iShares Launches ‘Quality Factor’ ETF

BlackRock deepened its relationship the Arizona State Retirement System on Thursday by launching iShares MSCI USA Quality Factor ETF (NYSEArca: QUAL).

The new ETF tracks an index designed by MSCI comprised of large and mid-cap stocks that are selected based on three fundamental factors: return on equity, earnings variability and debt-to-equity.

QUAL has an expense ratio of 0.15% and 124 holdings. [A Look at Factor-Based ETFs]

The fund joins the iShares lineup of factor ETFs that includes iShares MSCI USA Size Factor ETF (NYSEArca: SIZE), iShares MSCI USA Value Factor ETF (NYSEArca: VLUE) and iShares MSCI USA Momentum Factor ETF (NYSEArca: MTUM).

“Each iShares Factor ETF provides investors with index-based access to a specific factor,” BlackRock said in a press release. “Every asset has a unique set of factor exposures — such as quality, value, size and momentum — that influence the asset’s return.”

The Arizona State Retirement System seeded the four iShares factor ETFs. [iShares Launches Active, Factor ETFs]

“Investors may desire exposure to specific individual factors so they can overweight or hedge a single factor that has historically explained a significant part of companies’ return and risk over the long-term,” BlackRock said.

“iShares launched these products based on client demand for index-based exposure to factors that can help them adjust the factor-risk exposure within their equity portfolio,” said Patrick Dunne, head of iShares Global Markets and Investments.

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