Alibaba is still weeks away from launching its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “BABA,” but there is more evidence to suggest the stock will not find its way into a lot of marquee exchange traded funds.
In fact, Alibaba will not be eligible for inclusion in any ETF that tracks an MSCI index, including major emerging markets ETFs such as the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM) and the iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: IEMG).
“MSCI has analyzed the country classification of Alibaba Group Holding. Based on current information, the company will be incorporated in Cayman Islands, it will file 20-F only and it will list in the US only, through American Depositary Shares (ADS). Consequently, based on the above and as per the Appendix III of the MSCI GIMI Methodology Book, the company is not eligible for inclusion in the MSCI Global Investable Market Indexes (GIMI),” according to the index provider.
Alibaba’s exclusion from ETFs benchmarked to MSCI indices is an important point because of MSCI’s perch in the indexing business. Investors poured $84 billion into ETFs in the first six months of 2014 with $29 billion, or 34%, going to funds tracking MSCI indexes. [Inflows to MSCI-Backed ETFs Impress]
And it is not just EEM and IEMG that Alibaba will be excluded from. The stock will not be able to join the iShares MSCI China ETF (NYSEArca: MCHI), one of the largest China ETFs, nor will it be eligible for inclusion in an array of new emerging markets ETFs tracking MSCI benchmarks. Those ETFs include the Market Vectors MSCI Emerging Markets Quality ETF (NYSEArca: QEM) and the SPDR MSCI Emerging Markets Quality Mix ETF (NYSEArca: QEMM), both of which debuted earlier this year.
QEM and QEMM both feature Tencent Holdings, China’s largest Internet company, among their largest holdings. MCHI allocates 10.5% to Tencent, making it the ETF’s largest holding. Technology is that ETF’s third-largest sector weight at 13.3%.
“Alibaba Group Holding will be added to the list of the MSCI GIMI ineligible securities stated in the Appendix III of the MSCI GIMI Methodology Book, with China as the “MSCI Country of Coverage” and USA as the ‘Country of Primary Listing’,” added MSCI.