When it comes to the financial services sector, many investors are content to stick with U.S. stocks. Often times, if those investors do have exposure to emerging markets financial services firms, it is through a diversified exchange traded fund, such as the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM).
However, investors may want to give a nod to Qatari banks and there are a few ETFs with which that objective can be accomplished.
“Qatari banks’ profitability will likely remain strong over the next 12 months, in Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services opinion, after outstripping levels reported by peers in the Gulf Cooperation Council countries (GCC; Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates [UAE]) over the past five years. High interest margins, although contracting; briskly increasing business volumes mainly on the back of the government’s investments; and banks’ generally low cost bases are the main factors fueling this performance,” said Standard & Poor’s.
Qatari banks line the holdings of well-known ETFs, including the iShares MSCI Frontier 100 ETF (NYSEArca: FM). FM, however, will soon begin trimming its exposure to Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as those countries are set to enter the MSIC Emerging Markets Index at the end of this month. [Frontier Changes Could Make for a Better ETF]
The new iShares MSCI Qatar Capped ETF (NYSEArca: QAT), which debuted earlier this month, is one avenue for investors to get substantial exposure to Qatari banks. QAT allocates 55.5% of its weight to banks in Qatar and features four banks among its top-10 holdings. [Qatar, UAE ETFs Debut]
S&P says Qatar National Bank, Qatar Islamic Bank, Doha Bank, and The Commercial Bank of Qatar “have financially outperformed their rated peers in other Gulf countries over the past five years, with the noticeable exception of Saudi banks in 2013,” said S&P.
That quartet combines for nearly a quarter of QAT’s weight. QAT is up 1.7% since its May 1 debut.