There are currently 48 Emerging Market ETFs to choose from. Some of them are leveraged or inverse, some are equal weighted, some are dividend weighted, some are designed to beat the market, while some others are just trying to fairly represent the market.
Researching the ETF marketplace can be cumbersome, in my view, and can cause two major headaches for investors: the first is knowing what exactly each of these ETFs are trying to accomplish and how does this fit into your investment goals; the second is determining which is the best in class amongst all of these ETFs competing for your money.
In order to deal with the first headache for you, I have gone through each of the ETFs specializing in Emerging Markets and categorized them in a way that will quickly allow you get an idea of how each ETF is designed. Please see my report on ETF Selection for further details on how this categorization technique can help you weed through all sorts of ETF markets that you are looking to gain exposure.
In short, benchmark ETFs should be used in economic studies, asset allocation models, etc.; are designed to fairly represent a market and weighted by market cap. These will be the tickers in the lower left box in the matrix below. All of the other boxes are trying to implement some kind of different strategy by “becoming” a market in their own right, attempting to “beat” a benchmark, or they are weighted in any other way except by market cap.
So the first thing that one must decide is “What am I trying to accomplish and how should my ETF be structured to help me gain the exposure that is appropriate for me?”