iShares Debuts ‘Core’ ETF Family

January 02, 2013


BlackRock’s iShares unit launched its “Core” brand of ETFs in mid-October. The family of ETFs encompasses four new and six existing funds, and appears to be iShares’ latest salvo in the wave of fee-cutting that has swept the ETF industry recently.

Four of the existing ETFs cover the U.S. equities market, but they have been repackaged with different names and lower expense ratios. The iShares Core S&P Total U.S. Stock Market ETF (NYSE Arca: ITOT) previously traded under the ticker ISI and has seen its price slashed from 20 basis points to 7. The other three funds and their new expense ratios include:

  • iShares Core S&P 500 ETF (NYSE Arca: IVV), 0.07 percent
  • iShares Core S&P Mid-Cap ETF (NYSE Arca: IJH), 0.15 percent
  • iShares Core S&P Small-Cap ETF (NYSE Arca: IJR), 0.16 percent


The relaunch also includes three new international equities ETFs that are similar to pre-existing iShares funds but with broader coverage:

  • The iShares Core MSCI Total International Stock ETF (NYSE Arca: IXUS) is similar to the iShares MSCI ACWI ex US ETF (NYSE Arca: ACWX) and has an expense ratio of 0.16 percent.
  • The iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSE Arca: IEMG) has an expense ratio of 0.18 percent and is basically an expanded version of the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index Fund (NYSE Arca: EEM).
  • The iShares Core MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSE Arca: IEFA) is a broader version of the very popular iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (NYSE Arca: EFA) but is 20 basis points cheaper, with an expense ratio of 0.14 percent.


In the fixed-income space, iShares has relaunched its broad domestic-bond ETF as the iShares Core Total U.S. Bond Market ETF (NYSE Arca: AGG), with an expense ratio of 0.08 percent, 12 basis points less than its previous price.

The firm also relaunched the iShares Core Long-Term U.S. Bond ETF (NYSE Arca: ILTB) with a new ticker and an expense ratio of 0.12 percent; the fund previously traded under GLJ and cost 20 basis points. Finally, iShares rolled out the brand-new iShares Core Short-Term U.S. Bond ETF (NYSE Arca: ISTB), with an expense ratio of 0.12 percent.

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