Bright Future Tipped For ETF Sector


Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) will come under the spotlight this year as investors eye the product for greater diversity and lower costs.

iShares, a unit of UK-based bank Barclays, which issued more than 31 ETFs over the past several years, said assets of mutual funds related to ETFs could go up to US$2 trillion (HK$15.6 trillion) globally by 2011, with Asia being the major growth area.

“2008 was the fastest growing year for the ETF market,” Jane Leung, senior director of product, iShares Asia ex- Japan, told The Standard.

At iShares alone, assets under management rose by 42 percent to US$4.3 billion in 2008 from a year earlier.

The iShares FTSE/Xinhua A50 China Tracker (2823) accounted for about 60 percent of Hong Kong’s total turnover in ETF trading.

New mutual listing arrangement of ETFs in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland will definitely boost the sector’s growth this year, Leung said.

The firm raised its headcount from four in 2007 to 36 last year. Leung attributes the sharp growth of ETFs to the recent market downturn.

“ETFs have the benefit of being easily traded in and out of the market” and provide the “dual benefit” of buying a stock but with greater diversity and at a lower cost, she said.

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