Do emerging markets seem too conservative for your tastes? Well, it may be time to consider the high risk and potentially high profits associated with frontier market exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Frontier markets are not stable enough to be named “emerging,” but these markets do have more potential to deliver higher returns to compensate for the greater risk, remarks Will McClatchy ETFZone. Frontier markets are defined as suffering from extreme volatility, poor trading, corruption, dismal accounting and a tendency to expropriate foreign capital.

What’s so appealing about frontier investments? First, the fastest-growing countries are currently the ones that are “economically delayed.” Second, risk in frontier markets is greatly reduced when added in small amounts to a portfolio.

Some frontier market regions to consider include:

  • Africa is a prime example of a frontier market. During the financial debacle, Africa did not suffer as much from the credit crunch since it was lightly leveraged. The continent also has a great amount of natural resources.
  • States of the Persian Gulf and Middle East hare developing into emerging status. The oil-rich states are raking in the benefits of increasing wealth, transparency and infrastructure development.
  • Eastern Europe, former Soviet satellite states and Asian countries do have some ready supply of natural resources, but some regions are corrupt and home to organized crime.
  • Smaller Latin American countries like Bolivia, Ecuador and Peru are sometimes categorized as “frontier.” However, most Latin American ETFs are more weighted toward advanced economies, and single-country ETFs don’t cover all the nations.

A few of the frontier market ETFs out there include:

  • Claymore/BNY Mellon Frontier Markets ETF (NYSEArca: FRN): up 42.7% year-to-date; expense ratio is 0.65%; country samplings include: Egypt, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Chile and Poland

ETF FRN

  • Market Vectors Gulf States ETF (NYSEArca: MES): up 18.2% year-to-date; expense ratio is 0.98%

ETF MES

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