the securities included in their respective benchmarks.
No tickers or fees were disclosed in the filings.
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