iShares, the worldâs largest ETF company, launched three more
ETFs linked to MSCI indexes, one focused broadly on developed
countries around the world and the other two small-cap funds
targeting Hong Kong and Singapore.
The three funds, and their annual expense ratios, are:
- iShares MSCI World Index ETF (NYSEArca:URTH), 0.24
percentâa price tag suggesting it is opening up a new front to
battle for market share
- iShares MSCI Hong Kong Small Cap Index Fund (NYSEArca:EWHS),
- iShares MSCI Singapore Small Cap Index Fund (NYSEArca:EWSS),
The broader of the three, the iShares MSCI World Index ETF,
tracks the MSCI World Index, which comprises equities from 24
developed countries, including the United States.
iShares could be looking to replicate the success itâs had
with its iShares MSCI EAFE Index Fund (NYSEArca:EFA), a
more-than-10-year-old ETF with $36 billion in assets that taps into
developed markets outside of North America. But more than half of
the new ETF, URTH, is allocated to U.S. stocks, followed by U.K.
and Japanese equities.
URTHâs launch comes at a time when investors are warming up
again to funds that deliver exposure to developed-market
equitiesâwith the United States atop many strategistsâ lists of
Although growth prospects remain uncertain for much of the
developed world as it battles massive debt burdens, investors
poured $41 billion of new money into U.S. equity ETFs in 2011, with
another $24 billion into international equities, according to data
compiled by IndexUniverse.
The new fund is also, in some sense, a developed-market subset
of the San Francisco-based companyâs all-world equity ETF, the
iShares MSCI ACWI Index Fund (NYSEArca:ACWI). That fund has
gathered $2.3 billion since it came to market in 2008. ACWI costs
Serving Up Small-Cap Exposure
The other two ETFs the company is launching today, EWHS and
EWSS, reflect a trend in the ETF market to leverage consumer
behavior via smaller companies that often donât have global
These two new funds are essentially small-cap versions of
first-generation ETFs iShares MSCI Hong Kong Index Fund
(NYSEArca:EWH) and iShares MSCI Singapore Index Fund
(NYSEArca:EWS). Both were launched in 1996 and have $1.8 billion
and $1.3 billion in assets, respectively.
EWHS and EWSS join the companyâs broader developing-country
small- cap fund, the iShares Emerging Markets Small Cap ETF
(NYSEArca:EEMS), which allocates just under 3 percent to Hong Kong
small-cap stocks. EEMS, launched in August 2011, has gathered $32.6
million in assets.
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