Northern Trust has taken a different tack when it comes to exchange traded funds (ETFs) that focus on single countries.

A new family of ETFs lets investors buy into 14 nation-based portfolios. This area of the market is dominated by Barclays iShares line, but Northern Trusts’ strategy involves each portfolio tracking the market index of the target country, reports Joseph Lisanti for Daily News.

Although some experts feel this is not really different than major indexes tracking the country’s market, the advantage is that each of the markets have a flagship local index. The ETFs are available for smaller markets, too. So far, Northern Trust can claim to be the only provider to offer Portuguese equities, and plans are in the pipe for Irish stocks as well.

Does it make a difference? Will tracking a country’s market index prove better than other strategies? It will be interesting to watch how some of the funds that focus on the same countries do over time.

The funds aren’t being marketed to specific ethnic populations, but the idea of more ETFs based on national indexes could appeal to some of those groups in the United States. Sure, everyone loves an Irishman – will there be love for the ETF?

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.

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