iShares, the largest ETF firm in the world, has simplified the
names on its
this week, and began changing the language in many of its ETFs'
investment objectives as part of a "brand renewal" program the
company kicked off last October.
The shorter, simpler names for the firm's 290 ETFs became
effective this week, and 138 of them have now dropped mention of
the index from their names, reflecting iShares' goal of increasing
clarity for investors who are faced with more and more ETF options
to choose from every day.
The latest move, effective July 1, comes on the heels of a
ramped-up advertising campaign that began last October when iShares
launched its "Core" lineup of 10 low-cost ETFs and combined the
retail sales forces of both BlackRock and iShares.
iShares commands roughly a third of all assets in U.S.-listed
ETFs, but other providers such as lower-cost outfits like Vanguard
and even Charles Schwab are rising in the ranks of IndexUniverse's
ETF League Table. iShares manages about $577 billion in U.S.-listed
ETF assets, followed by State Street Global Advisor's $333-billion
footprint and Vanguard's $278 billion, according to data compiled
"One area of opportunity identified was to simplify our product
messaging beginning with our fund names and investment objectives,"
a representative for iShares told IndexUniverse.
None of the tickers or CUSIPs of these funds has changed, but in
138 funds, they no longer carry the name of the index provider,
according to the representative.
'They are losing specificity on index names,' IndexUniverse
Director of Research Elisabeth Kashner said, noting that the move
could be a set-up for more flexibility on index providers down the
'They could be positioning themselves to keep fund names stable
while changing underlying indexes,' she said.
As an example of that shift, funds like the iShares Dow Jones
U.S. Financial Services Index Fund (NYSEArca:IYG) are now simply
called the iShares U.S. Financial Services ETF.
In addition to names, as noted, the firm has reworked the
investment objectives on 26 of its U.S.-listed ETFs to "plain
English," and these objectives for the remainder of the iShares ETF
lineup will also be revised throughout the rest of the year in
conjunction with prospectus updates, iShares said.
To stick with IYG as an example, its investment objective now
reads:"The ETF seeks to track the investment results of an index
composed of U.S. equities in the financial services sector."
That new language is certainly different from the fund's
objective stated until last week:"The iShares Dow Jones U.S.
Financial Services Index Fund seeks investment results that
correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before
fees and expenses, of the Dow Jones U.S. Financial Services
Earlier this year, iShares revamped the way it reports expense
ratios for several of its ETFs in what appeared to be a move to
provide investors with more up-to-date fee information than that
which appears in each of the funds' prospectuses, but that decision
is not part of this rebranding process, the representative
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