As an investor for more than two decades and a lifetime world traveler, I am an advocate of looking beyond borders to find new opportunities and experiences. I’ve spent more than two decades in research and portfolio management roles, the latest step in the journey bringing me to BlackRock where I’m a member of the Global Investment Strategy Group focusing on timely investing themes. I’m also a runner, and my love of the sport has brought me to marathons on all seven continents – yes, including Antarctica – as well as foot races, mountain hikes and triathlons in most of the 60+ countries I’ve visited. Being on the ground in so many different places has really driven home the immense scale of the global markets, and specifically that it’s increasingly possible to partake in the economies of emerging and frontier market countries like China, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, and Kenya, to name a few. This firsthand experience has made me optimistic about the potential of emerging and developing economies, and their attractive valuations coupled with improving investor sentiment have me convinced that now is a favorable time to invest in these regions.
Recent flows data shows that investors are returning to emerging markets equity after turning away from the category early last year. Emerging markets equity funds gained $4.7 billion in August. My colleague, Russ Koesterich, has also discussed the merits of emerging and frontier markets as strategic asset classes in previous Blog posts. But this all begs the question – how does an investor boost their exposure to this corner of the globe? One solution: exchanged traded funds (ETFs).
Turning to ETFs
In recent decades the world of investing has changed dramatically, and nowhere is this more apparent than how investors approach tactical investing. What do I mean by this? Actively managed funds seek to outperform a specific benchmark, and portfolio managers often have full discretion over how they attempt to do so.