Vanguard Readies 2 International Bond ETFs

by: Tom Lydon

Vanguard Group has filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission to launch two international bond funds early next year with matching exchange traded fund share classes.

According to a press release, Vanguard plans to launch the Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund and the Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond Index Fund. No tickers have been provided.

The total international bond fund’s index will include more than 7,000 global government, agency and corporate securities from 57 countries in Asia, Europe, Canada and South America. The fund will employ currency hedging strategies that try to mitigate potential distortions in returns caused by uncertainty in the Forex market.

“The new Vanguard Total International Bond Index Fund will provide a low-cost way to obtain diversified exposure to one of the world’s largest asset classes,” Vanguard CEO Bill McNabb, said. “These ‘building block’ funds have an enduring appeal to individual investors, retirement plan participants, and financial advisors seeking to assemble balanced, well-diversified portfolios.”

The emerging market bond fund’s index will track around 200 government bonds in 39 countries. This fund will only hold U.S. dollar denominated international bonds, which will remove the risk found in currency moves.

The ETF share classes of Total International Bond Index Fund and the Emerging Markets Government Bond Index Fund will have expense ratios of 0.30% and 0.35%, respectively.

The two funds will likely start trading in the first quarter of 2012, according to registration filings.

“They are likely to be solid entrants who will offer simple, transparent international-bond exposure and will bring more much-needed price competition to the world-bond and emerging-markets bond categories,” Dan Culloton, associate director of fund analysis for Morningstar, said. [Investors Get More ETF Options for Emerging Market Bonds]

Max Chen contributed to this article.