International assets are playing a greater role in a well diversified investment portfolio. With exchange traded funds, investors have found an efficient and easy-to-use too tool to access overseas markets.

For instance, Windhaven Intvestment Management, a part of Charles Schwab Corp., is currently overweight international markets, allocating almost twice as much year-over-year, reports Murray Coleman for the Wall Street Journal. The Windhaven diversified growth ETF-managed portfolio has about a 25% weighting to international stocks and bonds, compared to 12% to 13% last year.

“At this time last year, we were at an all-time high in terms of the ratio of assets allocated to domestic versus international stocks in our diversified growth strategy. Now, we’re taking a much more balanced approach,” Stephen Cucchiaro, Windhaven’s chief investment officer, said in the article.

Windhaven develops and creates prepackaged ETF portfolios for advisors and investors. The fund manager has $13.5 billion in assets under management and also runs three of the five biggest ETF-managed portfolios.

The asset manager largest overweight position is in international real-estate ETFs.

While the asset manager has not disclosed any specific products. Investors can still play the overall themes with options including:

  • SPDR Dow Jones International Real Estate ETF (NYSEArca: RWX)
  • Vanguard Global ex-U.S. Real Estate ETF (NYSEArca: VNQI)

“As the world’s central banks have been driving interest rates lower, the costs of doing business for real-estate developers outside the U.S. has reached record lows,” Cucchiaro added. “We also believe they still have more room to rise in order to catch up with domestic markets.”

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