New Non-US Index Funds

April 01, 2000

The popularity of index-linked products is growing in other countries, and the range of offerings is growing as well. Some recent offerings:

In the UK, Investec Guinness Flight has already launched a US index fund and an offshore index fund based on the Wired index, but that hasn't stopped them from launching a third product as well. The Wired Index Trust is available only to residents of the UK where it is also available as an individual savings account or ISA. Wired magazine created the index to track what it perceived as the blue chips of the new economy. The Wired index includes such stocks as America Online, AMR, Charles Schwab, Dell Computer, Enron, Lucent, Reuters, and Sony.

Barclays Global Investors is offering the first unit trust in the UK to track the FTSE Global 100, an index of 100 multinational companies. The fund is available only through independent financial advisers (IFAs). The FTSE Global 100 includes such companies as Microsoft, AXA-UAP, L'Oreal, and BP Amoco.

In Belgium, the Brussels Exchanges launched an index participation unit linked to its benchmark BEL20 index called the Mini-BEL20. The BEL20 contains 20 blue-chip Belgian stocks such as Electrabel and Fortis. The bourse plans to launch similar products based on its other indexes in the future; it is the first European exchange to list this kind of instrument.

Unit Trust of India (UTI) launched an open-ended index fund tracking the S&P CNX Nifty Index in February. The 50-stock index rose 3.24% in the first quarter of 2000.


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