Daily ETF Watch: iShares To Close 18 Funds

iShares prunes nearly 20 funds in a move designed to keep its focus on what investors want.

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Reviewed by: Heather Bell
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Edited by: Heather Bell

iShares, the world's biggest exchange-traded fund company, plans to close 18 ETFs in August, mostly because so many of them have so few assets.

The biggest of the funds to close is the iShares FTSE China ETF (FCHI | C-29), which had $37.3 million in assets under management, iShares' parent BlackRock said in a press release this week. Many of the funds on the chopping block are niche strategies within broader market—small-caps and emerging markets, to be precise—suggesting investor appetite for too finely sliced and diced funds is limited.

Together, the 18 ETFs have $227.4 million in assets, or well under 1 percent of iShares' $829 billion in U.S.-listed ETF assets. iShares itself commands about 38 percent of the $2.168 trillion in U.S.-listed ETF assets, according to data compiled by ETF.com.

BlackRock's announcement follows by two days the Royal Bank of Scotland's revelation that in July it plans to close its entire lineup of 13 U.S-listed exchange-traded notes. Overall, the pace of closures in 2015 is slower than in 2014, while the pace of launches is quicker than last. All this suggests that the world of ETFs is as vibrant as any time in the 22-year history of the exchange-traded funds.

In a terse statement, BlackRock said that as of the close of business on Aug. 21, the funds will no longer accept creation of new shares. Trading in the ETFs will be suspended prior to Aug. 24. Proceeds from the fund liquidations are likely to be sent to shareholders on or about Aug. 28.

Following is a list of the funds that iShares plans to close:

TickerFundAUM
($M)
Inception Date
FCHIiShares FTSE China37.36/24/2008
AXJSiShares MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Sm Cap6.42/2/2012
EWASiShares MSCI Australia Small Cap2.71/25/2012
EWCSiShares MSCI Canada Small Cap3.01/25/2012
EWHSiShares MSCI Hong Kong Small Cap9.41/10/2012
EWSSiShares MSCI Singapore Small Cap13.01/10/2012
EEMEiShares MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA8.81/18/2012
EGRWiShares MSCI Emerging Markets Growth8.52/8/2012
EVALiShares MSCI Emerging Markets Value24.42/8/2012
ESRiShares MSCI EM Eastern Europe30.99/30/2009
AAITiShares MSCI AC Asia Info Technology7.32/8/2012
EMDIiShares MSCI EM Cons. Discretionary5.52/8/2012
EMEYiShares MSCI EM Energy Capped3.02/8/2012
IFASiShares Asia Developed Real Estate19.311/12/2007
IFNAiShares North America Real Estate22.311/12/2007
MONYiShares Financials Bond5.32/14/2012
ENGNiShares Industrials Bond5.02/14/2012
AMPSiShares Utilities Bond15.32/14/2012

Source: BlackRock Inc. (AUM as of May 31, 2015)

Heather Bell is a former managing editor of etf.com. She has also held editorial positions at Dow Jones Indexes and Lehman Brothers. Bell is a graduate of Dartmouth college and resides in the Denver area with her two dogs.