EM Rout Puts New Breed of ETFs in the Spotlight

ETF Trends

It probably will not be remembered as fondly as the March 9, 2009 market bottom, but for now, Feb. 3 stands as this year’s bottom for emerging markets exchange traded funds.

Since that day, the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) are each up about 7%. The two still sit among the worst ETFs this year in terms of lost assets, but that situation would likely change if downside for emerging equities is limited from here. [ETFs Lose $10 Billion in January]

Not all emerging markets ETFs have been afflicted with the outflows virus. In fact some have been growing since the start of last year, a 13-month period in which emerging markets volatility has increased and share prices have slumped.

“The smaller emerging-market ETFs that gained assets did so because they’re attractive to long-term investors looking for innovative ways to get exposure to developing markets,” reports Eric Balchunas for Bloomberg.

Balchunas highlighted several emerging markets ETFs that can be considered part of a new breed of alternatives or complements to EEM and VWO. The list includes the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG), which debuted in October 2012 as part of the iShares core suite of ETFs. [iShares Could Add to Low-Cost ETF Lineup)

“IEMG is gaining assets because it's simply a better version of its older sib, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF. Its country and sector allocations are similar to EEM's, and it also tracks an MSCI index,” according to Bloomberg. IEMG charges 0.18% per year, the same as VWO and well below the 0.67% charged by EEM. IEMG now has $3.5 billion in assets, according to iShares data.

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Minimum Volatility ETF (EEMV) , the low volatility answer to EEM and IEMG, “has taken in $1.5 billion during the past 13 months, doubling its size to $2.1 billion,” according to Bloomberg. EEMV’s rival, the PowerShares S&P Emerging Markets Low Volatility Portfolio (EELV) , has also recently been a prodigious gatherer of assets. [Loving Low Vol ETFs Again]

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