iShares Plans 4 Active ‘Core’ ETFs

Hung Tran
September 10, 2013

iShares, the world’s biggest exchange-traded fund firm, filed regulatory paperwork to market four actively managed ETFs that will make up the latest additions to the “Core” brand of ultra-cheap funds it began to market last October.

The four new Core ETFs—which are similar, though not identical, to products that iShares already markets in index wrappers—will all be funds of funds that, fittingly enough, will use as building blocks the 10 “Core” index ETFs that it introduced to the world on Oct. 15, 2012.

iShares didn’t reveal in the filing what the funds’ tickers or annual expense ratios might be, but because they all have the “Core” moniker in their names, it’s safe to assume they will be competitively priced.

The new offerings will include the:

BlackRock’s iShares unit launched its dirt-cheap “Core” brand of ETFs to revitalize its ETF lineup in the face of a competitive onslaught from Vanguard as well as other low-cost ETF sponsors. The iShares Core family of ETFs now has nearly $100 billion in assets, or nearly one-sixth of iShares’ $603 billion in ETF assets under management, according to Melissa Garville, a spokeswoman at iShares.

The four proposed funds look quite like the following "target-risk" index ETFs iShares has had on the market since November 2008, and which all have at least $125 million in assets:

In any case, the new “target risk” strategies that iShares plans to bring out in active “Core” wrappers suggest that the San Francisco-based fund sponsor remains committed to broadening its lineup of cheap and cutting-edge ETFs. Moreover, the “active” piece of its plans suggests iShares is laying the groundwork for the next area of major ETF development; namely, active ETFs.

“The iShares Core Series ETFs are products that investors can use as building blocks for the heart of their portfolios in domestic and international equities and U.S. fixed income,” said Garville.

Those original “Core” ETFs, segregated by asset classes that will make up the four new active funds, are as follows:

U.S. Equities

International Equities

U.S. Fixed Income


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