PowerShares Is Second to Market With International Corporate Bond ETF

Investors looking to trade in a growing pile of debts may today dabble in PowerShares‘ new international corporate bond ETF. Joining the State Street Global Advisers fund, this will be the second international corporate bond ETF available in the U.S. market.

With yields on U.S. debt looking paltry, interest in corporate bonds overseas has picked up. With that, another fund giving investors access to the space has launched.

The PowerShares International Corporate Bond Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PICB) will offer exposure to investment-grade corporate bonds issued in developed markets outside of the United States. PICB will try to reflect the performance of the S&P International Corporate Bond Index, with at least 80% of the fund’s total assets in securities that make up the index.

Invesco PowerShares Senior Vice President Bobby Brooks points out that despite prevailing global concerns – the crisis in Greece and worries about the wider eurozone – there’s a case to be made for international corporate bonds. After all, they have a low correlation to many different asset classes: 0.26 to U.S. equities, 0.42 to emerging market debt, 0.37 to emerging market equities and 0.49 to developed market equities.

Furthermore, while some areas of the world might be struggling, there are still a number of great companies in those countries looking to raise capital.

“You have to look at the company issuing bonds, not just the volatility and the noise that’s taking place,” Brooks says.

The index holds bonds issued by investment-grade non-U.S. issuers in the G-10 currencies, including the Australian dollar (AUD), New Zealand dollar (NZD), British Pound (GPB), Swiss Franc (CHF), Euro (EUR), Norwegian krone (NOK), Japanese yen (JPY), Swedish krona (SEK), Canadian dollar (CAD) and Danish krone (DKK). PICB will have an expense ratio of 0.50%.

As with many bond ETFs, PICB will use a “sampling” methodology, which means that the fund won’t own all the securities in the underlying index.

PICB only holds the debt of companies outside the United States and has exposure to the nine major sectors. Aside from broad country and sector exposure, PICB also has currency diversification, capping the exposure of any one currency at 50%.

PICB will compete with State Street’s SPDR Barclays Capital International Corporate Bond (NYSEARCA:IBND), which launched in mid-May.

Max Chen and Heather Hayes contributed to this article.

Disclosure: None