Emerging Global Advisors is launching two new exchange traded funds today to provide investors with the ability to further focus their emerging market allocation. The EGShares Beyond BRICs (NYSEARCA:BBRC) seeks to outperform larger market funds by focusing on 15 less mature markets including: Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia, Malaysia, Morocco, Mexico, Peru, Philippines, Poland, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey. The EGShares Emerging Domestic Demand (EMDD) invests in five sectors thought to be most influenced by organic growth within the markets including: consumer staples, consumer discretionary, telecom, utilities and health care.
I received advanced copies of the fact sheets for the two funds, available on the company's website after the launch, to compare with other options in the emerging market space. I have generally been skeptical of the more popular EM funds like the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:EEM) and the Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:VWO) for their overweight in the relatively more developed markets like Brazil, Russia, India and China. There was a time when these markets promised outsized returns and growth. Now, they account for four of the ten largest economies in the world by GDP and growth is slowing.
The explosive growth seen in the BRIC countries over the first half of the last decade has leveled off to a more modest rate. Brazil will find it difficult to beat 2% this year and many are still talking of a hard landing in China. India's central bank has been unable to pick the economy out of its stall without threatening double-digit inflation.
I am still a huge fan of emerging market investing and believe that it is one of the few themes to provide growth over the next decade. Fiscal deficits are a ticking time bomb in the developed world and economic growth is flat at best. Contrast this with consumers in the emerging world whom are projected to increase annual spending from $7 trillion to $20 trillion in the ten years to 2020. The IMF expects the emerging world to expand by 5.6% this year and almost 6% in 2013 against growth of 2% or less in the United States, Europe and Japan.
Beyond the overweight in the BRIC countries, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index carries 57% of its holdings in sectors more closely related to global growth than emerging market domestic strength. Companies in sectors like financials, energy, materials and industrials make up the majority of the index while domestic plays like consumer goods, telecom, utilities and healthcare make up less than a third of assets.
Population growth, a key input to economic growth, is forecast to slow to a cumulative growth rate of 13% over the next 18 years in the BRIC nations while growth in the 15 Beyond BRIC countries could exceed 19% over the same period.
The Beyond BRICs fund includes all ten sectors but will exclude relatively-developed countries found in other EM funds like Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Korea and Taiwan. The fund will track the Indxx Beyond BRICs Index, a free-float, market-cap weighted index. The index has a trailing price-earnings of 17.5 times and a 3.25% dividend yield. Companies in the index are fairly large with a median market cap of $15.9 billion.
The Emerging Markets Domestic Demand fund includes companies from BRIC nations, approximately 45.2% of assets, but focuses exclusively on five sectors believed to benefit from domestic growth. The fund will track the Indxx Emerging Markets Domestic Demand Index, a free-float, market-cap weighted index. The index has a trailing price-earnings of 19.2 times and a 2.62% dividend yield. Companies in the index are marginally smaller than in the Beyond BRICs fund but still relatively large with a median market cap of $11.6 billion.
Though shares are denominated in dollars, each of the new funds carry currency risk with the investment. Both funds will charge a 0.85% net expense ratio.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. No outside compensation was received for this analysis and no business relationship exists between the author or any company mentioned.