Daily ETF Watch: iShares To Close 18 Funds

June 26, 2015

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:

Ticker Fund AUM
($M)
Inception Date
FCHI iShares FTSE China 37.3 6/24/2008
AXJS iShares MSCI AC Asia ex Japan Sm Cap 6.4 2/2/2012
EWAS iShares MSCI Australia Small Cap 2.7 1/25/2012
EWCS iShares MSCI Canada Small Cap 3.0 1/25/2012
EWHS iShares MSCI Hong Kong Small Cap 9.4 1/10/2012
EWSS iShares MSCI Singapore Small Cap 13.0 1/10/2012
EEME iShares MSCI Emerging Markets EMEA 8.8 1/18/2012
EGRW iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Growth 8.5 2/8/2012
EVAL iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Value 24.4 2/8/2012
ESR iShares MSCI EM Eastern Europe 30.9 9/30/2009
AAIT iShares MSCI AC Asia Info Technology 7.3 2/8/2012
EMDI iShares MSCI EM Cons. Discretionary 5.5 2/8/2012
EMEY iShares MSCI EM Energy Capped 3.0 2/8/2012
IFAS iShares Asia Developed Real Estate 19.3 11/12/2007
IFNA iShares North America Real Estate 22.3 11/12/2007
MONY iShares Financials Bond 5.3 2/14/2012
ENGN iShares Industrials Bond 5.0 2/14/2012
AMPS iShares Utilities Bond 15.3 2/14/2012

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

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