New iShares Filings Target Russell 200

July 09, 2009

Proposed funds would offer exposure to ‘mega-cap’ segment of the market.


It looks like the Russell Top 200 Index might finally be the subject of not one, but three, different ETFs. Recent filings from Barclays Global Investors indicate that the firm is looking to launch three iShares funds that will track the Russell Top 200 Index, Russell Top 200 Growth Index and Russell Top 200 Value Index, respectively.

The Russell Top 200 is an index that, rather unsurprisingly, includes the top 200 companies by market capitalization in the Russell 3000 Index. One of the filings notes that as of the end of May, it represented 66% of the total market cap of the broad benchmark. That may have changed during the recent Russell rebalance at the end of June, but likely not by much.

The growth fund will track an index that represents roughly 74% of the Russell Top 200; meanwhile, the value fund’s underlying index is about 64% of the Russell Top 200. There is significant component overlap between the two indexes. Growth and value are determined by price-to-book ratio and projected growth: A stock with a high P/B and high projected growth is more likely to be designated as a growth stock, while stocks with lower P/Bs and projected growth are more likely to be classified as value stocks.

The filings say that the funds will utilize a “representative sampling indexing strategy” instead of full replication. No fees are listed in the filings.

The appeal of such funds could be mixed. The index is fairly well-known, and could serve as an appealing “mega-cap” alternative, but there are already several funds on the market tracking indexes like the S&P 100 and Russell Top 50. In particular, Vanguard offers “Mega-Cap” ETFs that track the MSCI U.S. Large-Cap Index and its growth and value subindexes. Those funds charge just 13 basis points, while the iShares fund tracking the S&P 100 charges 20 basis points, which raises the question of how competitive the pending funds would be in terms of pricing.

Read the filing for the iShares Russell 200 Index Fund here.

Read the filing for the iShares Russell 200 Growth Index Fund here.

Read the filing for the iShares Russell 200 Value Index Fund here.

--Contributed by Heather Bell


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