Another Pension Fund Reduces EM ETF Exposure

ETF Trends

Another large pension fund has slashed exposure to emerging markets exchange traded funds. This time, it is Canada’s Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

The $129.2 billion fund sold nearly three-quarters of its stake, valued at $1.2 billion, in the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) in the first quarter, reports Rick Baert for Pensions & Investments.

Before the sale, the pension fund own 34.7 million shares of EEM, making the ETF the plan’s largest holding, but that number was just 9.5 million shares at the end of the first quarter, reported P&I. The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan did purchase $189 million worth of the PowerShares QQQ (QQQ) during the first quarter.

Last week, it was reported that the New Jersey Pension Fund slashed its stake in the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) , the largest emerging markets ETF by assets, to “$109 million from $1.9 billion in 2012. Emerging-market equities made up 6.56 percent of the pension fund’s assets as of February, down from 7.65 percent four months earlier and under its target of 8 percent,” Boris Korby reports for Bloomberg. [New Jersey Pension Plan Slashes VWO Stake]

EEM is the second-largest emerging markets ETF behind VWO.

At the end of February, in addition to EEM and VWO, the fund held positions in the iShares MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA) , iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) and the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (EWY) , according to the New Jersey Division of Investment.

The New Jersey Pension Fund and the Ontario Teachers’ plan were not alone in parting ways with EEM and VWO during the first quarter. In the first three months of 2014, the ETFs saw combined outflows of over $11 billion. [Cash Comes Back to EM ETFs]

Those departures may have been hasty as EEM and VWO each closed at their highest levels since October on Wednesday.

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF

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ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of EFA, EEM, IEMG and QQQ.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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