iShares will be adding four new offerings to its roster of international ETFs linked to MSCI indexes.
The funds currently in registration with the SEC are:
- iShares MSCI Poland Investable Market Index Fund (prospectus)
- iShares MSCI China Small-Cap Index Fund (prospectus)
- iShares MSCI Indonesia Investable Market Index Fund (prospectus)
- iShares MSCI New Zealand Investable Market Index Fund (prospectus)
With the exception of the New Zealand-specific ETF, iShares is not the first to enter any of these markets. Its move testifies to growing investor interest in some of the booming segments of the global ETF space.
Take the iShares Poland fund, for instance. Poland is the largest and fastest-growing economy in central and Eastern Europe—benefiting primarily from a growing consumer base. The iShares ETF will be the second ETF to launch this year addressing the market, following the Market Vectors Poland ETF (NYSEArca: PLND).
The iShares Poland fund will invest in the top tier of Polish-listed companies as measured by market capitalization. As of October, its benchmark comprised 63 names, mostly in the financials, energy and materials sectors.
By comparison, PLND has a much smaller portfolio—just 26 companies—and focuses more on the small- and mid-cap segment of the market.
The iShares China fund will invest in companies that fall in the bottom 14 percent of the Chinese equities market by market capitalization. It will complement iShares' $8+ billion ultra-large-cap-focused iShares FTSE/Xinhua 25 ETF (NYSEArca: FXI), giving investors an opportunity to address both sides of the ETF market.
As of October, its underlying index included 200 components, focused on consumer discretionary, industrials and information technology firms.
There are other ETFs in the China Small Cap space, such as Claymore/Alpha Shares China Small Cap Fund (NYSEArca: HAO), which invests in some 156 names, and has attracted some $340 million in assets in its two-year existence.
Both the iShares Indonesia and New Zealand funds will invest in the largest market-cap companies listed in those countries, respectively. The Indonesia fund has a larger portfolio, as its index included some 41 names, while New Zealand’s benchmark had 22 as of October 2009.
By sector allocation, the iShares Indonesia fund will focus on financials, telecommunications services and consumer discretionary. By contrast, the company’s take on New Zealand will allocate most of its portfolio to materials, telecommunications and consumer discretionary.
Among the competitors for these funds is one-year-old Market Vectors Indonesia ETF (NYSEArca: IDX), which has a portfolio comprising 27 names, and AUM of more than $200 million.
Smart beta isn’t smarter than cap weighting, but it is different, and that’s great for investors.
Trial by fire is one way to discover why ETF transparency matters.
Most people now realize leveraged ETFs can hurt you, but how, then, to use them?
What would a shift out of a mutual fund and into an ETF look like up close?