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iShares launches Frontier Markets ETF

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BlackRock’s iShares exchange-traded funds business has launched the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 Index Fund.

This is the first ETF available to US investors benchmarked to the MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index.

The index provides exposure to frontier market securities that are specifically screened for liquidity. The frontier markets that are currently included in the index are Argentina, Bangladesh, Croatia, Estonia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritius, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Romania, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam.

"For investors who are seeking broader equity market exposures, this fund is a logical extension of investing globally," says Daniel Gamba (pictured), head of iShares Americas institutional business at BlackRock.

Representing 30 per cent of the global population, frontier markets are forecast to be among the world’s fastest growing economies. Driven by a growing consumer class and a rich supply of natural resources, frontier markets are moving along the same path that led global emerging markets to be one of the strongest asset classes of the last 25 years.

"Frontier markets are a relatively untapped and exciting investment opportunity that more investors are starting to consider," says Gamba.

The fund is the latest example of iShares expanding the ETF marketplace for investors to new asset classes and geographies. Earlier this year, iShares launched the iShares Emerging Markets Corporate Bond Fund, the first index-based ETF to offer broad access to investment grade and high yield bonds issued by corporations based in Latin America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. In 2012 iShares also launched 10 single country ETFs, including the first ETFs to seek investable market exposure in Denmark and Finland.

The MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index is a subset of the broader MSCI Frontier Markets Index. The MSCI Frontier Markets 100 Index puts a strong emphasis on tradability in a number of ways including requiring a minimum liquidity level for securities.

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