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Emerging Global Advisors, the firm focused solely on marketing funds focused on developing economies, moved a step closer this week to launching a varied group of 11 emerging market ETFs that include small-cap single-country ETFs and low-volatility dividend funds focused on China and Brazil.
Emerging Global laid out the funds’ tickers and expense ratios in a recent regulatory filing, suggesting the ETFs are close to going live. The company has been offering fine-tuned developing markets ETFs long before other ETF sponsors jumped on the bandwagon and started serving up granular strategies focused on the emerging markets.
Some of these funds, such as the Turkey Small Cap ETF, have the added benefit of being oriented toward domestic economies. That means they are somewhat insulated from potential ills afflicting many developed countries, such as big debt loads and the prospect of a partial breakup of the eurozone.
With growth prospects in developed countries mostly stagnant, emerging markets also offer investors significant opportunities for greater returns. In January, the International Monetary Fund projected that overall economic growth in the emerging markets for 2012-2013 would slow to an average of 5.75 percent, compared with 6.75 percent recorded in 2010-2011, according to data on the International Monetary Fund’s website.
Some analysts are forecasting huge growth in emerging market equities in the next year. Geoffrey Dennis, an emerging markets strategist at Citigroup, was quoted in a Feb. 7Financial Times article saying that emerging markets asset prices could rise 30-35 percent in the next year.
Investors already seem to be on board. The Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) pulled in $3.25 billion in fresh assets last month, and including a rebound in developing market stock prices, VWO’s total assets climbed more than 19 percent to nearly $50 billion, according to monthly flows data compiled by IndexUniverse. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (NYSEArca: EEM) gathered $1.28 billion, and its assets rose more than 15 percent to $37.43 billion.
Although the EGShares funds include exotic ETFs such as Small Cap South Africa and low-volatility China and Brazil, they generally use plain-vanilla investment strategies to achieve their objectives and do not include leverage, derivatives or short positions.
All of the EGShares funds in registration use a replication indexing strategy rather than a representative one, the latter method associated with greater tracking error.
Also, according to their prospectuses, these funds will invest at least 80 percent and up to 95 percent of their assets in the securities of their underlying indexes, including shares traded on local exchanges as well as American depositaryrReceipts (ADR’s) and global depository receipts (GDRs).
However, by virtue of the fact that these funds invest solely in developing countries, there is a certain amount of risk involved, especially in countries such as South Africa, which is subject to bouts of social and political turmoil. EGShares' Beyond the BRICs Emerging Asia Consumer ETF is another fund that has significant exposure to potentially unstable economies such as Thailand and the Philippines.
The 11 ETFs, their tickers, and expense ratios are as follows:
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